We had a Zambian party at a small local restaurant in Vienna recently where I had a great time. The Zambian group occupied almost a third of the restaurant. The leader of the group got up to say a few words and when she was about to close her speech someone from our group said to her: “Say that we are not refugees”.
We were all puzzled so she elaborated that the other patrons may think that we are refugees, what with the influx of refugees in Vienna. We laughed, but almost everybody agreed that the others should be notified that all of us were legally here and had not run away from our beautiful Zambia. The speaker then said (in a very loud voice) that indeed, we were not refugees and that we all had valid papers to be in Vienna.
There is nothing wrong with being a refugee, but I was reminded once again how we are usually concerned about other people’s views of us, especially as dark skinned Africans. We want their opinions to be good.
So: no, we are not refugees!