Play Nice, a poem

Syrian refugee children attend a lesson in a UNICEF temporary classroom in northern Lebanon, July 2014

Millions of children are on the move. Some are driven from their homes by conflict, poverty or disaster; others are migrating in the hope of finding a better, safer life. Far too many encounter danger, detention, deprivation and discrimination on their journeys.” UNICEF MORE



...no fair
shout it like an indignant child
no fair, the dispossessed and hungry,
no fair, the murdered and the maimed,
no fair, the great disruption and those

forced to abandoned hopes, homes
the children flee only to camp out
without country, on swollen borders,
escaping by rough land or bloated boat,
starving, bewildered and lost

it’s not fair, not fair, it’s just not fair
this human condition, call it insanity,
the adults who don’t play nice as our
mothers, each one of them, bid us do

“Almost 1 in 10 children live in areas affected by armed conflicts.” UNICEF

© 2019, poem, Jamie Dedes; photo credit Russel Watkins, DFID – UK Department for International Development under CC BY 2.0 generic license




According to UNICEF’s Global Compact for Migration:

  • “Between 2005 and 2015, the number of child refugees worldwide more than doubled from four million to nine million
  • “Refugee children are five times as likely to be out of school than other children
  • Almost 1 in 10 children live in areas affected by armed conflicts. More than 400 million live in extreme poverty”

“Not long when I was a child,crossed barbed wires,across borders
in camp for two nights, wonder how Mother felt and held us? Tight
then on we came to the green hills, and I knew not,was it refuge ?
or a new land a home of peace-how attained?what was left with enemy-

“where are the roots that make a family,out of the masses who survived
you cannot guess,for I have seen only images and heard broken voices
who lost half the thought in trying not to remember,bodies cut slain in fields
why we laughed sang,then we cried silently in pain, in the remains”

– Anjum Wasim Dar, excerpt from a poem written out of her life experience

If you are reading this post from an email subscription, it’s likely you will have to link through to the site to view this very short video on The Global Compact for Migration / UNICEF.