Refugees & political asylum
The Journey of Refugees in New Literatures in English
In the postcommunist world of organized mobility, commodified hospitality and portable devices, the category of people labelled as migrants, the displaced and refugees symbolize a different kind of movement. Among them, the postnational figure of the refugee stands out. Fleeing their land alone or in a group, on foot or on buses and trains, or via makeshift boats and commercial flights, dressed in unfamiliar clothes and borrowed identities, the refugees travel “to dare a future from the taken roads.” Their journey of escape is fraught with danger and despair, their survival complicated by the politics of suspicion, and their right to return compromised by the power game between sovereign states. Waiting for ever in transit zones or living underground like animals but exploited for their labour, the refugees are the “untouchables” of the 21st century who put to test the universal and moral duty of hospitality. When the international legal regime of human and humanitarian rights does not come to their rescue, refugee women and children feel twice abandoned.This volume of collected essays tries to explore the journey of refugees as represented in New Literatures in English. Who are these refugees? What circumstances triggered their movement? At what point in history? Where do they go? How do they cope? What are their dreams? When does the refugees’ silence break into speech and story? How does life assert itself in spite of impending death? Could the death of a refugee be as insignificant as her bare life of exile? Scholars from Europe, Africa, India and Sri Lanka give here a comprehensive picture of the refugee movement across the globe since the Second World War. The refugee narratives highlight the need to extend the logic of protection from persecution to asylum from economic crisis and ecological imbalance, in order to offset the after effects of imperial outreach and industrial expansion.With a short story by Chika Unigwe by way of a foreword and contributions from Petra Tournay-Theodotou, Helga Ramsey-Kurz, Marta Cariello, Stavros Karayanni, Jean-Marie Soungoua, Federico Fabris, Evelyne Hanquart-Turner, Annie Cottier, Geetha Ganapathy-Doré, G. Sujatha and V. Vinod Kumar.