Edward Said says, “Exile is an unhealable rift forced between a human being and a native place, between the self and its true home; its essential sadness can never be surmounted.” Being in between cultures, between worlds is no longer a phenomenon confined to specific minorities, who have historically been defined by their status as outsiders. The political vagaries of our times have forced majority populations to leave their homes and their homelands. The reality of being “in between” has become a defining moment for those who have left, and for those who have become their hosts. Being “in between“ can be experienced as a social and cultural no man’s land. No one can predict how permanent or temporary this new relationship will be, but under all circumstances, it makes sense to listen to each other, to perceive and see each other.
I was a refugee in Syria and Jordan. When I arrived in Germany, I found out that my new category was now “stateless”. I have always written about the cities I have lived in, which were all cities of exile. In other words, my relationship with a place was not like the relationship of a citizen with his homeland. An author who has never had a native country, cannot be called anything other than an “exiled writer”. All of those “In Betweens” are able to create layers of new Identity which is based on being “exiled-in between-not belonging” as Mahmoud Darwish says, “Who am I without exile?” (Ramy Al-Asheq, a poet based in Berlin)