From Electric Lit:
Today, the world is divided between those who can easily travel and those who cannot, separated by the simple luck of where they happened to be born. Yet many of the unlucky dare to try, setting out on epic journeys out of desperation or necessity, even when the odds are stacked against them.
My non-fiction book, My Fourth Time, We Drowned, is based on years of communication with refugees who were caught on the Mediterranean sea and locked up indefinitely in Libyan migrant detention centers for trying to reach Europe.
While writing it, I read widely—history, poetry, journalism and novels—in an attempt to learn more about how these stories have been told and understood throughout time. In reality, I was also grappling with a bigger question: why do we still have so little empathy and understanding, and why do we continue to inflict horrors on people who are simply trying to reach safety?
The Naked Don’t Fear the Water: An Underground Journey with Afghan Refugees by Matthieu Aikins
Matthieu Aikins goes “undercover” as an Afghan refugee named Habib to accompany his friend Omar, former translator for the US forces in Afghanistan, on his asylum seeking journey to Europe. This work of non-fiction takes place right as the so-called “European migrant crisis” is winding down due to increasingly restrictive policies aimed at stopping movement from the Middle East to Europe.
This book is a love story, between Omar and his landlord’s daughter Laila, as well as a mediation on what it means to be a journalist from the rich world, with a passport that opens borders, while colleagues are unable to access the same privileges. Aikins is always conscious that he does not have to be on this route, unlike those he is accompanying. The book includes descriptions of life in Kabul before the Taliban takeover, limbo in Moira camp on Lesbos, time spent with activists in Athens, and firsthand experience of various parts of the smuggling routes.
Link to the rest at Electric Lit