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The Obligation Is the Point

‘Refugee 2 Refugee’ Care and Solidarity in Greece

Zareena Grewal

Abstract

This article examines how grassroots refugee-activists and ‘solidarians’ in Greece articulate a collectivist political vision and praxis of care through an expanding network of social obligation that upends narrow understandings of refugees’ ‘basic’ rights and moral obligations of care. The refugees draw on a wide range of universalising collectivist frames including Islamic, Anarcho-Marxist and Palestinian-liberationist frames to articulate visions of solidarity and nurture trust and mutual care amongst refugees.

Open access

Rebecca M. Schreiber

Abstract

This article examines how Central American migrant and refugee youth imagine forms of sanctuary through collaborative artwork as part of a series of Arte Urgente (Urgent Art) workshops led by artist Caleb Duarte. This artwork involved a critical embodiment and reenvisioning of their past and present experiences in the form of performance. In addition, their creation of a symbolic Embassy of the Refugee was an imaginative way of asserting their right to protection. This article examines how members of affected communities have made artistic interventions into public spaces to focus attention on the nation-state as a site of crisis as well as envision autonomous, noninstitutional sanctuary spaces for each other, while also engaging in ongoing practices of solidarity with other displaced people.

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Photography as Archive

The Self and Other in Isolation: An Interview with Saiful Huq Omi, followed by The Human that Is Lacking: A response to Saiful Huq Omi's photograph

Yousif M. Qasmiyeh and Saiful Huq Omi

Abstract

In this interview, Yousif M. Qasmiyeh enters into conversation with Saiful Huq Omi, an award-winning photographer and filmmaker and founder of Counter Foto-A Centre for Visual Arts in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on issues spanning from photography in the era of COVID and what it means, in this situation of stasis and containment worldwide, to continue photographing; to the intimate as revealed by the photograph; photographing (across) different geographies and national borders; on Rohingya refugees as both the photographed and the unphotographed; the archive and the afterlives of photography; and, finally, how to envision an equitable future between the photographer and the photographed.

In the form of poetic fragments, “The Human that is Lacking” offers a response to Saiful Huq Omi's photograph reproduced in these pages, in an attempt to “co-see” the image with the photographer. The image and its response sit alongside Yousif M. Qasmiyeh's interview with the award-winning photographer and film-maker himself (also in this issue).

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The Pope's Public Reason

A Religious yet Public Case for Welcoming Refugees

Aurélia Bardon

Abstract

Since the beginning of Europe's “refugee crisis,” Pope Francis has repeatedly argued that we should welcome refugees. This, he said, is an obligation for Christians who have “a duty of justice, of civility, and of solidarity.” This religious justification is a problem for liberal political philosophers who are committed to the idea of public reason: state action, they argue, must be justified to all citizens based on public, generally accessible reasons. In this article, I argue that the claim that liberal public reason fully excludes religion from the public sphere is misguided; not all religious reasons are incompatible with the demands of Rawlsian public reason. Understanding how a religious reason can be public requires looking into both what makes a reason religious and what makes a reason public. I show that the pope's reason supporting the claim that we should welcome refugees is both religious and public.

Open access

Nell Gabiam

Abstract

This article focusses on Al-Nur, a community centre in Istanbul, Turkey, that caters to Syrian and Palestinian Syrian refugees. It is based on five months of fieldwork conducted in the winter and spring of 2017 in Turkey that included participant observation as a volunteer English teacher at Al-Nur. A focus on the philosophy that guides Al-Nur's functioning as a community centre as well as on the stories of displacement of some of its managers and volunteers sheds light on the importance of being able to (re)create home in exile. Such a focus also sheds light on how repeated displacement has shaped Palestinian Syrian refugees’ experiences of exile from Syria as well as their interactions with Syrian refugees.

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“A Refugee Pastor in a Refugee Church”

Refugee-Refugee Hosting in a Faith-Based Context

Karen Lauterbach

Abstract

This article discusses “refugee-refugee hosting” in a faith-based context. It looks particularly at Congolese churches in Kampala, Uganda, that play a crucial role for Congolese refugees seeking refuge and protection. The article analyzes hybrid forms of hosting in a faith-based context and discusses the implications of this for how guest and host categories are perceived. Four different patterns of refugee-refugee hosting are explored in which the relationship between host and guest as well as pastor and church member differ. The article argues that social status and hierarchies are important for how hosting is practiced. Moreover, religious ideas of gift giving, sacrifice, and reciprocity also influence hosting in this context.

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Reports

Publications and Films

Kathleen M. Gallagher, Ahmed Kanna, Natalie Nesvaderani, Rana Dajani, Dima Hamadmad, and Ghufran Abudayyeh

Melissa Fleming, A Hope More Powerful than the Sea: The Journey of Doaa Al Zamel (New York: Flatiron Books, 2017), 288 pp.

Omar Dewachi, Ungovernable Life: Mandatory Medicine and Statecraft in Iraq (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2017), xviii + 239 pp.

Rokhsareh Ghaemmaghami, Sonita (Zurich: Xenix Film, 2015), 90 min.

Ron Bourke, Terror and Hope: The Science of Resilience (Portland: Collective Eye Films, 2019), 36 min.

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Representing Sanctuary

On Flatness and Aki Kaurismäki's Le Havre

Vinh Nguyen

Abstract

This article takes sanctuary as a problematizing challenge to the state, coming into effect when political asylum fails or is denied. Sanctuary, it argues, offers a form of protection that does not take legality as its basis or reference point, and in fact often subverts such legality. Thinking with Aki Kaurismäki's Le Havre (2011), this article seeks to understand the kinds of “individual” protection that sanctuary makes possible, and what they illuminate about conceptions of refuge that do not require sovereign authorization, but instead find their foundations in interpersonal relationality, solidarity, and community formations. Through a “flat migrant aesthetics”—deadpan, anti-realism, and unarticulated motivation—Kaurismäki's film dislodges automated perceptions and clichéd narrative expectations to redirect attention to human solidarities and the building of sanctuary, on and off screen.

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Sacred Welcomes

How Religious Reasons, Structures, and Interactions Shape Refugee Advocacy and Settlement

Benjamin Boudou, Hans Leaman, and Maximilian Miguel Scholz

Abstract

This special section explores the role of religious ideas and religious associations in shaping the response of states and non-state actors to asylum-seekers and refugees. It brings together insights from anthropology, law, history, and political theory to enrich our understanding of how religious values and resources are mobilized to respond to refugees and to circumvent usual narratives of secularization. Examining these questions within multicultural African, European, and North American contexts, the special section argues that religion provides moral reasons and structural support to welcome and resettle refugees, and constitutes a framework of analysis to better understand the social, legal, and political dynamics of inclusion and exclusion in contexts of migration.

Open access

Sanctuary in Countries of Origin

A Transnational Perspective

Alexandra Délano Alonso

Abstract

While current interpretations of sanctuary are most often associated with practices to protect, support, and accompany migrants with precarious status in countries of destination in the Global North, debates around the concept and practice of sanctuary in countries of origin reveal different historical and contemporary understandings. This article explores questions related to sanctuary's symbolic and political power in the Mexican context, specifically examining three cases: the Mexico City government's declaration as a sanctuary city—specifically for returned migrants—in April of 2017, the work of migrant shelters along migration routes in Mexico, and the work of Otros Dreams en Acción to accompany deported and returned migrants and the establishment of Poch@ House as a sanctuary space in Mexico City.