Migrants and Citizens

Green Cards

Our Green Cards arrived today. Shiny plastic; biometric bureaucratic confirmation that we can stay in San Francisco indefinitely. Do they matter? I’ve been trained to be skeptical of official labels and categories: legal status does a poor job… Read More


On Refugee Camps

  Call them irregular migrants, not refugees. Call them reception centres, not camps. And it’s true that a problem out of sight is a problem out of mind.  But more money for camps – whether in Turkey and… Read More


“Real” Refugees

Some of you may have seen this piece for OUP. Refugee identity is often shrouded in suspicion, speculation and rumour. Of course everyone wants to protect “real” refugees, but it often seems – upon reading the papers –… Read More

Humanitarian Development?

(This was originally written for LSE’s new International Development blog… check it out here at http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/internationaldevelopment/) Where does conflict end and development begin? Who’s responsible for “early recovery” in the messy continuum between crisis and stability, the “relief-development gap”? … Read More

Citizen London (or what is forced migration?)

What isforced migration? That’s a time-honoured question every lecturer teaching. An Introduction to Refugee Studies asks.  And as the students who try and answer that first-week question quickly realise, the answer is deceptively complex. We can identify the… Read More

(In)humanitarianism begins at home?

The UK would claim to be on the side of the angels in Syria. Who could dispute David Cameron’s claim, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Barack Obama, that he condemns the ‘horrific violence against innocent civilians’ in Syria? Yes, we ‘stand with… Read More

Manufacturing Migration “Crises”

How many refugees make a crisis? 20 million? That was the number displaced in Europe after World War II. 170,000? That’s the number of Rwandans who crossed the Tanzanian border in one twenty-four hour period in 1994. 80,000?… Read More

Japan vs Libya

No one would deny that the terrible events in Japan are newsworthy. The images of the Tsunami’s destruction won’t be forgotten easily. Yet sitting with friends yesterday, we turned to Libya and how quickly – and conveniently –… Read More

“No people ever was and remained free, but because it was determined to be so…”

I have watched the movements in Arab states, like every other politically conscious citizen of the world with awe, anticipation – and, at moments, envy. What must it feel like to have stood in Tahrir Square on the… Read More

Another day, another drowning

An article in The Guardian catches my attention: `43 African migrants drown in heavy seas off Yemen coast’. Somalis and Ethiopians looking for a way out of persecution and poverty. So familiar an event it’s hardly a news… Read More