Definition: Refugee

I recently contributed definitions for Cappelens Forslag Conversational Lexicon, which is an eclectic and beautiful hardbound leather conversational Norwegian dictionary out at the end of November.
Refugee: A man, woman or child in search of a home where there is no screaming at night. Often they travel to places far away, to places that are part of the reason why they have no home. Refugees are in a constant state of dreaming.  They look at the strange bowls of food in their hands and dream of food from home. They dream of the sun and the market and the smell of spice in the air. They dream of their mothers who hummed old folk songs as they baked cakes of honey. They dream of the marbles that jostled in their pockets as they walked through the corridors in school and the giant mango trees they climbed with their cousins in the backyard. They dream of their oceans and their beaches and the way small silver fish thrashed at the end of their fishing lines. They dream of their summers and their winters and the holidays where their families gathered together and ate grapes and lamb and took photographs in the kitchen. They dream of their neighbours, of the big watermelons they cut open to share with each other. They dream of sunrise over the desert and sunset over the sea. They are told they must Integrate; a word they are unsure about, a seemingly practical word that bristles with underlying threat. They are told that Integrate means they must adapt to ensure they fit in with everyone else. They are told there will be Consequences if they do not. The word Consequence too, comes out politely but in it lurks bigger and worse things. Like a tank full of sharks. So the refugees try to wipe out memories of summer holidays, images of climbing mango trees and late afternoons at the water’s edge catching small silver fish. They try to Integrate, learn new histories, change their dressing, eat new foods and put new words in their mouth. But they cannot control their dreams at night; when they sleep they are back in their cities, sitting on their roofs, smoking pipes, drinking tea and looking out at the stars above them. And there are no bombs and no Consequences. In the morning they wake up slowly, dress in their new clothes and eat their new breakfasts and go out and try to Integrate. They forget about dreams and focus only on Consequences. Eventually their memories begin to fade and they only remember when the wind blows a certain way at a certain time in the year.

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