David Subacchi


They interviewed this guy on the radio
He said he’d employed some already
Was going to take more
They said, you what?
He said, they’re Syrians
They’re not scum
They’re intelligent
They’ve got skills I need
After a shocked pause
The programme moved on
To the weather forecast
Leaving me thinking

What is it with us?
Does every refugee
Have to be penniless
Desperate and vicious
Without anything to offer
Just dangerous

Or does thinking
Of people in this way
Help us feel better
When we slam the door
Does it toughen us up?
So that we can deal
With those pictures
You know the ones
With bodies on beaches
Or bloated in water
Asphyxiated in lorries
Crushed by train wheels

I heard when water bottles
Were thrown towards them
They were thrown back
They’re thirsty alright
But they want dignity
More than our pity
They want to be valued
Appreciated, respected
For making a contribution
Not just tolerated
Saved from destitution
Terror and execution


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