Tag Archives: refugees

Lives interrupted: impossible choices for Afghans in Greece

We saw the mob move towards us in the dimly lit night: twenty agitated men clutching sticks and stones. I grabbed Afsana’s hand and pulled her forwards, running down the railway track towards the police hut. We found the police watching TV. I pleaded for protection, willing them to accompany us to the tent where […]

The Forgotten Soldiers of Lesvos

By Shala Gafary The Trump supporters were right — militants are among the refugees arriving in Europe. Men who know how shoot a gun, kill their enemy, and pluck an aircraft of the sky. They are fanatic in their beliefs and relentless in their objectives. Our land is ours and we are willing to give up our […]

No endless summer of welcome: volunteerism in Germany since 2015

The so-called ‘European refugee crisis’ of 2015 – during which over 1 million people applied for asylum in Germany – was not perceived as a crisis by the hundreds of thousands of volunteers who rushed enthusiastically to assist them. The enthusiasm has dimmed since then owing to changing public perceptions of refugees and asylum seekers […]

Book review: fiction captures the complex realities of Calais life

This summer, an independent publishing company in London released a book of short stories in an effort to bring more attention to the refugee crisis in Europe.  Titled breach, the book, though fiction, is based on the interviews that authors Olumide Popoola and Annie Holmes conducted in the Calais refugee camp in northern France, in […]

Refugees Welcome (Except For Afghans)

By Shala Gafary The powers that be clearly have a major case of cognitive dissonance when it comes to Afghanistan. Day by day, the Taliban grow increasingly bold in their attacks and are projected to gain more ground. ISIS terrorizes peaceful protests in Kabul. Pro-government forces are also to blame for killing innocents. Even the […]

Alone in the Sand: Syrian Refugee Children Abandoned by European Governments

In 1938, a young British stockbroker named Nicholas Winton travelled to Prague. On the eve of the Second World War, he evacuated 669 mostly Jewish children from occupied Czechoslovakia to Britain. In the UK he is celebrated as a hero. Just over a year ago, Sir Nicholas Winton died peacefully aged 106. Thanks to him […]

Insights from Calais: The Hungry Road

People around the world were propelled into action at the sight of little Alan Kurdi’s body lying alone on the sand. The tragedy of displacement is often communicated by images of bodies on beaches and packed sinking boats. But if Alan Kurdi had been alive to tell his story, if he had arrived on that […]

Shaping and Reshaping Identity on Immigrant and Refugee Receptivity

Europe is in a “polycrisis.” That was the theme of a workshop I recently attended, along with colleagues from Kennesaw State University, at the Europäische Akademie Otzenhausen, in Germany. “Polycrisis” in this case refers to the challenges faced by European Union (EU) member states, including financial problems, terrorist threats, and, in particular, the increase in […]

Telling Refugees’ Stories: The Voices Hidden Behind the Panic

How do refugees and other forced migrants impact their host communities? Do they take local jobs? Are they reliant on aid? How do r efugees around the world maintain livelihoods in the face of insecurity, instability and precarity? The Refugee Economics project is a multi-site reporting project headed by Montreal-based journalist Flavie Halais that seeks to answer […]

A warning from an Australian: do not let your immigration detention centres out of sight

I’ve been living on Lesbos since November. As a volunteer, and then as an NGO employee, I moved freely in and out of temporary accommodation sites for refugees (otherwise known as refugee camps) doing my daily work. When the EU-Turkey deal came into force and the EU started deporting newcomers to Turkey, the camps on […]