“Everything is possible,” said Fatima during our interview in southern Germany. Her three words describe the refugee experience all too well, better than any international treaty or scholarly treatise. Listening to the displaced tell their stories, one hears everything possible, much of it horrible and unimaginable. Less dramatic is the grinding, deep sense of loss, of family separation characteristic of the refugee diasporas who are spread over the globe. Their stories speak also to the possibilities of survival and resiliency.
But which story gets told? On one hand the undeniable tragedy, inhumanity, horrific violation of person, mass graves, and flight. That is an indispensable part of the narrative, but it is not the only narrative. There is also the overcoming of terrible odds, the exercise of human choice, deliberate actions. There are these and countless other triumphs, big and small. This blog is committed to telling both sides, holding the dialectic of seemingly contradictory narratives together.
This blog is authored by Ken Crane (Global Studies, La Sierra University), Sassan Khider (poet and artist, Nuremberg Germany), Diane Castellon (student of Political Science, La Sierra University), Brandon Agcaoili, (La Sierra University, Political Science).
Refugees move quickly in and out of the public eye. At some point Iraqis who had fled the post-2003 chaos became invisible, eclipsed by the humanitarian crisis of the Syrian civil war. However, there are still three million Iraqis displaced throughout the Middle East, unable to return to ISIS controlled regions or ethnically cleansed neighborhoods in Iraq. They join the ranks of those seen in the recent journalistic accounts of refugees determinedly moving through the Balkans toward Western Europe. Our first feature will seek to make Iraqi lives visible once again, for they testify to both human agency as well as to the common problems faced by all displaced people.