Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Introduction: The Boat People

"2016, the Mediterranean is a mass grave," Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). 

This calendar year has already been marked by serious refugee crisis all over the world. Large scale movement of people from different countries of Asia and the middle East, the knee-jerk reactions of most governments, the sympathy of some populations, the Pope's naming the displaced people "god's children", the linking of terrorism with migration in popular imagination, and the increasing awareness that one needs to view all migration as forced migration, 
Within this scenario, especially with respect to the Rohingyas and refugees from Syria, the boat, both as a metaphor for going from one country to another, and a a material facilitator of the same. From Aylan Kurdi's death by drowning, to the refusal to let the Rohingya boats dock, and the reported death of  400 Somali refugees trying to reach Europe by boat, this special issue of refugee watch online seeks to look at historical instances of large scale displacement via boat as well as the current crises. 

This issue also includes two field work based reports on urbanisation in Nepal and the Indian city, Guwahati, as well as a report on women uprooted by river erosion in Bengal. 

Samata Biswas (bsamata@gmail.com). 

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