Artin Iran Nezhad
Photo from The Guardian | Bruno Libbrecht/Allemaal Mensen/via Reuters
a prose poem
Born in poverty
but to much love,
your country did not want you.
‘Kurds not welcome’ was the sign
in the window of your life.
Your family took the long, nomadic way
travelled by millions in the Indo-European migration,
that highway of common humanity.
All you sought was a home where life could blossom
and safety enfold.
So you came to Calais –
gateway to promise, rarely fulfilled.
Fifteen short months of life prepared you so little
for what was destined to be the end of life’s journey.
Rasul and Shiva, lovers, dreamers,
protectors of your life, hoped against hope
led on by dark promises, empty blackened hearts,
quick fixes taking all they had.
A terrible night of boiling sea led the flimsy coracle
into violent water. Ahead,
a country that would not welcome you.
Would not want to know you
or see your humanity crying out to theirs.
It never had the chance to reject you, though it would have
– the country where new tanks that do not work come
In that sea you clung to life,
remembering perhaps your joy in the camp when,
befriended by one who cared, you played and splashed
in the water fountain. Water which lightened your life.
Now no longer fun –
the instrument of death.
No one cared. None mourned. Those who loved you
poured out their dreams, their hopes, and visions
into the icy destructive sea.
You were not found as they were.
Till now –
washed up in another country that did not know you.
Yet one where they cared enough to return you to what was left
of your people.
They saw in that waterlogged body you, Artin,
for what you have always been. A child.
A child of God.
You are ‘home now’.
All that your parents wished and longed for you
is yours and much, much more.
A bigger, more generous, more loving family
hold you now.
Your short, long journey is over.
In God, in Allah, in Jesus Christ you are watched over
as you play and laugh.
And we, who did not know you?
Humanity, no longer living in common love?
We are diminished.
9 June 2021
Artin Iran Nezhad, a 15 month old Kurdish Iranian refugee drowned with his parents Rasul and Shiva and Anita and Amin, his sister and brother when the smuggler’s boat they were crossing the English Channel in capsized on 27 October 2020. His body washed up in Norway on 1 January 2021, but it took the Norwegian authorities 5 months to identify him.
This is for him and for all refugees wandering the world simply seeking safety and a chance in life.
Photo | The Guardian
Lord, we place before you Artin’s story:
a story of dashed hopes and lives cut short.
We pray for him and for his family
and for those who mourn them.
And we hold up to you those seeking refuge throughout the world.
People fleeing danger, oppression and a denial of their humanity.
People looking for safety and freedom for their families.
People treated as less than human, trafficked, swindled.
Help us to recognise our shared humanity,
our shared desires for refuge, home and opportunities.
And help those in authority with power to make a change
to have the vision and generosity of spirit
to stop this needless waste of life.
In Jesus’ name we pray.