The Five One Review

The Bow of Exile

What does it feel like to leave everything you love most? To flee your home because your country is torn apart by war, violence or persecution? To travel for weeks and months, arrive in a stranger’s country and seek to rebuild a life from nothing?

And how should we act, what should we do, when people seek asylum from persecution in our country?

These questions are more important than ever today as Europe struggles to find a coherent and humane response to the ongoing refugee crisis. But these questions are not new. The world’s – and Europe’s – history is filled with dark moments of exodus. And many of our founding stories are tales of exile, from the departure of the Israelites led by Moses to Joseph, Mary and Jesus’ flight into Egypt. They are, also, tales of homecoming, the greatest of which is the Odyssey.

This Five One theme presents illustrations of some of these stories, together with texts by Dante, Hugo, Shakespeare, Baudelaire and Homer to help us reflect more deeply on the present crisis. Five One is also very proud to welcome on its site beautiful songs written and performed by Woven Gold, a London based group of professional musicians and refugees from around the world who came to England seeking refuge from persecution in their own countries – from Burma, Congo, Eritrea, Guinea, Iran, Kenya, Kurdistan, Pakistan, Sierra Leone and Uganda.

All these works, past and present, remind us that we should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood and uphold our legal and moral obligations. Failing to do so means failing those seeking help – but it also means failing our history, our poets and ourselves.

François Holmey
London, 9 April 2016

Our selection of poetry, music and art for all five weeks of this theme is available by clicking on the tabs above or through the links below:

I. Week One
II. Week Two
III. Week Three
IV. Week Four
V. Week Five