Indonesians in Asylum

in Social Analysis
Author: Loren Ryter1
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  • 1 Cornell University
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To speak of ‘asylum’ is to speak of an intense fear released upon arrival in a sheltered place of calm. With political asylum, both the fear and the subsequent calm are politicized, because the origins of fear are typically understood to be identified with a state apparatus, and the umbrella of shelter is defined by the territorial boundaries of another nation-state. Seeking asylum involves more than escaping trouble in one’s homeland. It links that trouble to government and severs a connection between homeland and nationality. Defection, an extreme variant of asylum, is a politicized trade of nationality. However, in any asylum request, one’s prior nationality, if not repudiated altogether, must be placed in abeyance until such a time that the state apparatus of one’s homeland no longer persecutes dissent. Even so, rarely do those granted political asylum reclaim their prior nationality and return to their homeland once the conditions of persecution have vanished.