“I was nowhere”

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 …

Lees meer

Keulen: een urban legend?

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.

Lees meer

Potential famine among Syrian refugees has far-reaching implications for the Middle East

Erik van Ommering   Last week around 1.7 million refugees from Syria received the following text message on their cellphones: “We deeply regret that WFP has not yet received funds to reload your blue card for food for December 2014. We will inform you by SMS as soon as funding is received and we can resume food assistance” The message was sent by the World Food Program (WFP), one of the UN agencies that has played a vital role in supporting refugees from Syria in Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan and Egypt. Hosting refugees “in the region” has been a key policy pursued by …

Lees meer

Who will halt the bloodshed in Syria?

By Erik van Ommering More than eighty people were killed in two bomb attacks on Aleppo’s university the day before yesterday. It was the first day of exams, yet countless non-students were identified among the victims—people who had sought refuge on campus, fleeing the brutal war between regime forces and armed opposition groups across Syria. Until now, Syria’s civil war has killed more than sixty thousand people, with vast material damage being inflicted and an estimated three million people being forced to flee their homes. Hostilities are likely to turn even more gruesome in the months ahead. Or is there …

Lees meer