Online event: 29th January The New Internationalists Activist Volunteers in the European Refugee Crisis

The New Internationalists Activist Volunteers in the European Refugee Crisis
(Pub.Goldsmiths Press/MIT Press and available from all major and independent suppliers). 
Written and edited by Sue Clayton.  Introduced by Lord Alf Dubs. 
Hosted by Bookmarks Bookshop.   
Friday 29 January at 6:30-8pm on YouTube
 Watch the live event here: https://youtu.befrI5Ucqx2hs
Or watch on Facebook where there is more information at https://fb.me/e/h3jvPv1Dt
Do share this invite to your contact lists.
Follow us on Twitter @SueClaytonFilm
This extraordinary and timely collection tells  the story of the Refugee Crisis in Europe through the eyes of the grassroots volunteers- almost half a million people in total. It not only shows their vital work – in aid, rescues, and contesting rights and challenging governments – but also how they uniquely witnessed the crisis in a way that governments and the media did not.
By Sue Clayton, Professor at Goldsmiths University of London and director of Hamedullah the Road Home and Calais Children, with contributions from 180 frontline activists across Europe, and journalistic and current-affairs commentary, the book has 400 pages and 110 images – and tells in an engaging way the full story of the crisis from Lesvos and Lampedusa to the Balkans, Calais, Dunkerque, Germany, UK. Ireland, Spain and Scandinavia. This is the only account by the volunteers who did so much, saved thousands of lives, and saw both the best of European solidarity, and the most shameful abuses against refugees by European states and military forces.
Sue will be speaking at the session, along with:
Lord Alf Dubs    Himself an ex child refugee, then a Labour MP, Alf Dubs fought the government repeatedly to accept more child refugees in the UK (and authored the “Dubs Amendment”).
Pru Waldorf  Long term volunteer on Samos and in Calais, Pru co-founded the Refugee Solidarity Summit, bringing together over 1000 grassroots volunteers and activists across Europe.
Sally Kinkaid  Campaigns for better teaching on refugee issues in the school curriculum. She supports welcoming projects in Yorkshire, and Stand Up to Racism aid to Calais- and fosters a refugee child.
Ewen Macleod   Until 2020 a Senior Adviser at UNHCR, worked in Afghanistan and Syria. He will talk about

the implications of the Mediterranean crisis for global refugee protection.
Sumita Shah   Worked in Athens to provide information, and support to refugees and volunteers via the Athens Volunteers Information and Co-ordination Group.
Nidzara Ahmetasevic Chronicles refugee issues across the Balkans. She worked for three years with the Are You Syrious? information team, co-ordinating 30 volunteers. Nidzara is currently part of the Transbalkan Solidarity Collective.
Mustapha Jarjou  A young refugee from Gambia, he lives in Palermo and supports recent arrivals who are suffering under the Covid pandemic.
Toufique Hossain Director of Public Law at Duncan Lewis solicitors, he took a team of lawyers pro bono to the Calais Jungle to support Sue’s campaign to have the unaccompanied minors recognised. He also contests UK detention and deportation policy.
Bookmarks The Socialist Bookshop
Official Bookseller to the TUC.

In The New Internationalists, Sue Clayton tells the story of the largest civic mobilization since the Second World War, when volunteers—many young and untrained—took on unimaginable responsibilities and saved thousands of lives. During the European refugee crisis of 2015–2020, they witnessed firsthand the catastrophic failure of established NGOs, and the indifference—and frequently, the open hostility—of the EU and national governments. Many faced state hostility themselves. Their accounts show how activist volunteers have shaped today’s European humanitarian agenda, and provide a powerful critique of the failures of current policy.

With The New Internationalists, Clayton offers a contemporary history and critical contextualization of this powerful new force. Mapping key flashpoint locations and curating unique firsthand testimonies, she explores how during the crisis, when almost two million people reached Europe by deadly sea-crossings, more than 100,000 citizens came together in new grassroots social formations to rescue, support, and welcome them. She provides a unique and multifaceted account, based on evidence and testimonies, and situates it within current debates on humanitarianism and contemporary social and solidarity movements.

“This comprehensive and moving account of Europe’s continuing migration challenge both reassures and disturbs: it is inspiring in its documentation of the humanitarian commitment, courage and endeavour of so many ordinary citizens – but troubling in its implications for the future of global solidarity and refugee protection in a rapidly changing world” – Ewen Macleod, Senior Adviser UNHCR

“This gargantuan collection of testimonies and flashpoints from the hotspots of Europe’s “refugee crisis” of 2015-2020 offers a unique, compelling and multifaceted portrait of one of the largest civic mobilisations in Europe’s recent history, and a critique of the failures of EU institutions and the humanitarian sector in confronting a humanitarian crisis in Europe.” – Prof. Nando Sigona, Chair of International Migration and Forced Displacement Research Unit and Founding Editor, Migration Studies Journal

“The testimonies from volunteers provide first-hand evidence of shocking incidences of violence and breaches in state protection, especially of unaccompanied minors, which should be of very great concern to all those seeking fairness and justice in the European asylum system. ” – Lord Alf Dubs, House of Lords

“This new volunteer movement  seek to accept and support the new arrivals – and to do that, they argue that we must all dismantle the pernicious borders in our own minds, the “us and them”, the ideological walls that separate us as much as do the concrete walls, checkpoints and fences that have come to haunt this new Europe.” – Sue Clayton, author.
“The word “volunteering” doesn’t quite encompass the nose- to- the- grindstone graft that went on.” – Jess Coulson, UK volunteer.
“The campsites were wet and muddy and miserable, with crying children and people swarming around small, smoky fires that were too weak to withstand the weather. Human faeces was floating in puddles, and angry, screaming people banded together to tear down the gates of the camps. Honestly, it felt like the most logical thing to do was to walk away from it all. But I didn’t. Neither did a small handful of people. We had no choice but to keep going in the face of
an overwhelming tragedy unfolding in front of our eyes..When I look back, I see that we didn’t wait for anyone’s permission. We just did what we could with the situation in front of us.”  – Meghan McIver, Lesvos volunteer
“It was truly the worst humanitarian situation I had ever found myself in. There were between 2,000 and 2,500 people arriving on Lesvos every day and no provision at all. It was overwhelming.” – Dillon Savala, medical volunteer
“I couldn’t even tell you how many young Sudanese, Ivorians, Ethiopian and Eritreans we have hosted at ours, instead of leaving them to sleep outside. So many clothes washed, meals, shared evenings through which they reclaim their dignity”.  – Claudine B, Brussels volunteer and host.
“My heart even today is racing when I remember. I swam on my back,  the baby on my chest. I did little compressions quickly on her chest, thinking that it might just do something…. I was momentarily pulled  under, gulping the sea, thinking I was going to die, but just getting closer to the cliffs at the bottom of Korakas. At last my head was out of the water, and I held the baby up and tilted her mouth towards mine. Five rescue breaths for infants, I remembered. I blew the first, nothing. On the second, sea water came out of her nose and mouth and then
she screamed. I still can’t believe it happened. The little sound of bubbles in her scream.  Hekla was wading towards me. She was angry with me for swimming so far out, but also she was crying, because she told me after, she thought I’d been pulled under and not made it back. ” – Brendan Woodhouse, Lesvos volunteer
“Did we face problems? Yes, at the beginning; Lampedusa is a small community, and we represent Italy a bit – we have those who are in favour of welcoming and those who are not. When Seidou came to live with us, there were people who said “What are they thinking, taking him in their own house, knowing nothing of his story!” Now they know him; he himself is part of the community.” – Lillo Maggiore, Lampedusa host
“The EU-Turkey deal left ten of thousands trapped in Europe undocumented, and therefore vulnerable to exploitation and abuse. Other camp residents doused themselves in petrol and set themselves alight in desperation.” – Pru Waldorf, volunteer on Samos
“I said, “Sami, what are you showing me?” But his face was so serious and traumatised that I looked again, and I understood that what he was showing me was a recording of a pushback by Croatian police officers beating men, human beings, and the screams of human beings being hurt. Sami had gone on this game and he had stopped close to the Croatian border, when he saw police officers come and he witnessed a pushback in action.” – Jack Sapoch, volunteer in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
“During my time as a volunteer, one of the greatest experiences was to see how people from different countries, backgrounds and cultures were able to communicate despite the language barrier, by sharing the same hope and the belief that together we can manage any situation.I think the key to supporting refugees is to help them back onto their own feet. Their experiences and knowledge is crucial to building a support system for them. The only difference between us is the passport you are holding.” – Mahmoud Ri, Ex-Syrian refugee now volunteering on Lesvos.
“Whatever the activist volunteers collectively can or cannot achieve to turn the tide of closed borders and xenophobia in the coming months and years; to re-set the compass towards fair and legal humanitarian values; to explore and embody new forms of action and solidarity – whatever we can or cannot achieve, at least we did not turn our faces away, but looked straight at the ugliness and pain, and continued to walk forward.” – Sue Clayton, author.
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You can see a trailer showing images from the book at www.eastwestpictures.co.uk