2017 is not the time to blink
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Refugees Welcome: Poems in a Time of Crisis

Edited by Oliver Jones

A 20/20 Special Edition

Available now

Last year, three strands of tension ever-present in our cultural consciousness finally coalesced into a single emotive crisis, one which raised serious questions about how we perceive ourselves in relation to human suffering and what we can permit as a society.

We have attempted to gather a mix of poetic reactions from a variety of sources, ranging from individual compassion towards sufferers to manifesto-like fury against injustice. The poems successively explore feelings of sadness, guilt, anger and the climactic plea for humanity which occurs upon contemplating the scale, depth and apparent intractability of the crisis.

A number of these poems centre on the image of Aylan Kurdi, which has become a focal point and central image to what is already a centre-point of international tension. We hope these poems will similarly act as a transmutation point upon which the confusion of ideological battles, economic conditions and clashes of culture can give way to the common thread of compassion.