I wish for a box full of love, respect, and acceptance.

But what I’m handed is a box of food.

I wish to see my name on the students’ list, but what I still get is labor on the fields.

I wish I could sleep in a warm room,

But I still sleep at that camp.

I wish I could return home or pass on the border to a place I could call home.

But I’m here, still sitting on street edges from week to week.

I wish that people would stop their glare and know the truth about me.

The truth is:

I’m not a refugee. I’m neither abandoned nor displaced.

Yes, I may be that little boy you see playing with mud and stones in a camp.

Yes, I may be that depressed mother, oppressed by the guilt of not being able to fend for her children.

Yes, I may be that man, crippled by a reckless shot.

And yes, I may be that girl with messy hair, dressed in rags and covered in dust.

I AM all these and MORE.


I am looked upon, with disgust and distrust.

I am forced to become a stranger in a land, living on empty promises of refuge.

Like I never had a home once.

Like I never ate, comforted by the love of my family.

Like I never shared my bread with strangers, sheltering the lonely on our street.

Now, to the world, we are lost. We are humiliated and framed as ‘the wretched wanderers.’

But my soul will not be tainted or broken

Because I am the one who faced death and still lived.

And I wish that you would understand it.

Give me peace for Christmas and hope for all those who had lost it.

By: 17-year-old Angela Gadalrab, lived and grew up in Damascus, Syria.

Dedicated to a remnant survival of the ongoing Syria war