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WHAT IS A REFUGEE? by William Maley

  • Written by  Jules Stewart
  • Published in Books
WHAT IS A REFUGEE? by William Maley
10 Oct
2016
In 2015, more than one million refugees sought to cross into Europe, roughly 0.2 per cent of the EU’s total population. This seemingly trivial number of people touched off a convulsion in Europe.

Greece was brought to her knees, while ultra rightwing parties swept to prominence in France, Austria and the Netherlands. In Britain, the perceived threat of a refugee invasion became a catalyst behind the vote to exit the EU.

In his book, William Maley analyses this phenomenon, while debunking some of the popular assumptions about the refugee crisis, with a look into the causes behind the flight from one’s homeland. With regard to myth-busting, while Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan are the chief contributors to the current crisis, Maley points out that virtually none of the alleged sex attackers at the Cologne railway station on New Year’s Eve of 2015 were from these countries. The fact that they were of non-German origin was provocation enough for xenophobic agitators to take to the grandstand. This shows that ‘how we treat those we define as refugees may tell us little about them, but a great deal about ourselves’.

Maley raises the vexing question of why we consider people in a developed and stable country entitled to all the benefits of modernity, whereas others are expected to put up with murder, pillage and mayhem. 

This review was published in the October 2016 edition of Geographical magazine.

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