On World Refugee Day, we value the strength, courage and perseverance of millions of refugees that are forced to flee their homes. Now is the time to show our solidarity. Today we share five inspiring stories to read (and watch) related to borders, refugees and migration that Political Critique has published this year.
1. Talk Real: The cities want refugees in!
A number of cities and municipalities all over Europe have already declared their readiness to welcome refugees, including cities in Central Europe, be it for demographic or other reasons. This could mark a turning point and the deepening decentralisation of the EU, avoiding a tendency towards centralisation, as well as renationalisation. Gesine Schwan, German politician and professor, has a very concrete proposal to make it happen.
2. Shelter Cities: a growing desire among citizenship
We spoke with Marc Serra from the City Council of Barcelona about ‘Shelter Cities’, a program initiated by the city to manage directly the arrival of asylum seekers at a local level.
3. Art Real: art and culture against crisis and hate speech
Talk Real launched in 2017 ‘Talk Real – Art Real’, a series of three episodes on artistic projects and social practices from grassroots movements that aim to counteract the dominant discourses of crisis and threat in the so-called “refugee crisis”. The project traveled to Madrid, Stockholm and Athens. Three cities that in different ways have been involved in conversations about the arrival of migrants to European borders. Athens is the capital of a country where more than 60,000 asylum seekers are stuck due to closed borders and the EU-Turkey accord on refugees. In Madrid, the local institutions are working to give responses to the block of the national government to accept refugees in the country; and in Stockholm, refugees and local citizens hold a sit-down strike for over a month, protesting deportations to Afghanistan.
4. Despite what you’ve read, there is still solidarity in Italy
An interview with volunteers at the Baobab experience, a civil society organisation based in Rome that works helping and assisting refugees where the nation state is failing.
5. City Plaza: the best hotel in the world
For over two years activists occupied a decaying hotel in Athens, accommodating hundreds of migrants. In the fourth part of ‘Stories from the Babel Archipelago’ Michal Pavlásek looks at this alternative model of integration in the capital city of Greece.