Yemen: ‘I thought that I would not be affected’

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This is the story of 30 year old Abdulsalam Al-Kibdi, a Yemeni man who spent 13 years as a working migrant in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, living with his wife and three children, the youngest of whom is only a few months old.

“On 22 November 2017 police officers stopped by my work and asked me to get into their truck. I knew that the Saudi government had put new restrictions on Yemeni migrants and workers but I thought that I would not be affected.

‘Talking about the displaced as people changes perceptions’

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Socialist Review spoke to Hsiao-Hung Pai about her new book, Bordered Lives, which exposes the failings of the refugee system in Europe.

Why do you begin Bordered Lives by questioning the term “refugee crisis”?

I think the media language that we have accepted (and often adopted as our own) has in many ways shaped the way we understand issues relating to refugees. “Refugee crisis” has been the media term by which we’re made to think about displaced people in the world. My biggest problem with the term is that it suggests “us” and “them”, refugees being the “problem” for “us” to find solutions to. That seems to be the way many in this country look at migration and movement of people.

Refugees need our support this winter

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The refugee crisis has not gone away and the need for solidarity and aid is as great as ever. The destruction of the the “Jungle” last autumn, however, has meant that the issue has drifted down the news agenda. Now as winter approaches thousands of refugees face the prospect of sleeping in the woods around Calais and Dunkirk, under the motorways of Paris and in the parks of Brussels.

We visited these sites with Care4Calais in August and September. This is what we found:

Threads from the Refugee Crisis

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After years of war in parts of Africa and the Middle East — with its ensuing famine and economic collapse — a mass of people are on the move in search of safety and sanctuary. The EU policy of Fortress Europe is designed to keep them out. The result is a human catastrophe, as we witness years of harrowing images of migrants forced to make the desperate sea crossing to try and reach a place of safety.

Editorial: Confronting racism

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As we go to press, thousands of refugees are being herded out of the Calais “Jungle” camp and transported to other parts of France.

Amid harrowing scenes, we have seen people rightly resisting this forced relocation, riot police teargassing refugees, and unaccompanied children being left to wander alone — only to find that, if they weren’t yet “registered”, they were to be arrested.

The campaign by Lord Dubs to let in the unaccompanied refugee children is more crucial than ever.

Strangers at our Door

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Strangers at Our Door puts forward an alternative narrative, one that is humanitarian, about refugees and migrants. It succeeds in combating the racist propaganda churned out by the media and our politicians.

Bauman correctly lambasts them for causing public anxiety by portraying migrants as overwhelming Europe and portending the demise of the European way of life.

Tories cook up a crisis

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The EU referendum is deepening the cracks in the Tory Party. Joseph Choonara looks at how the refugee question and EU austerity are converging into a crisis for our ruling class.

As the campaign over Britain’s EU referendum, set for 23 June, gets under way, the arguments by those advocating a “remain” position are rapidly coming unstuck. There are three arguments often encountered on the left: that the EU secures free movement, that the EU protects workers and that an exit would lead to British politics shifting rightwards. All three are based on an unwarranted pessimism.

A spirit that can never be killed

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In January activists from anti-racist group We Are Wakefield travelled to Dunkirk on the north coast of France to take solidarity to the refugee camp. Raya Ziyaei tells the story of their journey.

We chose Dunkirk, 30 miles east of Calais, because it had been hit by the recent floods, and the camp had doubled in size in the previous few weeks. Calais has an organised volunteer structure which means it is easier for the refugees at “The Jungle” to get what they need. Dunkirk doesn’t have this, with only a handful of volunteers coping with a huge amount of work.

Germany after Cologne

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The refugee crisis continues, and so does our rulers' racist offensive. Christine Buchholz explains the situation in Germany since the Cologne attacks.

The sexual assaults that took place in Cologne at New Year were terrible. They sent a shockwave across society. We still don’t have definite details of the backgrounds of the perpetrators, but it is clear that many of the men who were arrested or identified had Moroccan, Algerian or other backgrounds — although some of them have lived in Germany for many years.


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