Tuesday, May 26, 2015

A Planet of Boat People--A New Poem by Stan Brunn

Note: with the global international coverage of “boat people” hoping for new and safe homes in the U.S., southern Europe and also southeast Asia, this poem is about these people, their homelands and asiprations.

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A Planet of Boat People

Daily photos show packed boatloads fleeing Libya and Tunisia

And also Haiti, Cuba, Thailand and Malaysia

Searching for new homes, livelihoods and security

Where they can live with some hope and tranquility.

Fleeing persecution and oppressive regimes

Seeking havens of safety are their highest dreams.

Boat people have been around for centuries

Not just associated with recent histories.

What if the millions of “boat people” had stayed home?

Think how differently civilizations would have grown.

People left coastlines and interior mainlands

To settle nearby and distant coasts and islands.

Puzzling why some Europeans and Americans oppose boat people today

Even though their ancestors came by boat in a bygone day.

They don’t want to grant them homes or citizenship

But instead return them to hardships and dictatorship.

The Western hemisphere has strong “boat people” traditions

Of those fleeing persecution and harsh living conditions.

Many Africans were forced to leave behind families and nations

To work everywhere on distant colonial plantations.

Not all who crossed seas and oceans waters deep and wide

Reached new homes safely with dignity and pride.

Many Europeans were met by peaceful Native Americans

Who were critical in making new homes and developing multicultural nations.

Boat people’s history also significant in what is today Australia

But also North, Central and coastal South America.

And those settling South, East and Southeast Asia coastal places

Have strong cultural and genetic origins in east African spaces.

We need to universally support those seeking freedom and liberty

And counter those exhorting exclusion, racism and bigotry.

Contemporary maps of international diasporas and migrations

Show “boat” and “plane people” of many belief systems and nations.

And those countries and cities that welcome these new diversities

Are experiencing healthy new human geographies.
24 May 2015
Stan Brunn

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