Josna Rege

Reflections on A-to-Z 2019: Migrants, Refugees, and Exiles  

In Notes on May 6, 2019 at 10:46 am

Last month I participated in the Blogging from A-to-Z Challenge in its 10th Anniversary year, with the theme of Migrants, Refugees, and Exiles. I hadn’t joined the Challenge for the past couple of years, during which time I had hardly written at all, and had posted just a handful of pieces on Tell Me Another. When it came time to make the decision I took the plunge and managed to get through to Z, albeit a couple of days late.

The subject was grim, but it was the only one that presented itself to me, and once it had, there was absolutely no other subject out there. Not wanting to drive my readers to despair with the enormity of the problem, or send them to sleep out of sheer boredom, I tried to strike a balance between the often-horrible details, personal stories, righteous wrath, and resistance, and hoped that my own experience might disarm those with their antennae tuned to detect proselytizing, polemics, and political correctness. Not wanting to preach to the choir, I hoped that the interludes of music and literature between the ponderous lectures might bring some blessèd relief. Whether or not I succeeded is up to the readers.

Here is a hyperlinked list of all the posts I wrote in connection with Migrants, Refugees, and Exiles, starting with the announcement of the theme:

A-to-Z 2019: Migrants, Refugees, and Exiles


A is for Alien (also Arrival, Assimilation, and Asylum)

B is for Border

C is for Citizen[ship]

D: Detention and Deportation

E is for Emigrant, Expatriate, and Exile

F: Family Separation

G is for the Great Migration

H is for Homeland

I is for “Internment”/Incarceration

J is for Journey

Three Ks: Kamala Markandaya, Kazuo Ishiguro, and Kamila Shamsie

Leaving on a Jet Plane

M: Migrant Crisis

N is for Nationalists and Nationalisms

One Love

P is for Passport

Q is for Quarantine

R is for Refugees

S is for Stranger

T is for Temporary Status

Unalienable Rights

V is for Vigilante



Y is for Youth

Zero-tolerance Policy

Tell Me Another had a big spike in readership from the moment I signed up for the A-to-Z Challenge back in March, after a two-year hiatus. The visits leveled off somewhat after the first week or so, as everybody got busier, but A-to-Z certainly jump-started my blog again after it had lain neglected for the past couple of years.

Besides my friends Anna, Sally, Marianne, Sarah, Norah, and Maureen (and several more whose loving presence I feel even if they don’t have time to comment), I received feedback and encouragement from longtime and loyal fellow-bloggers, some of whom who weren’t even doing the Challenge themselves this year, others who were and already had their hands more than full. I had first discovered Finding Eliza, Calmgrove, and Wangiwriter’s Blog back in 2013, the first year I had participated, and it was delightful to receive regular comments from writers who feel like old friends by now, as well as to follow Finding Eliza‘s absorbing theme. In addition there were the dozen or so bloggers encountered for the first time this year whose blogs I tried to visit more-or-less regularly throughout the month, chief among them Epiphany, Time and Tide, Panorama of the Mountains, QP and EyeThe Curry Apple Orchard, In the Eye of the Beholder, Jazzfeathers, and Sonia’s Musings. Their visits, energy, and example spurred me on when I was flagging, especially those in Australia who were regularly two days ahead of me in the alphabet.

I will certainly try to take up the A-to-Z Challenge again, although every year I ask myself why on earth I signed up for anything so time-consuming in the ridiculously-busy month of April. But I already know the answer to that question: it is because it makes me write, and writing makes me happier than just about anything else.

A sincere thank you to the hardworking co-hosts and to the community of bloggers who have never failed to be courteous, thoughtful, supportive, and oh, so creative! Most importantly, heartfelt thanks to migrants, refugees, and exiles everywhere and those who advocate tirelessly for them. Thank you for your courage and persistence in the face of so many odds. Please know that for every instance of hostility or bureaucratic nonsense that you encounter, you have many well-wishers. This is a particularly precarious time for immigrants, documented or otherwise. Anything we can do to help will make a difference, from keeping up to date on the issues, to educating ourselves and others, to getting involved with one of the many organizations that provide assistance to immigrants and refugees, to making phone calls to our political representatives, to joining public protests, to offering material support. One love!

Tell Me Another (Contents to Date)

Chronological Table of Contents

  1. Well, if you need a reason to write your AtoZ (at least this year) it’s what you said at the end: there is so much need of help and compassion in today’s world. We often think that the need is so great that our tiny contribution won’t make a difference. I always think that many tiny contributions WILL make a huge difference, but that huge difference will never happen if we all renouce to offer our tiny help.

    Thanks so much for writing this challenge. I haven’t read it all yet, but I will.
    Keep up the good job!


    • Thank you for the encouragement. It is very encouraging to receive and exchange sincere comments from people around the world–like you–and to know that the art of civil conversation is not dead, even on contemporary social media. (Is the blogosphere counted as social media?). I too didn’t manage to get to many of your posts in April, but very much enjoyed the ones I did read and look forward to returning over the summer. Cheers!


  2. Hi Josna, Like you said, only you and I were the ones who had written News and Politics in the Category column. Glad you signed up because I enjoyed reading your posts. I shall catch with the few that I couldn’t read.
    Thank you, not only for reading my posts and taking time to jot down your comments but also for mentioning my blog in your post.
    Looking forward to your posts.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This was definitely one of the most unique themes I encountered through the challenge and a very relevant topic

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks very much, Debbie I’ve just visited your Reflections post and realize how remiss I’ve been in visiting so few fellow-participants in the Challenge this year. Now I’m going to go back and read some of your earlier posts. Congrats and many thanks! Josna


  4. It was the perfect topic for the time we are living in. I found it thought-provoking and important. Thank you!


    • Thank you, Heather. I really appreciate you taking the time to drop by and leave a parting comment. Warmest wishes to you.


  5. I found the posts uniformly well written, thought-provoking and, above all, moving. Taken as a whole there were positive notes but much about man’s inhumanity to man and more. Whatever is it in a sizeable minority of humanity who lack a charitable or compassionate bone in their collective bodies? I know all about in-groups and out-groups, but it distresses me so much that so many justify an antagonism born of primitive emotions with false logic.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This was the best AtoZ series of blog posts I have read in the last few years, Josna. As well as dealing with a difficult and often emotional topic, you wrote so well and backed up your statements with references throughout.
    I haven’t participated in the Challenge for a few years, and have only done so twice, but, like you, it did get me writing at a time when I needed a bit of a push. I would like to say I will participate next year, but too often, life gets in the way. Hope you will be back to your writing after this. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Wow, what a nice thing to say, Linda! I read your note out to my husband, I was so chuffed. It feels especially good coming from you. Thank you! (And yes, I hope to find a way to keep writing, now that this month has jump-started me again.)

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Thanks for putting all links in one post. A great resource now so easily shared!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. and thank YOU, josna, for the exquisite writing.always cherished even if i am not making it to comments.

    Liked by 1 person

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