Tag Archives: refugees

NATO, Libya and when ‘support’ is nothing of the sort…

On 8 July, as part of their international conference in Warsaw, NATO leaders are set to agree a ‘support mission’ for Libya and the Mediterranean. Parts of what is proposed – including, in the words of NATO Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow ‘supporting Libya in building its defence institutions…’ – are not, on the face of it, either negative or especially controversial (though even this proposal is weighed down with a litany of previous fault … Continue reading

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The 10,000: the bitter result of our failure on refugees

It was sadly under-reported in UK media, but on 7 June 2016, the world reached an horrific milestone: 10,000 men, women and children have died in the Mediterranean sea since the start of the international refugee crisis. In short, we have succeeded in turning a shared holiday resort – used by Europeans, Africans and people from the Middle East alike – into a mass grave. The generally agreed date at which the international refugee crisis … Continue reading

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‘Africa’s Pinochet’, Ronald Reagan and death at sea: Chad and Libya, past and present

It is 19 June 1987. In the White House, the leader of the free world, Ronald Reagan, turns, smiling, toward his guest. Hissene Habre, dictator of Chad, dressed in traditional Tebu costume and leaning back in his chair, returns the leader of the free world’s grin. Reagan is not unusual: every politician has a photo – most more than one – which can be used to damn them. But on Monday (30 May 2016), almost … Continue reading

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Routine Atrocity: Death at sea, in Syria, Libya and beyond…

The song Nature Boy by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds begins with the protagonist watching the news and seeing: ‘…ordinary slaughter, I saw some routine atrocity’. The point is reasonably clear – that faced with continual exposure to the horrendous, even the worst things we could possibly imagine become somehow run-of-the mill, or commonplace. I only mention it because in a conversation with my partner yesterday I almost – though not quite – answered … Continue reading

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Reality check: Europe, Libya, refugees and the nature of truth…

The third section of this four-part blog, all of which was written on Saturday 23 January, deals with the United Nations’ proposal for a ‘Government of National Accord’ which is – as I point out – not a government, not ‘national’ in the sense of belonging to or being ‘Libyan’, and is not the focus of any ‘accord’ within Libya. Today (Monday 25th January), the Libyan House of Representatives (HoR) – one of Libya’s two … Continue reading

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The EU and Turkey’s ‘Action Plan’: a bad deal for the world’s most desperate

On 29th November, when the EU was just eleven months into its year of failure, it struck a deal with Turkey in an attempt to address part of the international refugee crisis. It is remarkable – and flawed.

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2015 and 2016: The international refugee crisis and the failure of Europe

It’s the morning of New Year’s Eve, and you’re in a car with three aid workers and a driver, heading from Izmir to buy blankets from a town three hours’ drive away. It’s freezing. Literally. There is snow in the air, and ice on the wind. In Izmir itself, a city not known for cold weather, people have stepped out of their apartment blocks, offices or cafes, stopped, stared and shrugged at the snow, buttoning … Continue reading

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Notes:

As the sun sets on the Jungle, it brings in its wake a sense of exhaustion.

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Notes 5: The Jungle, Calais. Hamid, war and fences.

                  Hamid, Afghanistan If I could say one thing to the UK government I would say instead of spending so much money on fences and police*, spend it on refugees instead.

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Notes 6: The Jungle, Calais. Feeding ‘the’ 500 (and why it is never enough)

In late afternoon, you walk again between the camp’s central point and its eastern edge. In the watery early winter sunlight, and surrounded by thousands of people whose seemingly hopeless situation – unable to return home and unable even to apply to enter the UK – threatens to overwhelm you, you have the sensation of being submerged; of simultaneously being hindered and borne up as if attempting to walk on a sea-bed.

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