Turkey hosts around 3.6 million refugees, most of them residing in the city of Istanbul. Yet the word refugee has become a marginalized term today, with various stereotypical connotations which have been defined by different mediums. Instead of redefining the word and what it really means, in this Refugee Week, we at Istanbul&I decided to ask our own volunteers what they thought of the term and how they defined it themselves.
“For me personally, the word is associated with a group of people that I feel is essential to fight for. For me, refugee symbolises a group of people who are doubly challenged. First by what initially forces them to become refugees, and second by the inherent second-range-citizen status that sticks to this status of being a refugee. And it so easily becomes a label that hides the human beings it defines.”
“A refugee is, first and foremost, a human, and that’s how we’d like to be seen. Not as weapons in political games, not as numbers and economic burdens, and not as anomalies to be assimilated. We have our own distinct stories and identities, just like you do. You just need to make sure you’re listening.”
“A refugee is an opportunity for an act of kindness. A way for humanity to redeem itself and give those oppressed a fresh start.”
Hiba Mansoor – 04/7/21