The Plight of Refugees

Tricia Redeker Hepner, an Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Tennessee writes at CounterPunch about the plight of refugees:

The world’s attention is understandably fixed on the post-tsunami nuclear disaster unfolding in Japan and the equally seismic political transformations shaking North Africa and the Middle East. Much speculation swirls around the impact of these events regionally and globally. Will fallout reach the shores of Europe and North America? Will more dictatorships be swept aside by swells of democratization? What role should the international community and the United Nations play?

In at least one country, the answer to the first question is clear, if not the second. And the third is another story altogether

The Northeast African nation of Eritrea marks its 20th year of independence next month. But the festivities will be marred by mourning…

As an anthropologist who has lived in Eritrea and worked with Eritrean communities in Europe, Africa, and the U.S. for years, I dearly want to defend this country. But the best I can do is to help defend its displaced, abused, and often forgotten citizens… I struggle to place the people of this small African country on the global crisis radar. It’s a tall order in these days of perpetual disasters and mind-numbing statistics…But human experience is what anthropologists are always after – how to put life and breath and flesh onto the cold bones of statistics; how to illustrate the concrete meanings of political violence and migration policies and practices as people live them.

Go to CounterPunch for the rest of the article by Tricia Redeker Hepner, an Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Tennessee

Refugees and the Failure of Forced Migration Policy
Human Tsunamis
By TRICIA REDEKER HEPNER

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