Rice and Baguettes: Dispatches from a Tunisian Refugee Camp

There is a line that stretches for miles in the desert. A line thousands of people long. A line for food, a line for work, a line for humanity, a line for home. But where and what is home? Being born in a single place no longer satisfies a lifetime. People leave as soon as they are tall enough and strong enough to work. That’s why tens of thousands of Bangladeshis are sitting here, with me, in the middle of the Tunisian desert, looking for rice because they can’t stand the baguettes the locals keep bringing them to eat.

And that’s why it’s silly to send them back to the place of their birth, Bangladesh, because that place means nothing to them now — there is no home for them there. Within a few months they will leave again for India, or wherever they can find a job. They were born there, but Bangladesh has provided nothing for them since they became 13-year-old adults, so they left, and they moved to Libya to work for the Chinese, the Koreans, the Europeans.

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