• REFUGEES

A writer’s moving eulogy for the refugee babies lost at sea

Maria Kostaki was moved by the tragedy as a writer, mother and, above all, a human being

By Maria Kostaki

For all the refugee children that we’ve recently lost in the sea, at least it was the sea, it can be magical, maternal, you died in the same element where you were formed, but this time it wasn’t warm and nurturing, it was freezing and evil, it threw you out into dirty wet sand, cold wind gusts blew you dry. But you couldn’t hear, you couldn’t see, you no longer felt.

Maybe were you came from, those lands torn by war and scarred by death, a home where you were constantly petrified, was better than what we forced you to do to escape that life; walk, swim, cry, drown.

I imagine a heaven, just for you, a special heaven, and I don’t believe in God, even more so now, so I will imagine it for you myself, because I can’t count on him/her. It’s mostly for myself, the image will help me deal with what I see, and we all turn to “god” at times of tragedy and helplessness. I’ve swam in the waters you died in, sunbathed on the beaches you were found.

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There is no water in this heaven, no sea, no lakes, rivers or oceans. Only magic taps that pour for you to drink from, showers for you to bathe under. I know you shudder at the sight of a vast body of water, you never want to sail or swim again. It’s full of valleys dotted with flowers, trees, birds, the sun always shines, but it’s never hot. All the toys you’ve never seen are there, stuffed animals that are alive, warm, cuddly, friendly, soft. Nobody cries there, ever, except for out of joy.

Your parents hold your hands everywhere you go, your friends are all there. A video wall plays constant cartoons, music appears whenever you want to hear it.

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There is no bedtime, no meal time, no rules, though there is plenty of food, enough bunk beds for all, tree houses, and pillows to jump on. Candy grows on trees, you eat as much as you want, and you never have to brush your teeth, because you’re in your heaven. This lasts forever, you never grow up, you never go to school, you never have to study, up never have to learn, so that you never have to know. You are all free. Your memory of life on earth, surrounded by this thing we dare to call humanity, has been erased, you never have to feel horror, sadness, or fear again. Rest, and live in peace tiny souls. Nobody can ever hurt you again.

As for the rest of us, here, who are not allowed into my heaven, shame on us. Shame.

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Who is Maria Kostaki? 

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Maria Kostaki is a Russian-born writer/copywriter who has lived in the United States and is now based in Athens. Her book ‘Pieces’ was published on May 2015. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter