From THE DISPLACED, a collection of essays by refugee writers, edited by Viet Thanh Nguyen, published by Abrams Press, New York 2018:

The other exists in contradiction, or perhaps in paradox, being either invisible or hypervisible, bu t rarely just visible…When we do see the other, the other is not truly human to us, by very definition of being an other, but instead a stereotype, a joke, or a horror.

from the introduction by Viet Thanh Nguyen

…being a refugee is neither a noun or a verb, but a stutter in time-space, always repeating. You are simultaneously always a refugee even when you are no longer a refugee. Once marked you will always carry this existential ‘smell’ of displacement.

…these specters of self and previous nations that will not be dismissed so easily always attend our daily negotiations around identity.

from The Road by Chris Abani

From LIGHTS IN THE DISTANCE by Daniel Trilling, published by Picador, London 2018:

As a proportion of the world population, the number of international migrants has stayed relatively steady: roughly 3 per cent since 1960… Although the proportion of migrants has not grown significantly, the origin and direction of migration has changed, research suggests that people are leaving a much wider range of countries than ever before, and they are heading to a much narrower range of destinations than ever before.

Most of this migration takes place legally: an estimated nine out of ten migrants who enter Europe do so with permission. But wealthier countries are making increasingly severe efforts to keep out then uninvited, a significant number of whom are refugees fleeing war or persecution.

You have probably heard this described as Europe’s ‘refugee crisis’. It might better be described as a border crisis. In the twenty-first century, a border is not just a line on a map; it is a system for filtering people that stretches from the edges of a territory into it’s heart. Asylum seekers are subject to a particularly complex and often violet filtering.