Refugee Voices: Zeeshan Munir

This blog was written by Zeeshan Munir, a close friend who was forced to flee home in search of a better life. Zeeshan met our partners Dunkirk Women’s Centre whilst in Northern France.

When I was young my teacher taught me a beautiful thing.

Everyone has the right to see dreams. But only the lucky ones get them fulfilled. Destiny makes the decision of life. What I have experienced, was brought to me by luck. Where my luck has taken me, I do not want to go again. When death and life meets then the word luck stands in front of you and if you’re lucky you will survive or if you’re not then you’re not just unlucky, but also dead.
Luck in our journey is a game some don’t have the hope of living, but they had luck, to make sure they live. Some had strong desire for living but their luck is not loyal to them. Destiny is the other name for the time between the past and the future and luck declares its decision between these two moments.
I never thought that I will reach my destination and there was nothing else left with me other than my faith. That was the only thing in my empty heart, but it was enough to encourage me to take a step forward. One day my brother asked me what condition life had brought us into, I saw a tear in his eyes. My lips were quiet, but my heart spoke that if Allah can bring you to it, he will bring you through it. Allah tests those he loves, so don’t despair if you’re going through tough times. Allah wants to test your sincerity.
Not just faith in Allah, we also really trusted in our fellows, who are also with us in this condition. We really look out for each other’s back for no benefits or demands. In life people help you if they get something in return or if you are related to them. But in my journey, I saw the most extraordinary and beautiful relationships, which were the relationships of pain, grief, and sorrow.
These are the most real and authentic relationships in the whole universe. We all had our sorrows and pain but we all shared our pains and sorrows with each other.
I remember the night when I had a seven-year-old boy walking very tiredly in front of me and as I saw his distress I picked him up and he smiled but he was tantalising with pain.
I asked him “Are you alright?” and “Where are your parents?”. He did not answer me. Later he told me his mother died a couple of minutes ago and he had no one of his own.
As he said this my heart stopped beating and my tears came out and I said, “So what happens? Those who don’t have mothers, don’t they live?’ But his young mind did not understand that, and we kept walking. The boy remained quiet and I thought maybe he is tired, so he is sleeping but when in the morning he did not wake up, my hands were shaking, and the tears were explaining what had happened to this heart.
Those who say that relationships are only based on blood, my heart proved them wrong. I felt I lost myself in his empty eyes and the hope of life there in front of me.
I looked up on the sky and said O dear God what strange kind of feelings you had given us. You make us laugh, you make us cry. If you really want to make us cry, then why did you make us laugh?
Life consists of two days, one for you and one against you. So, when it’s for you don’t be proud or reckless, and when it’s against you be patient, for both days are tests for you because the world cannot defeat you until you accept the defeat.
Life will hurt you repeatedly: as many times, as you can suffer. However, the thing that suffers is not your body, it’s your soul. So, don’t prepare your body for challenges, prepare your soul because your body can only give you strength, but your soul gives you courage to face all worries and problems. This belief is a constant prompt to move. Every day I recall this line in my mind because it helps me live life more easily.
Want to gain an insight into experiences of living or working in refugee camps? And help to support the Refugee Women’s Centre at the same time?
Friends of the Women’s Centre have come together to create a book compiling personal experiences of life and work in European refugee camps over the last few years. Many of the submissions have been inspired by time spent in Dunkirk and Calais.
These are journeys of anger, hope, trauma, bitterness, joy, that continue to be lived, suffered and learnt from. Journeys that can be difficult to share or to express in a way that does them justice. The stories in this book have been written by people who have spent time in refugee camps and are testimony to some of the realities of daily life here.
To purchase your copy of the ‘Journeys’ zine please donate and fill out the form here.
Or email with any questions.