Home is Where the Heart… Lives?

As a way to integrate more national and global news into my life, I’ve found my local NPR (National Public Radio) station and tuned in during my commute for the last week. I cannot believe what I’ve been missing.

NPR covers such a wide range of topics: politics, the arts, science, entertainment, and on, and on. I enjoy it because it, from what I can tell so far, appears to be fairly unbiased. I’m tired of relying on news reports that are filled with prejudice and the interests of those with hidden agendas.

During one commute from school, I was listening to a late afternoon report on “The Great Migration”/refugee crisis in Syria. I can’t easily find the report on NPR’s website, but the story told that some refugees were beginning to return home to Syria, even under current circumstances. Those interviewed by a reporter told said that they know they will encounter the ISIS terror groups, and they also know they are potentially facing their deaths.

While this story upset me, one word said by the interviewer upset me even more: home. The refugees were returning home.

I didn’t consider Syria to be a home to the refugees anymore, and not because they no longer live there, but because to me, a home isn’t something from which you flee. Home has a symbolic meaning far beyond brick-and-mortar. A home is where all inhabitants are respected and others are attentive to issues of inequality and oppression. Home is sort of relative (no pun intended).

I don’t want to say that the refugees shouldn’t consider Syria their home. I can’t erase the hundreds of years that their ancestors have live in the towns, the traditions, the memories. If home is truly where the heart is, I cannot say that Syria is not their home.

If a home is relative, as the word’s meaning changes from person to person, what is your home? Is it the people we surround ourselves with, the smell and feel of our house, or is home a state of mind?

I’ve taken quite a few moments lately to live in the present and recognize my blessings and and have become ashamed of my privileges, while these humans dangerously wander in search of their homes. It could easily be me.

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