Refugees: Covid-19

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Refugees: Covid-19


After hearing that President had canceled funding for W.H.O. I checked with a retired doctor-writer on Signal Mountain. He felt like I did, this was an immoral betrayal. After taking part in a phone conference with Amnesty International on Refuges and COVID-19 and listened to the first question about the funding for W.H.O. I wrote a first draft and sent it my classmate Dr. Steve Humphrey ('67) who had just returned from Uganda on a cardiology teaching mission. He said go with it. I wrote another draft with his words "manage on the ground" Here is the poem:
Refugees & COVID-19
Mark 7:24-30

I am the daughter of the Syrian-Phoenician woman,
The child whom Jesus healed long ago.
Now we are in a refugee camp. My mother
Is dying from coronavirus and cannot breathe.

Her fever is high. The virus is like that demon.
But this time it ravages the lungs unlike the demon
That tore up my mind with that evil spirit.
I am looking for Jesus. No one can help us.

Your President has cut off funding from W.H.O.
The World Health Organization knows how to manage
A crisis on the ground: governments lie to their citizens.
Where is Jesus? He is nowhere to be found.

Our hospitals have been bombed. We need intensive
Care, an international rescue. No one will help us:
All we get is silence. The virus is sweeping the camps.
We need doctors, masks, gloves, ventilators.

Cramped like cattle in a stockyard, we live in tents.
Help us. Even the dogs in your humane society
Eat better than we do on crumbs of foreign aid.
Your indifference is killing us. Your hearts are ice.

Where does our help come from? Bishops
Sing God has the whole world in his hands.
But there are no hands in the refugee camps
But yours. Are Christians dead? Where is Jesus?

Who can make a vaccine to cast out this evil
Germ that eats away our lungs like a man dying,
Heaving breath on a cross from execution?
Who? Come quickly. People are dying.

Kemmer Anderson ‘67


Kemmer Anderson




In my office at 6:30 AM 4/16 after wrestling and planning it out. Since I had published poems and written letters to the editor and rode back from England sitting next to a Syrian-American returning from Damascus, I moved into poem space with talent for justice that I learned from my janitor and friend during the 60's Tam Connor.

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The story of the Syrophoenician Woman from the Gospel of Mark 7:24-30.
My friend at Sojourners hopes the poem will find a place. I can think of no better place than at Davidson. It represents what was planted on the grounds of Davidson.


poetkemmer, “Refugees: Covid-19,” (Re)Collecting COVID-19: Davidson & Lake Norman Stories, accessed December 4, 2020,