“In front of the office of the NGO stood a traditional ‘hanok’ house which caved in just a few days before I took this picture.”
By Maaike van Nus
“My initial expectation before meeting them was that they would be more, ehm, that they wouldn’t be as assimilated as they are, I mean it’s a good thing that they are, but it seems they all have cell phones, and they all have grown fairly accustomed to the life here”
This was told to me in an interview with one of my informants about the North Korean refugees he’d just met. For my master in Social and Cultural Anthropology at the VU I conducted three months of fieldwork in Seoul, South Korea. I worked with an NGO that provides North Korean refugees with free English lessons by matching them with volunteers who speak fluent English. My research revolves around these volunteers. North Korea has always been a great interest and concern of mine, as well as the resettlement of North Korean refugees once they have escaped their homeland through China, and thus I decided to focus my research on volunteers who help them in this resettlement process.
In the shelter, a girl on her way to work in the fields
By Aniek Santema The floor in Ouzai where Mariam lives becomes a familiar place. I know the people in this corner of the tall building and they greet me happily when I visit them. Today, the stairs that lead up to this floor are slippery and covered with garbage like empty bags of chips, chocolate wraps and orange peels. While climbing up the stairs to the third floor, I pass by some small kids with stains on their clothes, faces and hands, running and playing on the stairs. The youngest must be around 2 years old. Many of the kids walk around on bare feet, even though it is not warmer than 12 degrees today. 3 boys come down the stairs while playing loud music on one of their phones. On Mariam’s floor, I find Aziza playing with some small kids in the gallery, away from the dark rooms, getting some daylight. The colourful laundry that hangs outside to dry gives some colour to the grey building that breaths hopelessness. I follow the small, dark corridor in the left corner of the floor and knock on Mariam’s door. – Fieldnotes, 6 March 2017
By Matea Curcovic Westendorp Dr. Cindy Horst is an anthropologist located in Oslo, Norway where she works as a senior researcher at the research institute PRIO. Her main focus for the past 20 years has been on refugees – from spending two years in a refugee camp in Kenya researching Somali refugees, to more recently collecting life stories from refugees residing in Oslo. Continue reading →
By Marie Linne Dalal contacted me during my fieldwork among refugees who aspire to study in the Netherlands. She agreed to meet with me for an interview, to talk about her experiences as a refugee and as a student in the VASVU programme at VU University Amsterdam. It is a 9 month long programme, that tries to function as a bridging programme for international students before they enter a Dutch Bachelors programme. About 80 percent of the students are refugees, and the course provides them with the basics in different subjects. It is mostly set up with the aim to bring everyone to the same level, enabling them to enter a Dutch university programme afterwards easier. At the same time it is already a sort of integrational course, to get students used to the language, pace and the way of studying in the Netherlands. Continue reading →
Like most scholars who research the current re-fugee crisis and borders in Europe, we were surprised by the initial agreements between EU and Turkey with respect to refugee flows. For many reasons. Continue reading →
By Nynke van Dijck Some weeks ago there was a big storm in the Netherlands. ‘Code Orange’ was issued to tell people to be careful while going on the road or making use of public transport. In the south of the Netherlands, in a city called Nijmegen, a new refugee camp was built which was supposed to host around 800 people from countries like Syria, Afghanistan and Eritrea. When the weather got worse, the tents in the camp were shaking, water was leaking through the roof and a loud alarm was going off the whole night. No one in the camp could sleep and the shelter administration (COA) was not reachable. Continue reading →
Door Peter Versteeg Het nieuwe jaar was nog tamelijk vers toen verontrustend nieuws bekend werd. Met oudejaarsnacht zouden vele tientallen vrouwen op het Keulse stationsplein zijn beroofd en aangerand. Het aantal aangiften van aanranding is boven de 500 gestegen, waaronder twee maal verkrachting. Verschillende keren stond ik op het punt om hier iets over te schrijven, maar ik werd steeds weerhouden door de gevoeligheid rond het onderwerp. Continue reading →
By Dimitris DalakoglouThe European Union, one of the strongest economies in the world and home to some of the most advanced state apparatuses in human history, is preparing to shut down its borders, one after the other, because it can’t cope with the number of refugees arriving from war in the Middle East. These same institutions were of course able to find the resources to finance an expensive military operation on the European sea borders against the same refugees. Continue reading →
By Pál Nyíri My son and I have come to see the Hungarian State Folk Ensemble’s show An Evocation of Subcarpathia. According to the introduction to the venerable troupe’s new show, it wants to showcase the multicultural musical and dance heritage of the Western Ukrainian region that formerly belonged to Czechoslovakia and, before then, Hungary, and had a mixed population that included Ruthenians, Slovaks, Hungarians, Romanians, Jews, Gypsies, and Hutsuls. That heritage – juxtaposed rather than hierarchically arranged, the text emphasises – is displayed in the folk dresses of the performers and the languages they sing in (including, counterfactually, Hebrew). But the photos projected on the wall mix nostalgia for a bygone time of diversity with nostalgia for Greater Hungary that is the bread and butter of contemporary Hungarian nationalism.
By Saskia Jenelle This story relates to my fieldwork, which takes place in Amsterdam and concerns undocumented refugees. My research focuses on how refugees and the volunteers who work with them experience encounters with ‘others’, and how these encounters influences their perception of human dignity. I would like to share a recent experience with you.
On May 29th 2015 the refugees from ‘We Are Here’ who resided in the ‘Vluchtgebouw’ (literally ‘Escape building’) had to leave the building that had served as their home for nine months. They were offered shelter in a barrack in Amsterdam-North and decided to walk the distance, making it serve as a form of protest to raise awareness for their need for adequate accommodations and fair legal proceedings based on international human rights.
To show support I joined the walk, together with friends and volunteers of the refugees who are active and loving supporters, and refugees from other ‘Vlucht-havens’.