With the recent arrival in Europe of over a million refugees and asylum-seekers, a sense of panic began to spread across the continent and beyond. William Maley’s illuminating introduction offers a guide to the complex idea of ‘the refugee’ and sets the current crisis within the wider history of human exile, injecting much-needed objectivity and nuance into the debate.
Arguing that Western states are now reaping the consequences of policies aimed at blocking safe and ‘legal’ access to asylum, What is a Refugee? shows why many proposed solutions to the refugee ‘problem’ will exacerbate tension and risk fuelling the growth of extremism among people who have been denied all hope.
This lucid book also tells of the families and individuals who have sought refuge, highlighting the suffering, separation and dislocation on their perilous journeys to safety. Through such stories we can begin to answer the question, what is a refugee?