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Trauma of Exile and National Identity- A Struggle to Preserve Culture in Adverse Conditions


For a long time we have witnessed the spectacle of large numbers of desperate men, women and children being pushed out of their country or having to flee their homelands by forces beyond their control. Millions of people caught up in the cross currents of war, conflict, mass violence and famine have been forced into exile. Thousands of people, destitute mothers, emancipated children, elderly people, living in subhuman conditions in camps set up in remote areas of the world have been splashed out on television screens from time to time. Population growth, poverty and underdevelopment, famines, political instability, proliferation of arms along with increased militarism, unending internecine ethnic, tribal and religious conflicts, gross violations of human rights, lack of government protections and political persecution in their homelands have resulted in massive outflows of refugees across national borders.[1]

There is little evidence to suggest that the problems of refugees and displaced people will go away in the near future. The literature on refugees echo the voices for the Tibetans in India and Nepal, Burmese refugees in Bangladesh, Tamils in India and the diaspora, Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, Lebanon, and Jordan, Vietnamese in Hong Kong, Bhutanese refugees in Nepal, Somalis, Sudanese, Afghans, Kurds in the northern part of Iraq, Laotians in Thailand, Haitians in the US are a few examples of the magnitude of the refugee problem. Prolonged conflicts, resurgence of long-pent up ethnic hatreds, bombardment, scorched-earth wars, oppressive rulers, forced starvation are some of the issues which tell us that we are not done with mass dislocations around the world.

 Refugees will continue to pour out across national borders. The problem is of such grave magnitude that durable solutions such as voluntary repatriation, resettlement in third countries of asylum or local integration into the host countries may not be available for large numbers of refugees. As a result majority of people either languish in make-shift camps or in tented cities or in subhuman conditions in host countries. Those who do manage to repatriate a return back do so in unstable conditions where their physical safety is in jeopardy and non-existent economic prospects. Rooted in their rootlessness, living a life of non-belonging, the issue has moved from a highly visible status in the eyes of the world to invisibility sliding away from the international focus into obscurity relegated to some remote corner in host countries, not really on any tourist itinerary.[2]

These populations have left behind not just their homes, their temples, churches, mosques, their pots and pans, their fields, work places, familiar lanes and locales, and people who could ot endure the harsh conditions of flight. They have also left behind their symbols of tradition and keepers of their memory. The initial needs of the refugee such as food, clothing and shelter i.e. relief, gradually gives way to the demands of living, i.e. development which is self-sufficient and empowering. Being rendered refugees for a long period of time forces them to rethink and reshape their lives and futures. Many a time integrating them into the host countries’ economic, social and cultural life becomes imperative as many of the refugee populations are forced to live in countries of asylum for prolonged periods. The process of repatriation of these communities must be done in safety and security.[3] The reasons why these people left their countries must be addressed as quickly as possible. We must also understand that these refuges are capable people, professionals, skilled persons who had been a part of the skilled labour force or who would have held important positions before their flight. They may have been farmers, doctors, engineers, agriculturists, technicians, artists, fathers, mothers, daughters and sons, ordinary people caught up in extraordinary circumstances, not their own making. These people find themselves suddenly cut off from their language, culture, traditions and customs and relationships they have forged back home.

Before moving further it is critical for understanding who is a refugee? According to the 1951 Refugee Convention a refugee is “someone with a well-founded fear of being persecuted in his country of origin for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion”[4]. This definition excludes economic migrants, persons joining family members who are living abroad. Refugees are also defined in the same manner in the 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees.[5] The key criteria determining refugee status is persecution, which is a deliberate act of the government against individuals. A refugee is also one who is outside his home country of origin, whose normal bond of trust, loyalty, protection and assistance between a person and the government of his country has been broken or is non-existent.

This definition was further broadened to apply to specific problems of Africa in the 1969 OAU Refugee Convention. It included not only those who had a well-founded fear of persecution but also included any person owing to external aggression, occupation, foreign domination or events seriously disturbing public order, in either part or whole of his country of origin or nationality, is compelled to seek refuge outside his country of origin or nationality.[6]

When internal conflicts broke out in Central America in the 1980s which resulted in massive refugee movements, these countries met in Cartagena, Colombia. In the 1984 Cartagena Declaration defined a refugee as one who are persons “who have fled their country because their lives, safety or freedom have been threatened by generalized violence, foreign aggression, internal conflicts, massive violation of human rights or other circumstances which have seriously disturbed public order”[7] Whatever may be the causes of refugee flows a refugee is one who is dispossessed of his home, land, culture and a entire way of life. This classification is very important as it involves the critical difference between access to asylum, receiving and granting of international protection. [8]

Having said that, these refugee communities, even though much has been written about them for the last 50 years or so, yet much of our understanding has come in form of oral history and intangible sources, which are located in people’s homes and in their communities. Even though in the flight from conflict, war and persecution they may have left their homes, property and other material comforts of life, yet they carry with them certain aspects of life in form of their indigenous culture, traditions and customs. A celebration of life is in form of dance, drama, music, art, poetry, songs and rituals, which are an integral part of their life. The stories that they tell, the sports that they play, the clothes that they weave or knit are always with them in their daily struggle for existence. A complete culture shared values, attitudes and practices that form the fabric of their lives. These refugees need to hold on to their way of life as they are in the danger of losing their indigenous culture and with that their group identity. Such connectedness will not only keep their culture alive, as a form of self and group expression and the process of healing that emerges from their involvement in the community’s arts and crafts.

 Art and culture becomes a facilitator for rebuilding their torn lives ad attaining some semblance of normal life, even within the camps they have no other choice but to live in. As Robert Rae, Artistic Director of the Edinburg Theatre Workshop put it, “For refugees escaping political persecution the fact they are political makes them committed to where they come from. To go into a strange world and a strange culture is tough”.[9] Exile necessarily involves change which is sometimes so profound that they transform individuals’ lives and identities. There is the ever-present dilemma of integration and assimilation into the host/asylum country. For most of the refugee communities apart from physical security and safety, the pressing concerns of survival and basic human needs, there is always an underlying strong concern of continuity of their culture.

This paper makes a small yet ambitious attempt to understand the way in which these refugee communities protect and preserve their indigenous culture in extreme conditions of adversity that these people find themselves in. It has in turn helped them to cope up with the trauma of exile and the pressures of assimilating into a new alien culture and habitats. It is also one way of becoming conscious of unjust political and social reality. It forges bonds of solidarity among the refugee communities vi-a-vis a shared historical experience and a shared fate of escape from persecution, conflicts and wars. My primary focus would be on fine arts such as dance, music, poetry, rites and rituals and theatre. It is an attempt to understand the refugees search for cultural identities and reconstruction of political histories through oral narratives. Despite the effort to retain the pristine nature of the cultural forms, yet the impact of globalization and the unique position these refugees find themselves in, somewhere they are using every tool in their hands to bring these cultural forms to a wider audiences worldwide.




“The primary effect of music is to give the listener a feeling of security, for it symbolizes the place where he was born, his earliest childhood satisfaction, his religious experience, his pleasure in community doings, his courtship and his work-any or all-of these personality-shaping experiences”[10]. Music is worth investigating for its beneficial potential in dealing with life as a refugee.[11] One need not state that agencies such as the UNHCR need to see musicians as custodians of cultural heritage and the important role they play in the normalization and in the articulation of identity.[12] Among the refugees who went to United States from the war-torn Afghanistan were a number of musicians. Big stars such as Khyal, Zaland, Ferida Mahwash, Shah Wali Wali, Haider Salim and his sister Salma. All these musicians had a strong link with Radio Afghanistan. The banning of music by the Taleban has given an added importance in the lives of the Afghani diaspora. The musicians use harmonium, table drums,  rubab and dutar lutes. The songs have the influence of Persian ghazal, qawwali and Sufi music from India and Pakistan. In the Buduburam refugee settlement in Ghana hosting the Liberian refuges there is any time of the day music, drumming, impromptu gospel singing, children singing, clapping to the beat of music blaring out from the radio. It is a way of expressing individual and collective experience of displacement, loss, reconciliation and hope.

The University of Alberta has come out with a CD entitled “Giving Voice to Hope: Music of Liberian Refugees”. This venture features sixteen Liberian music groups who have lived as refugees in the camps.[13] Many a time music is used as a restorative therapeutic role in palliative cure. An example of this is the case of Alie Marrah who fled his native Sierra Leone in the 1990s at the height of the civil war to Trinidad. An accomplished musician, who formed the Band Jamafrique,[14] draws upon the rhythms of native Africa and musical traditions of Jamaica.

The acclaimed Band Refugee All Stars of Sierra Leone is composed of members who have lived through unimaginable tragedy of civil war. Their Album ‘Living like a Refugee”, decrys the insanity of war, social justice and the horrors of flight to safety. They use reggae, rap, rock and West African folk music to describe their experiences. As Reuben Koroma, the band member put it, “We are the survivors from a brutal war…..our aim is to exercise patience and strong courage with music to conquer all obstacles and reform our lives”[15]The Burmese refugees in the United States have their own communities in which music plays a very important part. They play on instruments as the thana, a small wooden harp and tell ancient love stories and tragedies through song.[16] In the Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon of Burj el-Barajneh, the refugees are among the most musically-inclined community. They are turning to hip hop and rap in order to voice their feelings ad frustrations to the wider world. We must understand that these Palestinians are one such community which has lived for several generations in refugee camps. Palestinian rapper TNT and his performing partner I-Voice Yaseen who is studying in Canada, use Yaseen’s mother’s spare room in the centre of the camp via the internet to create recordings to be disseminated to the wider world. The lyrics are in Arabic and traditional instruments are used extensively for the recordings.[17] A trio of refugee musicians from Iraq in Syria use traditional instruments such as the oud (lute), by Salim, Abdel Mounem the ney (pan flute) and Fadi Farez Aziz the qanun, a type of zipher, to sing songs of anguish and frustration.[18]

Where the refugees have lived in closely integrated communities such as the Tibetan refugees in Darmashala and in Kodagu district of Karnataka, they have been able to retain some of the indigenous culture without being corrupted by outside influences. For them there are four pillars of keeping their culture intact and which are close to monastic communities; 2. Living among own communities away from the host culture as far as possible; 3. A strong education system rooted in their traditional culture, language and script and 4. A blend of tradition with modernity under His Holiness, the Dalai Lama’s leadership.[19] In sustaining Tibetan culture in local schools and encouraging studies in Tibetan language, mothers have a very vital role to play as caregivers.

In Burma Community Based Organizations play an important role in preservation of traditional culture, documenting oral history and village history, educating children in ethnic languages and culture and maintaining of traditional medicinal practices. They seem to be the only bulwark against the Burmese government’s attempts to Burmanize the ethnic people.[20] In these camps are the people belonging to the Karenni ethnic group who live on the Burmese border in Thailand’s northwest province of Mae Hong Son. These people have fled from the Karennin (Kayah) state in Eastern Burma. One of the world’s most closed societies all efforts are made by the community to keep their culture alive. PU Sein Tih, one of Karen community’s most respected traditional practitioners leads the effort to keep the culture flourishing. The Karen Culture Group within the Mae La Camp is a forum through which the cultural issues are addressed. Materials for building musical instruments were purchased and they also celebrate Ceremonies such as a wrist tying ceremony, in which a needle is tied on to a wrist as a sign of pure spirit to defeat all evils.[21] The traditional instruments are the harp, Jews harp, bamboo guitar or fiddle, xylophone, flute, graduated pipes, gourd bagpipe, wedding horn, drums, symbals and gongs. The songs they sing and the music they produce tell tales of courting, calling out to each other in the brush.[22]


It is interesting to note that theatre is used as a vehicle to articulate the problems faced by the refugees and to find solutions. Theater acts as a platform for the refugees to articulate on sensitive issues. In a fairly isolated area of Nawagene in Zambezia, Mozambique which host a large number of internally displaced persons, a strong theatrical, dance and oral traditions is present. Under the Theatre for Development initiative undertaken by the UNHCR the people in the camps are encouraged to use theatrical techniques such as image theatre and forum theatre, in which the audience participation is encouraged. The actors perform real situations of injustice or oppression. The audience is invited to participate in it as protagonists and can even change the situations in the drama and try to offer solutions to the problems that are being enacted.  They can even change the action with a joker acting as a facilitator. The very simple act of the members of the audience to get up and take part in the play is in itself empowering. In Mali SOS Sahel set up a drama unit using local people as a way to listen to village performers. The Theatre for Development provided an ongoing feedback system. The Marathodi Theatre Company in Lesotho held workshops for village health workers. These then returned to their villages and trained and enacted dramas with their fellow villagers.[23] Theatre for Development is concerned with the use of theatrical techniques and methods to address social issues of injustice and oppression.


In the refugee situations oral history as a method of study in West Asia has generally focused on the political histories of the elite. Ever since the creation of the state of Israel in 1948 and the occupation of Gaza Strip and the West Bank on Arab land, several generations have lived in refugee camps for all their lives. In fact many generations have not known what it is to be living in a free homeland. Here oral narratives have been found to be flourishing. These narratives tell us stories of dispossession, struggle and survival. Sometimes they become a pleasurable means of passing knowledge and values. As Rosemary notes that “Women in Palestine refugee camps have a rich stock of historical experience in form of quassas (Stories: singular, qissa), which is manly transmitted through women’s gatherings and family settings. In these qissa veracity is very essential. These oral narratives help to include in the historical record neglected perspectives and voices and also to analyze topics and forces generally obscured in other historical narratives. [24]The life stories of refugee women from low-income strata do not merely reflect national history. They offer the materials for a more real national history, one not narrowly focuses on men, political parties and the national elite, but taking in women, home, families, non-elite classes and varied diaspora locales.[25] Oral narratives are also an effective way of studying political imprisonment since access to political prisoners themselves is quite limited. [26]

One example is the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa which was set up in 1995 to start the healing of the deep wounds of the Apartheid years. The main vehicle of the TRC is public story telling. Both perspectives of the victims and the perpetrators responsible for the commission of gross violations of human rights are presented before the Commission. In this way restoring of human and civil dignity of the victims and the granting of amnesty to persons who make full disclosure of all the relevant facts is facilitated. [27]

Storytelling has also been used by the Palestinians to recount the suffering after being dispossessed of their land. These narratives speak of deportation/ escape, life in the refugee camps in Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. They also speak of the overwhelming desire and dreams of these communities of returning to their former homes and hearths.[28] Though many a time such storytelling of their trauma does not always have a healing effect on the survivors, it opens up channels of thought, feelings and communication that was closed for years. Many of these narratives are deeply contentious, controversial and sensitive their friends or family members have gone through. They may have now forgotten or the generation that had lived through the trauma had passed away or it is best forgotten. Many thousands of Holocaust survivors have given their testimonies in institutions around the world such as in Yale University.[29]

One has to understand that many remain inwardly troubled while keeping a façade of outwardly adjusted lives. Sometimes holding on to the past can also inhibit their peaceful resolution. It can open up deep wounds and thereby the process of healing and reconciliation can also take a very long time. It is interesting to note here that for many refugees the theme of social death and estrangement, of forgetting and being forgotten in their home towns after they repatriate, was a recurring in many of their dreams, which were often represented by death. There was this feeling of never having existed, a feeling of being non-recognized in his own home town.[30]




Any of the refugees, being caught among situations of despair and dislocation of their lives have found solace through poetry. Examples of poetry by refugees are Home My Home, by P.L. Kaul. A Kashmir Pandit Refugee, The Refugees by Randall Jarell, We are Refugees by Benjamin Zephanaiah, The Refugees by Annie Weems and Refugee Blues by W.H. Auden. Refugee Children’s Voices is a collection of poems written by Sudanese refugee children living in a settlement in Uganda in 2004. These poems describe disturbing images of the conflict in Sudan/ Darfur.[31] The poems of Late Venerable monk Akaktip ly Van, a former abbot in Glory Templewas found in Lowell Massachusetts. This set of poems was published in the book titled O! Maha Mount Dangrek, paints a grim picture of refugee camps in Thailand after the khmer Rouge period. They speak of crimes committed by the Thai armed forces and landmines. Thes poems describe the perils of flight and the period of terror. George Chigas, Political Science professor University of Mass, said, “it showed great devotion to cultural tradition and at the same time tries to preserve something that had been lost”.[32]

The Anthology titled Dreams, Struggles and Survivors: Poetry by young refugees speaks of the journeys and memories, postcards from home, dreams and wishes of young refugees. Much of the poetry contains memories of childhood, home, familiar habitats, cities and villages lived in and dreams of returning back to their homelands. [33] A fourteen year old poet Alwaiya in Britain, who is coached by British poet Benjamin Zephanaiah, in her poems, speaks freely images of her childhood home in Somalia and the long bewildering flight into the dark from Mogadhishu.[34]

            Palestinian refugees  express their experiences and sentiments through folklore and oral poetry in the Palestinian dialect during weddings and other public ceremonies They use strophic poetry called zajal(in rural Palestine as haddadi) and the poet as hadi or haddi. They carry these literary forms into the refugee camps. The poetry involves dialectical tension between pairs of concepts such as border-margin, homeland-state, refugee-revolutionary. Words such as gharib(struggle), musharrad(fugitive), lagi(refugee), nazih(wanderer) enter into poetic diction. Aid(returnee) and awadah(return) enjoy greater currency in this poetry. These poems reflect the optimistic outlook concerning the expected duration of the ghurba(exile). These poems reflect the inability of the refugee to accept as the legitimate borders that separate him from grounds of personal identity, his home, his land and place of birth.[35] Mahmoud Darwish (1942- ) who went into exile in 1970 is the uncontested Poet Laureate of the Palestinian people. He said, “We lived again as a refugee, this time in our own country. It is a collective experience. This wound I’ll never forget”. He was labeled as a ‘present absentee’, a strange and unprecedented legal category that denied them citizenship. For his poetry Palestine is a metaphor for the loss of earthly paradise, for birth, death, resurrection and the anguish of dispossession, destitution and exile. His poem ‘Identity Card’, recounts a run-in with an Israeli police officer who had stopped him to check is papers. It speaks of identity, pride, defiance of Israeli control and the spirit of resistance. [36] It is interesting to note that Juliane Hammer’s book, Palestinians Born in Exile, is an original ethnography which records the experiences of the young Palestinians born in exile, who have now emigrated to Palestine. This account is based on oral narratives of Palestinians who have lived across the diaspora, a generation of Palestinians who are the future of the Palestinian people and the nation.[37]


Many a times the refugee communities use their rich source of art and culture as a means of empowering themselves and becoming self-reliant. In exile Thanka (religious scroll paintings) remain empowering within the Tibetan Buddhist practices. They commemorate the dead, to aid good birth, tell tales of the Buddha and the Boddhisattvas. [38]These paintings represent a living proof of a distinctive Tibetan identity. ART for Refugees in Transition (ART), a US-based organization, established by Sara Green, helps build the cultural identity through revitalization of indigenous art forms. Alongside the International Organization for migration (IOM), La Casa de la Cultura developed a plan to revitalize the local tradition of ceramics-Colombia’s richest folk art in the region of EL Carmen de Viboral, Anitoquia near Medellin, the world’s most infamous centre of drug cartels. This is one of the violent places on earth with the highest number of child soldiers. It has the highest internally displaced population with a continued civil conflict between left-wing insurgents fighting right-wing paramilitary groups and a rampant drug culture. This organization conducts workshops to the youth in ceramic pottery and art by experienced ceramic masters of the art. This initiative saves the children in the community from joining or being taken into armed forces, paramilitary groups or by the drug lords.[39]

In a small village of Surif, nestled in Hebron Hills, women’s cooperative encourages the women refugees to use their embroidery skills as a means of empowerment. Cross-stitch(tareez) embroidery, weaving of cloth, couching-stitch(tahriri) embroidery, Majdalawi weaving on indigo-dried cloth with fuchisia or turquoise stripes, Bedouin weaving, manufacture of olive oil soaps, ceramics, olive wood carving, paper crafts and doll making are taught in this village by artisans to the women who have undergone the brutality of war and dislocation. [40]


For many of the people who have been born in countries of refuge/asylum or in refugee camps, the challenging task before them is to hold on to their national and cultural identities. In the relocation and rebuilding process the question of cultural identity is often overlooked. Amidst the pressing concerns of addressing the basic needs of food, clothing, shelter, medical care, sanitation, safety and health become the top priority. Once the process of settling down into new surroundings, new atmosphere and habitats, is completed, rekindling of culture and traditional art forms becomes vital for mental and emotional preservation.

This rediscovering and rekindling of cultural forms among the refugee communities help dispel nations of cultural bereavement, homesickness, cultural shock in an alien and often hostile land and helps overcome the feeling of uprootedness. Richard Rorty states that, solidarity appears when religious, national, sexual or racial differences become insignificant in relation to the community experienced in sorrow and humiliation.[41] In such a discourse refugee movements often threaten inter-communal harmony and undermine major social values by altering the ethnic, cultural, religious and linguistic composition of the host countries. The dream of eventual return to their own countries, making them preserve their cultural heritage an national identity many a times prevent their integration into the host countries. In such a situation the local populations of the host countries, very naturally, tend to harbor anti-immigrant and anti-refugee feelings. These issues the refugee communities must be well aware of. Maintaining a distinctive cultural and ethnic identity is a significant element for survival in an alien land.

Numerous pressures, both internal and external pressures act upon the refugee communities and threaten the very existence of such identities. Holding on to their intangible elements of their culture, which is carried with them, inherent within themselves in one of the important means of bonding together and surviving as a national/ethic/cultural group. Preserving those elements that make up the cultural fabric of the community is as much essential as safety and security, and the basic human needs that are required for their survival.

International agencies such as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugee, international non-governmental agencies, funding organizations, both government and private, and even the governments of the host/asylum countries have recognized this vital humanitarian and intangible component of the life of the refugee. Several programmes and initiatives are conducted by these organizations and civil society organizations in the remote, inaccessible regions of the world which are host to the vast refugee populations.

 Of course in the process of globalization, liberalization and the overarching reach of the information technology, maintaining these indigenous forms of culture in their undiluted, pristine form is rendered difficult. Nothing is free from outside influences, especially aspects of culture. One good thing about the impact of external influences is that the refugee issue has been catapulted to the centre of the world political stage. Governments, therefore, are compelled to address these issues expeditiously and urgently. No longer can these issues be swept under the carpet or relegated to the sidelines by terming them ‘low politics’. The magnitude to the refugee issues worldwide is so huge that it requires a multidimensional, multifaceted and a holistic approach to find durable solutions. Obviously, intangible aspects that compose one’s cultural and national identity being an important component.

 In conclusion cultural and national identity which includes both tangible and intangible aspects help in enhancing individual self-confidence, values and prestige as also in mobilizing group solidarity. A sample of the examples which are given in this paper tell a story of how in adverse conditions, feeling of uprootedness, dislocation and a feeling of a stranger in an alien land, yet they make every effort, both individually and collectively, to hold on to their cultural heritage, customs and traditions, arts and crafts and language and script.[42] Not only do they assist in the process of reconciliation and peace building but also become vital sources of employment and income generation for these communities. This goes a long way towards self-reliance and healing the wounds of wars, conflicts, persecution and gross violations of human rights, conditions from which the vast numbers of populations have fled their nations into safety and security.





[1] See Gil Loescher, Beyond Charity: International Cooperation and the Global Refugee Crisis(New York, Oxford University Press, 1993) and Aristide Zolberg, Astri Suhrke and Sergio Aguayo, Escape from Violence: Conflict and Refugee Crisis in the Developing World(New York, Oxford University Press, 1989) for more details of the causes and consequences of refugee flows.

[2] See Judy A. Mayotte, Disposable People: The Plight of Refugees(Maryknoll, New York, Orbis Books, 1992) for a detailed understanding on the plight of the refugees through first accounts of the refugees across the world

[3] See Edward Newman, and Joanne van Selm, eds., Refugees and Forced Displacement: International Security and Human Vulnerability(Tokyo ,United Nations University Press, 2004)

[4] Article 1(2), 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, in Basic International Legal Documents on Refugees, Third Edition,(New Delhi, UNHCR, 1999), p.9.

[5] Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees of 31 January 1967, ibid, p.38-42.

[6] Article 1, para.1and 2, OAU Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa, 10 September 1969, in ibid., p.133

[7] Part 3, para. 3, Cartagena Declaration on Refugees, 22 November 1984, in ibid., p.150

[8] For a better understanding on the legal regime of the refugees, see Guy Goodwin-Gil, The Refugee in International Law(Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1983) and James Hathaway, The Law of Refugee Status(Toronto, Butterworths,1991)

[9] Tomas Quinn, Refugees portray their ordeal in Festival Film, The Observer, Sunday, 15 June 2008.

[10] Lomax, A, Folk Song Style, American Anthropologist, Vol. 61, No. 6, 1959,p.929.

[11] See Reyes Adelaida, Songs of the Caged and Songs of the Free (Philadelphia, Temple University Press, 1990).

[12] John Baily, Music and Refugees lives: Afghans in Eastern Iran and California, Forced Migration Review, 6 December 1999, p. 12, (Accessed on 23 December 2010)

[13] Giving Voice to Hope: Music of Liberian Refugees, (Accessed on 23 December 2010)

[14] On an Island Awash in Music: A Refugee adds his Voice, 2 July 2008,

(Accessed on 23 December 2010)

[15]UNHCR Staff Rock to the Rhythms of the Refugee All Stars, 3 July 2007,     (Accessed on 23 December 2010)

[16] Burmese Refugees Preserve Culture through Music, ( Accessed on 23 December 2010)

[17] on 23 December 2010)

[18] (Accessed on 23 December 2010) 

[19] N. Subramanya, Human Rights and Refugees(New Delhi, APH Publication Co, 2004), p. 211.

[20] DFID Assistance to Burmese Internally Displaced People and Refugees on the Thailand-Burma Border, 10th Report of Session 2006-07, Volume, Oral Written Evidence(Great Britain, Parliament, House of Commons, International Development Committee, 2007),p. 120.

[21] Preservation of Karen Culture in Mae La Camp-26-28 August 2007  on 20 December 2010)

[22] on 20 December 2010)

[23] Helen Scott-Danter, Theatre for Development-A Dynamic Tool for Change, Forced Migration Review, 6 December  1999, p. 24

[24] Rosemary Sayigh, Palestinians, From Peasants to Revolutionaries: A People’s History (London, Zed Books, 1979), p.42.

[25] Ibid., p.43

[26] Esmail Nashif, Identity, Community and Text: The Production of Meaning among Palestinian Political Captives (Austin, University of Texas Press, 2004) for an indepth analysis.

[27] No. 34 of 1995 Promotion of National Unity and Reconciliation Act, in on 20 December 2010)

[28] Lynd S, Bahour, S, and Lynd A, eds., Homeland: Oral histories of Palestine and Palestinians (New York, Olive Branch Press, 1994).

[29] Langer, L. Holocaust Testimonies: The Ruins of Memory (New Haven, Yale University Press, 1991) for the complete exposition of testimonies.

[30] Marit Eastmond, Reconstructing Life: Chilean Refugee Women and the Dilemmas of Exile, in Tapan K. Bose and  Rita Manchanda eds., States, Citizens and Outsiders: The Uprooted Peoples of South Asia, (Kathmandu, South Asia Forum for Human Rights, 1997), pp. 41-42.

[31]{D2f99ic5A4fB-4767-92if-A9452B12DA42}/tA-ar-introchvoices.pdf.  (Accessed on 20 December 2010)

[32] Russell Contreras, In Late Lowell Monk’s Poems a view of Terror, The Bay State Banner, Vol. 44, No. 30, 19 March 2009.

[33] http://www.children’ Accessed  on 20 December 2010)

[34] Severin Carrel, Appeal-young Refugees find their Voice through Poetry, The Independent (UK), Sunday 4 January 2004.

[35] Mohammad Siddiq, On the Ropes of Memory; Narrating the Palestinian Refugee, in Valentine Daniel and John Chr Knud Sen, eds.,  Mistrusting Refugees (Berkeley, University of California Press, 1995), p. 89-91.

[36] Samih K. Farsoun, Culture and Customs of the Palestinians (Westport, CT, Greenwood Publishing Group, 2004) for a detailed exposition on the theme.

[37] See Juliane Hammer, Palestinians: Born in Exile, Diaspora and the Search for a Homeland(Austin, University of Texas Press, 2005)

[38] Claire Harris, Imagining Home: The Reconstruction of Tibet in Exile, Forced Migration Review, 6 December 1999, p.14


[40] Shirabe Yamada, Embroidery and Beyond; Cultural Heritage provides a means for a Dignified Life, This Week in Palestine, Issue No. 109, May 2007. (Online Version)

[41] Richard Rorty, Contingency, Irony, Solidarity(Sahel, Renata, Cambridge University Press, 1989, pp. 189-198 for a fuller discussion on this point

[42] See John Sorenson, Opposition, Exile and Identity: The Eritrean Case, journal of Refugee Studies, Vol. 3, No. 4, 1990, pp. 298-319 for an indepth understanding of the difficulty of maintaining cultural identity in conditions of exile via the case of the Eritrean refugees who have sought asylum in Canada.