Humanity adrift: why refugees deserve better

A note from the editor

Hazel Healy

Death in peacetime

In October, I travelled to Lesvos, the frontline of Europe’s refugee crisis. I’ve been trying to work out ever since what it is that makes it so hard to forget.

We are not used to seeing loss first-hand, the bereaved families and interrupted lives.

But it isn’t just that. I’ve read numerous blogs by photographers and war correspondents who have seen death and destruction on a far wider scale yet can’t seem to get over Lesvos either.

I think it’s because these deaths in Europe are so infinitely avoidable. It isn’t dangerous to get to Greece from Turkey. A big, safe ferry crosses into Lesvos three times a week. But our border regime stops refugees from catching it. So they sell up and risk their lives, and those of their children, in smugglers’ boats to Europe.

By contrast, the dangers of the wars that refugees are fleeing are well known. Yet the deaths on our border are a result of the order that we impose on the world, not the chaos of conflict. Whatever logic has led us to this point, the result is madness, one that goes against every human instinct.

This Big Story adds New Internationalist’s voice to the chorus of outrage at our governments’ handling of the refugee crisis, but also draws hope from the humanity of those citizens who are rebelling against the securitization of the border, by helping people over it.

This month we also explore the camp at Calais, thanks to a cartoon supplement by Kate Evans, told with her characteristic warmth and humour.

Elsewhere, we have an essay from Mark Boyle that takes a stand against ‘mindless nonviolence’ and a visual treat, ‘The Unreported Year’, shining a light on the stories the world forgot in 2015.

Hazel Healy for the New Internationalist co-operative.
www.newint.org

Keynote article.

Mixed messages: refugees have received a varied reception as they journey through Europe. Here, a policeman plays with a girl last September in Denmark, a cut-through for many Syrian and Iraqi refugees heading for Sweden.

Mixed messages: refugees have received a varied reception as they journey through Europe. Here, a policeman plays with a girl last September in Denmark, a cut-through for many Syrian and Iraqi refugees heading for Sweden.

Photo: Claus Fisker/Reuters

Fight for the heart of Europe

On the frontlines of the refugee crisis in Lesvos, Hazel Healy finds loss, humanity – and answers.

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In a taverna overlooking Molyvos harbour, exhausted Greek coastguards have come off shift and are drinking in a huddle. They have just pulled 242 refugees out of the water, in the worst shipwreck off the shores of Lesvos since the refugee crisis began last year.

By 1.30am there is only one man left in the bar, Yanis Stipsanos, the vice-mayor of Molyvos. ‘Too many people have died at my place,’ he says, his face like thunder. ‘I didn’t kill them. Turkey killed them.’ He thinks for a moment. ‘E...




Features.

Global Refugee Crisis – THE FACTS

This infograph from the January-February 2016 New Internationalist magazine offers the big picture view of who, why, and where people flee to.

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The border industry

Ruben Andersson investigates the murky world of border security.

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A Syrian girl stands behind a door in a makeshift settlement Ketermaya, south of Beirut. The village, which has a population of just 15,000, is hosting 5,000 refugees – the same number given sanctuary by Britain over the last four years.

‘How can you say no?’

Reem Haddad reports on how Christian Palestinians in Lebanon have welcomed Muslim refugees from Syria.

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Congolese refugees bound for Uganda.

Why don’t you move to Uganda?

Patience Akumu explains that some African countries host large numbers of refugees.

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Solidarity knocks

While governments are sealing borders and erecting walls, ordinary people are offering support and shelter.

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The fear of ‘not enough to go round’

Global inequality lies at the root of our anxiety over migrants, says Bridget Anderson.

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The Unreported Year

Stories you might have missed in 2015. Compiled by Jo Lateu.

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Calais supplement

Kate Evans explores the camp at Calais through illustration, told with her characteristic warmth and humour.

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Opinion.

Doing grief properly

Compulsory grief is both pointless and grotesque, writes Kate Smurthwaite.

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Right to make a scene: activists protest outside Minneapolis police headquarters after the death of Jamar Clark.

A good moment to make a scene

Urgent cries for racial justice must not go unheard, writes Mark Engler.

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Agenda.

Looking for a home: orangutans in Borneo face a struggle to survive as forests are cleared.

Catastrophic fires leave orangutans homeless in Indonesia

Richard Swift looks at the how ecological disaster causes a cascade of effects.

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Creeping totalitarianism

Creeping totalitarianism

Sharmin Cheema-Kelly offers grave warning about the direction Malaysia is headed.

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Going vegan

Going vegan

Lydia Noon reports the first vegan bakery in Ramallah’s Jalazoun refugee camp, Palestine.

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Introducing Bidhya Devi Bhandari

Richard Swift shines a light on the first woman president of the small mountainous state of Nepal.

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Welsh tax rebels unite

Welsh tax rebels unite

Tom Lawson explains how mimics small traders are mimicking corporate tax-avoidance.

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Dora Macoviak: ‘If we want to do something, we have to do it ourselves.’

Putting poor Argentineans on the map

Peter Lykke Lind explains one community's small victory.

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Corruption kills in Romania

Corruption kills in Romania

Cristiana Moisescu relays tragic events that sparked public rage in Bucharest.

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A Kenyan Act without action

A Kenyan Act without action

Maina Waruru reports how a local law puts small street-sellers at risk.

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It’s a lottery

It’s a lottery

Luke Rees explores the degree to which proceeds from the lottery benefit society.

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Reasons to be cheerful

Wetland protection, transgender medical rights, car-free Delhi & buy don’t burn.

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Regulars.

Letters

Praise, blame and all points in between? Your feedback published in the January/February 2016 magazine.

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Letter from Bangui: The guardian

A sudden change in an employee's health reveals hidden hardship to Ruby Diamonde.

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Country profile: Djibouti

David Styan on life in continental Africa's least-populated state.

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The violence of nonviolent protest

Mark Boyle writes on why he opposes 'mindless nonviolence'.

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Akala

The award-winning rapper, writer, campaigner and lecturer talks to Dan Glazebrook about the myth of white supremacy and the death of racism.

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Film, Book & Music Reviews.

Mixed Media: Best of 2015

The films, music and books that made the grade this year.

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Shu Qi plays the contemplative killer.

Mixed Media: Films

The Assassin, directed by Hou Hsiao-Hsien; Rams, directed by Grímur Hákonarson; This Changes Everything, by Avi Lewis and Naomi Klein.

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A rich conversation – Vieux Farka Touré and Julia Easterlin.

Mixed Media: Music

Touristes by Vieux Farka Touré and Julia Easterlin; Vesevo by Vesevo.

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Mixed Media: Books

Human Acts by Han Kang; Martin John by Anakana Schofield; What’s Yours is Mine by Tom Slee; Saudi Arabia: A Kingdom in Peril by Paul Aarts and Carolien Roelants; Muted Modernists by Madawi Al-Rasheed.

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Also out there...

More reviews from the January/February 2016 magazine.

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