The common understanding of the term refugee can be referred to an individual who has been forced out of their country in order to survive a calamity. They end up residing in another country, but this is nothing that they can call home. For most refugees, they end up living in camps that entail a low quality of life. And personally, this should not be a home for someone who has lost everything to survive tragedies.
According to “We Refugees,” by Giorgio Agamben, I was very much intrigued by the manner in which he addressed the concept of a refugee. He mentioned how a refugee should be considered for what he or she is. Not labelling them for what they have experienced because that would be discriminating them. It is quite easy for us to fall into the trap of sympathy for refugees, and knowing that we will soon visit camps, I would definitely not want to make them feel any less of a human because of the situation they are in. I believe we should strive to rather emphasize with them, as this will give us an opportunity in walk in their shoes instead of just feeling sorry for them. Agamben also addressed that a refugee has lost all his rights, but yearns to be assimilated to a new identity at any cost. And this made me question whether I truly appreciate the life I have, as someone people would die to have the life I am living. And it is up to me to sue the resources and knowledge I have to aid the people who are lost in identity and are eagerly searching for one.
The term refugee easily resonated with me, firstly because of there is a large community of refugee back in my home country, Kenya. Many of them come from South Sudan and Somalia to escape the terror present in their home countries. We host one of the biggest refugee camps in Eastern Africa, and over time, many of them do gain citizenship, which I believe is a great initiative by my government. But aside from the typical meaning of refugee, in my perspective, the loss of identity can heavily be linked to the term refugee. As humans, we tend to seek asylum and comfort in a place where our soul finds peace. As individuals who are unable find such an environment, they end up in a state of loneliness, which is certainly detrimental for one’s health. The lack of expressing one’s feelings can also come to play in this situation. Feeling inhibited, stuck, cornered, and struggling to set themselves free is definitely a sign of refuge. Linking this aspect to dance, there are moments where I personally find it hard to move my body despite me being a dancer form a very young age. There are moments in which my body refuses to connect to my soul, refuses to connect to the music, I tend to feel trapped and enclosed. There are also moments when I push myself to evade this feeling of refuge, but it does feel forced and I do not enjoy it.
So as I explained in class, the definitions of the term you selected should not be common sense to you, but should come from the text with evidence you pull to show the specific way the author uses the term. In fact Agamben is using the figure of the refugee to make an argument about the way in which nations are a political formation that exacerbates the crisis, and until the concept of citizen, with all the rights that accrue to that title, are rethought, the crisis will be unending. Instead, he proposes to build a new social order where the refugee can be recognized as human, for his or her humanity, and not be disenfranchised from the political sphere on that justification alone.
Waseem, you have to read more carefully and search for specific evidence to back up your argument. Otherwise it is only opinion, which authorizes you to talk about how you feel about refugees. That is important – but it has to be in dialogue with the specific information given to you by the authors I have assigned.