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In Times of Unrest: Book List & Infographic Resources

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In Times of Unrest: Book List & Infographic Resources

in times of unrest blog post

In light of the current state of world affairs, The BCCLS Diverse & Underserved Committee has compiled some resources and a book list in hopes that they can provide an actionable starting point for a greater understanding of the perspectives, narratives, and histories of those affected most right now. In this season of gratitude and giving, it’s vitally important to remember the roots of our empathy, to come together and hopefully build a better understanding of our shared humanity. 

View the Genocide infographic and resources here.

View the Refugee infographic and resources here.

 

During this period of historic unrest, the following curated book list delves into the profound narratives of various systematic campaigns of extermination, abuse, and displacement that have defined our global landscape. The proliferation of the digital age, transforming us into interconnected global citizens, has unveiled the intricate web of events leading to genocide and displacement, which are rooted in centuries of human suffering and the enduring legacy of imperialism.

As of May 2023, there were over 110 million forcibly displaced individuals worldwide, underscoring the need for a global understanding of the complex dynamics at play. The books curated here traverse the stories of immigrants, children of the diaspora, refugees, and asylum seekers, weaving together overarching themes of compassion, empathy, resilience, courage, hope, and love.

Through these powerful narratives, the collection confronts the divisive forces of censorship, propaganda, and misinformation that contribute to the pervasive “US vs. THEM” dichotomy and explores individuals’ choices within their society and the international arena that perpetuate genocides. Grounded in our shared communal human history, these books offer a sage exploration of our collective journey, shedding light on the politics of dispossession, harsh historical realities, and the rise of xenophobia- all while emphasizing the crucial need for education and empathy in fostering a more compassionate world.

 

Recommended Titles

 

Children

Homeland by Hannah Moushabeck; Reem Madooh (Illustrator)

A father and his daughters may not be able to return home . . . but they can celebrate stories of their homeland! As bedtime approaches, three young girls eagerly await the return of their father who tells them stories of a faraway homeland–Palestine. Through their father’s memories, the Old City of Jerusalem comes to life: the sounds of juice vendors beating rhythms with brass cups, the smell of argileh drifting through windows, and the sight of doves flapping their wings toward home. These daughters of the diaspora feel love for a place they have never been, a home they cannot visit. But, as their father’s story comes to an end, they know that through his memories, they will always return.   A Palestinian family celebrates the stories of their homeland in this moving autobiographical picture book debut by Hannah Moushabeck. With heartfelt illustrations by Reem Madooh, this story is a love letter to home, to family, and to the persisting hope of people that transcends borders.

 

Immigrant and Refugee Families by Julie Kentner

This compassionate book explores the dynamics of immigrant and refugee families. Young readers learn about the different kinds of immigrant and refugee families, the ways they form, the challenges they can face, and strategies for working through those challenges. This book also features a “Many “Identities special feature, several “Did You Know?” facts, a table of contents, a reading comprehension quiz, a glossary, additional resources, and an index. This Focus Readers series is at the Beacon level, aligned to reading levels of grades 2-3 and interest levels of grades 3-5.

 

Immigration, Refugees, and the Fight for a Better Life by Elliott Smith

Throughout history and into the modern day, people have moved from place to place to flee danger and seek out better lives. But immigrants and refugees often meet harsh realities on their journeys. Learn about immigration and refugee resettlement within the United States and throughout the world. Follow both historical and recent large migrations, understand the challenges of life in a new country, and see how activists fight for immigrants’ and refugees’ rights. Read Woke(tm) Books are created in partnership with Cicely Lewis, the Read Woke librarian. Inspired by a belief that knowledge is power, Read Woke Books seek to amplify the voices of people of the global majority (people who are of African, Arab, Asian, and Latin American descent and identify as not white), provide information about groups that have been disenfranchised, share perspectives of people who have been underrepresented or oppressed, challenge social norms and disrupt the status quo, and encourage readers to take action in their community.

 

Muzoon by Muzoon Almellehan; Wendy Pearlman

When her family had to flee Syria, 14-year-old Muzoon was told to pack only the most essential things-and so she packed her schoolbooks. This is the inspiring true story of a Syrian refugee who fought hard for what she needed-and grew into one of the world’s leading advocates for education. This eye-opening memoir tells the story of a young girl’s life in Syria, her family’s wrenching decision to leave their home, and the upheaval of life in a refugee camp. Though her life had utterly changed, one thing remained the same. She knew that education was the key to a better future-for herself, and so that she could help her country. She went from tent to tent in the camp, trying to convince other kids, especially girls, to come to school. And her passion and dedication soon had people calling her the “Malala of Syria.” Muzoon has grown into an internationally recognized advocate for refugees, for education, and for the rights of girls and women, and is now a UNICEF goodwill ambassador-the first refugee to play that role. Muzoon’s story is absolutely riveting and will inspire young readers to use their own voices and stand up for what they believe in.

 

Southeast Asian Refugee Resettlement in the U. S. by Virginia Loh-Hagan

The Racial Justice in America: AAPI Histories series explores moments and eras in America’s history that have been ignored or misrepresented in education due to racial bias. Developed in conjunction with educator, advocate, and author Virginia Loh-Hagan to reach children of all races and encourage them to approach our history with open eyes and minds. Southeast Asian Refugee Resettlement in the U.S. explores the events in a comprehensive, honest, and age-appropriate way. Books include 21st Century Skills and Content, activities created by Loh-Hagan, table of contents, glossary, index, author biography, sidebars, educational matter, and activities.

 

Unstoppable Us, Volume 1 by Yuval Noah Harari; Ricard Zaplana Ruiz (Illustrator)

Even though we’ll never outrun a hungry lion or outswim an angry shark, humans are pretty impressive–and we’re the most dominant species on the planet. So how exactly did we become “unstoppable”? The answer to that is one of the strangest tales you’ll ever hear. And it’s a true story! From learning to make fire and using the stars as guides to cooking meals in microwaves and landing on the moon, prepare to uncover the secrets and superpowers of how we evolved from our first appearances on Earth millions of years ago. Acclaimed author Yuval Noah Harari has expertly crafted an extraordinary story of how humans learned to not only survive but also thrive on Earth, complete with maps, a timeline, and full-color illustrations that bring his dynamic, unputdownable writing to life.

 

We Had to Be Brave: Escaping the Nazis on the Kindertransport (Scholastic Focus) by Deborah Hopkinson

Sibert Honor author Deborah Hopkinson illuminates the true stories of Jewish children who fled Nazi Germany, risking everything to escape to safety on the Kindertransport. Ruth David was growing up in a small village in Germany when Adolf Hitler rose to power in the 1930s. Under the Nazi Party, Jewish families like Ruth’s experienced rising anti-Semitic restrictions and attacks. Just going to school became dangerous. By November 1938, anti-Semitism erupted into Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass, and unleashed a wave of violence and forced arrests. Days later, desperate volunteers sprang into action to organize the Kindertransport, a rescue effort to bring Jewish children to England. Young people like Ruth David had to say good-bye to their families, unsure if they’d ever be reunited. Miles from home, the Kindertransport refugees entered unrecognizable lives, where food, clothes — and, for many of them, language and religion — were startlingly new. Meanwhile, the onset of war and the Holocaust visited unimaginable horrors on loved ones left behind. Somehow, these rescued children had to learn to look forward, to hope. Through the moving and often heart-wrenching personal accounts of Kindertransport survivors, critically acclaimed and award-winning author Deborah Hopkinson paints the timely and devastating story of how the rise of Hitler and the Nazis tore apart the lives of so many families and what they were forced to give up in order to save these children.

 

 

Young Adult

Alone by Paul Tom; Mélanie Baillairgé (Illustrator); Arielle Aaronson (Translator)

Each year, more than 400 minors arrive alone in Canada requesting refugee status. They arrive without their parents, accompanied by no adult at all. Alone relates the journey of three of them: Afshin, Alain and Patricia. Their story opens a window onto the many heartbreaks, difficult sacrifices and countless hardships that punctuate their obstacle-filled path. But Alone most especially tells of the courage and resilience that these young people demonstrated before being able to finally obtain a life where threats and danger are no longer a part of their everyday existence.

 

Asylum Seekers by Patricia Sutton

Individuals who are persecuted or endure gang and gender-based violence in their home countries face a difficult decision–stay or leave. Asylum seekers travel through dangerous conditions to the US-Mexico border in hopes of finding safety and refuge. This title examines how current events, political policies, and a global pandemic have made the asylum process more difficult. Personal stories of those on the journey help readers understand the people who seek asylum at the southern border.

 

The Crime of Genocide by Ray Spangenburg; Kit Moser

Genocide is the systematic killing of an entire group of people. Though this may seem impossible and unthinkable, such atrocities have claimed millions of lives in recent history. Ray Spangenburg and Kit Moser thoroughly examine the Holocaust and genocides that occurred in Armenia, Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia, and Kosovo. Spangenburg and Moser also explore what has been done to combat these crimes, as well as how genocide can be prevented.

 

How Dare the Sun Rise by Sandra Uwiringiyimana; Abigail Pesta

This profoundly moving memoir is the remarkable and inspiring true story of Sandra Uwiringiyimana, a girl from the Democratic Republic of the Congo who tells the tale of how she survived a massacre, immigrated to America, and overcame her trauma through art and activism. Sandra was just ten years old when she found herself with a gun pointed at her head. She had watched as rebels gunned down her mother and six-year-old sister in a refugee camp. Remarkably, the rebel didn’t pull the trigger, and Sandra escaped. Thus began a new life for her and her surviving family members. With no home and no money, they struggled to stay alive. Eventually, through a United Nations refugee program, they moved to America, only to face yet another ethnic disconnect. Sandra may have crossed an ocean, but there was now a much wider divide she had to overcome. And it started with middle school in New York. In this memoir, Sandra tells the story of her survival, of finding her place in a new country, of her hope for the future, and how she found a way to give voice to her people.

 

Ida in the Middle by Nora Lester Murad

Ida, a Palestinian-American girl, eats a magic olive that takes her to the life she might have had in her parents’ village near Jerusalem. An important coming of age story that explores identity, place, voice, and belonging. Every time violence erupts in the Middle East, Ida knows what’s coming next. Some of her classmates treat her like it’s all her fault–just for being Palestinian! In eighth grade, Ida is forced to move to a different school. But people still treat her like she’ll never fit in. Ida wishes she could disappear. One day, dreading a final class project, Ida hunts for food. She discovers a jar of olives that came from a beloved aunt in her family’s village near Jerusalem. Ida eats one and finds herself there–as if her parents had never left Palestine! Things are different in this other reality–harder in many ways, but also strangely familiar and comforting. Now she has to make some tough choices. Which Ida would she rather be? How can she find her place? Ida’s dilemma becomes more frightening as the day approaches when Israeli bulldozers are coming to demolish another home in her family’s village…

 

Sapiens: a Graphic History by Yuval Noah Harari

One hundred thousand years ago, at least six different species of humans inhabited Earth. Yet today there is only one–homo sapiens. What happened to the others? And what may happen to us? In this first volume of the full-color illustrated adaptation of his groundbreaking book, renowned historian Yuval Harari tells the story of humankind’s creation and evolution, exploring the ways in which biology and history have defined us and enhanced our understanding of what it means to be “human.” From examining the role evolving humans have played in the global ecosystem to charting the rise of empires, Sapiens challenges us to reconsider accepted beliefs, connect past developments with contemporary concerns, and view specific events within the context of larger ideas.

 

Sapiens: a Graphic History, Volume 2 by Yuval Noah Harari

This second volume of Sapiens: A Graphic History, the full-color graphic adaptation of Yuval Noah Harari’s #1 New York Times bestseller, focuses on the Agricultural Revolution–when humans fell into a trap we’ve yet to escape: working harder and harder with diminishing returns. What if humanity’s major woes–war, plague, famine and inequality–originated 12,000 years ago, when Homo sapiens converted from nomads to settlers, in pursuit of the fantasy of productivity and efficiency? What if by seeking to control plants and animals, humans ended up being controlled by kings, priests, and Kafkaesque bureaucracy? Volume 2 of Sapiens: A Graphic History-The Pillars of Civilization explores a crucial chapter in human development: the Agricultural Revolution. This is the story of how wheat took over the world; how an unlikely marriage between a god and a bureaucrat created the first empires; and how war, plague, famine, and inequality became an intractable feature of the human condition. But it’s not all doom and gloom with this book’s cast of entertaining characters and colorful humorous scenes.

 

Walls and Welcome Mats by Lars Krogstad Ortiz

Since the founding of the United States, immigrants have made important contributions to the history and culture of the country. Yet immigration has always been a topic that stirs up strong passions. Throughout history, immigrants have faced anger, fear, and violence. The United States houses more immigrants than any other country in the world. Over forty million people living in the United States were born in another country. They are doctors, technology experts, construction workers, and teachers as well as parents, friends, and neighbors. So why do immigrants continue to face prejudice and even violence at the hands of other Americans? Walls and Welcome Mats: Immigration and the American Dream examines the ways immigration has shaped America and how the backlash against it has shaped the conversation around migrants and refugees. Author Lars Ortiz explores the history of immigration in the United States from before the country was born to present-day debates surrounding the southern US-Mexico border wall. This in-depth account of American immigration reveals the faces behind the issue, the past and present challenges faced by immigrants, and the optimism that leads people to seek a better future in a new land.

 

Adult

America for Americans by Erika Lee

This definitive history of American xenophobia is “essential reading for anyone who wants to build a more inclusive society” (Ibram X. Kendi, New York Times-bestselling author of How to Be an Antiracist) The United States is known as a nation of immigrants. But it is also a nation of xenophobia. In America for Americans, Erika Lee shows that an irrational fear, hatred, and hostility toward immigrants has been a defining feature of our nation from the colonial era to the Trump era. Benjamin Franklin ridiculed Germans for their “strange and foreign ways.” Americans’ anxiety over Irish Catholics turned xenophobia into a national political movement. Chinese immigrants were excluded, Japanese incarcerated, and Mexicans deported. Today, Americans fear Muslims, Latinos, and the so-called browning of America. Forcing us to confront this history, Lee explains how xenophobia works, why it has endured, and how it threatens America. Now updated with an afterword reflecting on how the coronavirus pandemic turbocharged xenophobia, America for Americans is an urgent spur to action for any concerned citizen.

 

American Refuge by Diya Abdo

Forced to leave their homes, they came to America… In this intimate and eye-opening book, Diya Abdo–daughter of refugees, U.S. immigrant, English professor, and activist-shares the stories of seven refugees. Coming from around the world, they’re welcomed by Every Campus A Refuge (ECAR), an organization Diya founded to leverage existing resources at colleges to provide temporary shelter to refugee families. Bookended by Diya’s powerful essay “Radical Hospitality” and the inspiring coda “Names and Numbers,” each chapter weaves the individual stories into a powerful journey along a common theme- Life Before (“The Body Leaves its Soul Behind”) The Moment of Rupture (“Proof and Persecution”) The Journey (“Right Next Door”) Arrival/Resettlement (“Back to the Margins”) A Few Years Later (“From Camp to Campus”) The lives explored in American Refuge include the artist who, before he created the illustration on the cover of this book, narrowly escaped two assassination attempts in Iraq and now works at Tyson cutting chicken. We learn that these refugees from Burma, Burundi, Iraq, Palestine, Syria, and Uganda lived in homes they loved, left against their will, moved to countries without access or rights, and were among the 1% of the “lucky” few to resettle after a long wait, almost certain never to return to the homes they never wanted to leave. We learn that anybody, at any time, can become a refugee.

 

Asylum by Edafe Okporo

On the eve of Edafe Okporo’s twenty-sixth birthday, he was awoken by a violent mob outside his window in Abuja, Nigeria. The mob threatened his life after discovering the secret Edafe had been hiding for years–that he is a gay man. Left with no other choice, he purchased a one-way plane ticket to New York City and fled for his life. Though America had always been painted to him as a land of freedom and opportunity, it was anything but when he arrived just days before the tumultuous 2016 Presidential Election. Edafe would go on to spend the next six months at an immigration detention center in Elizabeth, New Jersey. After navigating the confusing, often draconian, US immigration and legal system, he was finally granted asylum. But he would soon realize that America is exceptionally good at keeping people locked up but is seriously lacking in integrating freed refugees into society. Asylum is Edafe’s “powerful, eye-opening” (Dr. Eric Cervini, New York Times bestselling author of The Deviant’s War) memoir and manifesto, which documents his experiences growing up gay in Nigeria, fleeing to America, navigating the immigration system, and making a life for himself as a Black, gay immigrant. Alongside his personal story is a blaring call to action–not only for immigration reform but for a just immigration system for refugees everywhere. This book imagines a future where immigrants and asylees are treated with fairness, transparency, and compassion. It aims to help us understand that home is not just where you feel safe and welcome but also how you can make it feel safe and welcome for others.

 

Asylum Speakers by Jaz O’Hara; David Olusoga (Foreword by); Gulwali Passarlay (Foreword by)

Based on the popular podcast, Asylum Speakers is a collection of 31 stories of migration, from those leaving everything they know behind them, to those working alongside them. Here are the voices that often go unheard: the humans behind the statistics and the headlines. From Syria to Venezuela, Eritrea to Afghanistan, Asylum Speakers will transcend borders, nationalities, religions and languages, connecting you to the people with whom we share this world. “These stories are raw, powerful, intimate, at times hard to read but always full of humanity. Reading this book gives me hope.” – Giles Duley, CEO of Legacy of War Foundation

 

Becoming Evil by James Waller

Political or social groups wanting to commit mass murder on the basis of racial, ethnic or religious differences are never hindered by a lack of willing executioners. In Becoming Evil, social psychologist James Waller uncovers the internal and external factors that can lead ordinary people tocommit extraordinary acts of evil.Waller debunks the common explanations for genocide- group think, psychopathology, unique cultures- and offers a more sophisticated and comprehensive psychological view of how anyone can potentially participate in heinous crimes against humanity. He outlines the evolutionary forces that shapehuman nature, the individual dispositions that are more likely to engage in acts of evil, and the context of cruelty in which these extraordinary acts can emerge. Illustrative eyewitness accounts are presented at the end of each chapter. An important new look at how evil develops, Becoming Evilwill help us understand such tragedies as the Holocaust and recent terrorist events. Waller argues that by becoming more aware of the things that lead to extraordinary evil, we will be less likely to be surprised by it and less likely to be unwitting accomplices through our passivity.

 

East West Street by Philippe Sands

East West Street looks at the personal and intellectual evolution of the two men who simultaneously originated the ideas of “genocide” and “crimes against humanity,” both of whom, not knowing the other, studied at the same university with the same professors, in a city little known today that was a major cultural center of Europe, “the little Paris of Ukraine,” a city variously called Lemberg, Lwów, Lvov, or Lviv. As the author uncovered, clue by clue, the deliberately obscured story of his grandfather’s mysterious life, and of his mother’s journey as a child surviving Nazi occupation, Sands searched further into the history of the city of Lemberg and realized that his own field of humanitarian law had been forged by two men–Rafael Lemkin and Hersch Lauterpacht–each of whom had studied law at Lviv University, each considered to be the father of the modern human rights movement, and each, at parallel times, forging diametrically opposite, revolutionary concepts of humanitarian law that had changed the world. In this extraordinary and resonant book, Sands looks at who these two very private men were, and at how and why, coming from similar Jewish backgrounds and the same city, studying at the same university, each developed the theory he did, showing how each man dedicated this period of his life to having his legal concept–“genocide” and “crimes against humanity”–as a centerpiece for the prosecution of Nazi war criminals. Sands brilliantly writes of how all three men came together, in October 1945 in Nuremberg–Rafael Lemkin; Hersch Lauterpacht; and in the dock at the Palace of Justice, with the twenty other defendants of the Nazi high command, prisoner number 7, Hans Frank, who had overseen the extermination of more than a million Jews of Galicia and Lemberg, among them, the families of the author’s grandfather as well as those of Lemkin and Lauterpacht.

 

Go Back to Where You Came From by Sasha Polakow-Suransky

What if politicians pose a graver threat to liberal democracy than mass migration? Brexit and Donald Trump’s victory were just the beginning — and Marine Le Pen’s defeat does not signal a turning of the tide. From the Introduction From Europe to the United States, opportunistic politicians have exploited the economic crisis, terrorist attacks, and an unprecedented influx of refugees to bring hateful and reactionary views from the margins of political discourse into the mainstream. They have won the votes of workers, women, gays, and Jews; turned openly xenophobic ideas into state policy; and pulled besieged centrist parties to the right. How did we get here? In this deeply reported account, Sasha Polakow-Suransky provides a front-row seat to the anger, desperation, and dissent that are driving some voters into the arms of the far right and stirring others to resist. He introduces readers to refugees in the Calais “Jungle” and the angry working-class neighbors who want them out; a World War II refugee-turned-rabbi who became a leading defender of Muslim immigrants; the children of Holocaust survivors who have become apologists for the new right; and alt-right activists and the intellectuals who enable them. Polakow-Suransky chronicles how the backlash against refugees and immigrants has reshaped our political landscape. Ultimately, he argues that the greatest threat comes not from outside, but from within — even established democracies are at risk of betraying their core values and falling apart.

 

“Born in poverty-stricken Albania, twin sisters Argita and Detina Zalli always dreamed of becoming doctors. Their parents scrimped and sacrificed, committed to giving them a better life. But then the unthinkable happened. In 1997, the government collapsed, plunging the country into anarchy and civil war. The twins’ dream unraveled along with their homeland. Their parents had to find a way to leave and save their daughters’ futures–not to mention their very lives. It took over two years for the Zalli family to escape. After several dangerous attempts, they finally made it to England, where the thirteen-year-old twins believed everything would be much better. They soon found out otherwise. Now refugees, with little more than the clothes on their backs, the girls were mercilessly bullied and constantly afraid they would be sent back to Albania and their parents would be sent to jail. Still, the twins persevered and learned how to navigate their harsh new reality. When tragedy struck yet again, threatening what they held most dear, the girls had to come to terms with the high price they had all paid to survive.

 

The untold story of climate migration in the United States–the personal stories of those experiencing displacement, the portraits of communities being torn apart by disaster, and the implications for all of us as we confront a changing future. Even as climate change dominates the headlines, many of us still think about it in the future tense–we imagine that as global warming gets worse over the coming decades, millions of people will scatter around the world fleeing famine and rising seas. What we often don’t realize is that the consequences of climate change are already visible, right here in the United States. In communities across the country, climate disasters are pushing thousands of people away from their homes. A human-centered narrative with national scope, The Great Displacement is “a vivid tour of the new human geography just coming into view” (David Wallace-Wells, New York Times bestselling author of The Uninhabitable Earth). From half-drowned Louisiana to fire-scorched California, from the dried-up cotton fields of Arizona to the soaked watersheds of inland North Carolina, people are moving. In the last few decades, the federal government has moved tens of thousands of families away from flood zones, and tens of thousands more have moved of their own accord in the aftermath of natural disasters. Insurance and mortgage markets are already shifting to reflect mounting climate risk, pricing people out of risky areas. Over the next fifty years, millions of Americans will be caught up in this churn of displacement, forced inland and northward in what will be the largest migration in our country’s history. The Great Displacement compassionately tells the stories of those who are already experiencing life on the move, while detailing just how radically climate change will transform our lives–erasing historic towns and villages, pushing people toward new areas, and reshaping the geography of the United States.

 

Genocide is not confined to the history books. Each year, governments and paramilitary groups engage in the destruction of national, ethnic, racial, or religious groups, not only by killing members of the groups, but also by limiting births, relocating children, and comitting other atrocities. Perpetrators and victims of genocide are discussed, along with efforts to eliminate the scourge.

 

A clear and concise A-to-Z of keywords that echo our current human rights crisis As millions are forced to leave their nations of origin as a result of political, economic, and environmental peril, rising racism and xenophobia have led to increasingly harsh policies. A mass-mediated political circus obscures both histories of migration and longstanding definitions of words for people on the move, fomenting widespread linguistic confusion. Under this circus tent, there is no regard for history, legal advocacy, or jurisprudence. Yet in a world where the differences between “undocumented migrant” and “asylum seeker” can mean life or death, words have weighty consequences. A timely antidote to this circus, A is for Asylum Seeker reframes key words that describe people on the move. Written to correct the de-meaning of terms by rhetoric and policies based on dehumanization and profitable incarceration, this glossary provides an intersectional and historically grounded consideration of the words deployed in enflamed debate. Skipping some letters of the alphabet while repeating others, thirty terms cover everything from Asylum-seeker to Zero Tolerance Policy. Each entry begins with a contemporary or historical story for illustration and then proceeds to discuss the language politics of the word. The book balances terms affected by current political debates–such as “migrant,” “refugee,” and “illegal alien”–and terms that offer historical context to these controversies, such as “fugitive,” “unhoused,” and “vagrant.” Rendered in both English and Spanish, this book offers a unique perspective on the journeys, histories, challenges, and aspirations of people on the move. Enhancing the book’s utility as an educational and organizing resource, the author provides a list of works for further reading as well as a directory of immigration-advocacy organizations throughout the United States.
***** Un claro y breve abecedario de palabras clave que hacen eco en nuestra crisis humanitaria presente. Mientras millones son forzados de huir de sus naciones de origen debido a peligro político, económico, y ecológico, racismo y xenofobia han llevado a políticas más y más severas. Un circo político en los medios oculta a ambas las historias de inmigración y las definiciones antiguas de palabras para personas en movimiento, creando confusión lingüística amplia. Bajo esta carpa de circo, no hay consideración para historia, defensa legal, o jurisprudencia. Pero en un mundo donde las diferencias entre “migrante indocumentade” y “solicitante de asilo” pueden ser la diferencia entre vida y muerte, palabras tienen consecuencias graves. Un antídoto oportuno a este circo, A de Asilo re-enmarca palabras claves que describen a personas en movimiento. Escrito para corregir la de-significación de términos por retórica y políticas basadas en deshumanización y encarcelación lucrosa, este glosario provee una consideración interseccional e histórica de las palabras usadas en debate inflamado. Brincando a unas letras del alfabeto mientras repite a otras, treinta términos cubren todo desde Asilo a Tolerancia Cero. Cada artículo empieza con una historia contemporánea u histórica para ilustrar, y después discute la política alrededor de la palabra. El libro balancea términos impactados por debates políticos contemporáneos–como “migrante,” “refugiado” y “extranjero ilegal”–y términos que ofrecen contexto histórico a estas controversias, como “fugitivo” “sin casa” y “vagante.” Escrito en inglés y español, este libro ofrece una perspectiva única en las jornadas, historias, retos, y aspiraciones de personas en movimiento. Aumentando la utilidad del libro como un recurso educacional y organizacional, la autora provee una lista de obras para más lectura, igual que un directorio de organizaciones de defensa de inmigrantes a través de los Estados Unidos.

 

A renowned expert on genocide argues that there is a real risk of violent atrocities happening in the United States If many people were shocked by Donald Trump’s 2016 election, many more were stunned when, months later, white supremacists took to the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia, chanting “Blood and Soil” and “Jews will not replace us!” Like Trump, the Charlottesville marchers were dismissed as aberrations–crazed extremists who did not represent the real US. It Can Happen Here demonstrates that, rather than being exceptional, such white power extremism and the violent atrocities linked to it are a part of American history. And, alarmingly, they remain a very real threat to the US today. Alexander Hinton explains how murky politics, structural racism, the promotion of American exceptionalism, and a belief that the US has have achieved a color-blind society have diverted attention from the deep roots of white supremacist violence in the US’s brutal past. Drawing on his years of research and teaching on mass violence, Hinton details the warning signs of impending genocide and atrocity crimes, the tools used by ideologues to fan the flames of hate, the origins of the far-right extremist ideas of white genocide and replacement, and the shocking ways in which “us” versus “them” violence is supported by racist institutions and policies. It Can Happen Here is an essential new assessment of the dangers of contemporary white power extremism in the United States. While revealing the threat of genocide and atrocity crimes that loom over the country, Hinton offers actions we can take to prevent it from happening, illuminating a hopeful path forward for a nation in crisis.

 

An Academy Award-nominated actor and a renowned human rights activist team up to change the tragic course of history in the Sudan — with readers’ help. While Don Cheadle was filming Hotel Rwanda, a new crisis had already erupted in Darfur, in nearby Sudan. In September 2004, then-Secretary of State Colin Powell termed the atrocities being committed there “genocide” — and yet two years later things have only gotten worse. 3.5 million Sudanese are going hungry, 2.5 million have been displaced by violence, and 400,000 have died in Darfur to date. Both shocked and energized by this ongoing tragedy, Cheadle teamed up with leading activist John Prendergast to focus the world’s attention. Not on Our Watch, their empowering book, offers six strategies readers themselves can implement: Raise Awareness, Raise Funds, Write a Letter, Call for Divestment, Start an Organization, and Lobby the Government. Each of these small actions can make a huge difference in the fate of a nation, and a people–not only in Darfur, but in other crisis zones such as Somalia, Congo, and northern Uganda.

 

Of Fear and Strangers reveals the forgotten histories of xenophobia–and what they mean for us today. By 2016, it was impossible to ignore an international resurgence of xenophobia. What had happened? Looking for clues, psychiatrist and historian George Makari started out in search of the idea’s origins. To his astonishment, he discovered an unfolding series of never-told stories. While a fear and hatred of strangers may be ancient, he found that the notion of a dangerous bias called “xenophobia” arose not so long ago. Coined by late-nineteenth-century doctors and political commentators and popularized by an eccentric stenographer, xenophobia emerged alongside Western nationalism, colonialism, mass migration, and genocide. Makari chronicles the concept’s rise, from its popularization and perverse misuse to its spread as an ethical principle in the wake of a series of calamites that culminated in the Holocaust, and its sudden reappearance in the twenty-first century. He investigates xenophobia’s evolution through the writings of figures such as Joseph Conrad, Albert Camus, and Richard Wright, and innovators like Walter Lippmann, Sigmund Freud, Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, and Frantz Fanon. Weaving together history, philosophy, and psychology, Makari offers insights into varied, related ideas such as the conditioned response, the stereotype, projection, the Authoritarian Personality, the Other, and institutional bias. Masterful, original, and elegantly written, Of Fear and Strangers offers us a unifying paradigm by which we might more clearly comprehend how irrational anxiety and contests over identity sweep up groups and lead to the dark headlines of division so prevalent today.

 

The remarkable story of ninety-nine-year-old Stella Levi whose conversations with the author over the course of six years bring to life the vibrant world of Jewish Rhodes, the deportation to Auschwitz that extinguished ninety percent of her community, and the resilience and wisdom of the woman who lived to tell the tale. With nearly a century of life behind her, Stella Levi had never before spoken in detail about her past. Then she met Michael Frank. He came to her Greenwich Village apartment one Saturday afternoon to ask her a question about the Juderia, the neighborhood on the Greek island of Rhodes where she’d grown up in a Jewish community that had thrived there for half a millennium. Neither of them could know this was the first of one hundred Saturdays over the course of six years that they would spend in each other’s company. During these meetings Stella traveled back in time to conjure what it felt like to come of age on this luminous, legendary island in the eastern Aegean, which the Italians conquered in 1912, began governing as an official colonial possession in 1923, and continued to administer even after the Germans seized control in September 1943. The following July, the Germans rounded up all 1,700-plus residents of the Juderia and sent them first by boat and then by train to Auschwitz on what was the longest journey–measured by both time and distance–of any of the deportations. Ninety percent of them were murdered upon arrival. Probing and courageous, candid and sly, Stella is a magical modern-day Scheherazade whose stories reveal what it was like to grow up in an extraordinary place in an extraordinary time–and to construct a life after that place has vanished. One Hundred Saturdays is a portrait of one of the last survivors drawn at nearly the last possible moment, as well as an account of a tender and transformative friendship between storyteller and listener, offering a powerful “reminder that the ability to listen thoughtfully is a rare and significant gift” (The Wall Street Journal).

 

Out of Place is an extraordinary story of exile, a narrative of many departures, a celebration of an irrecoverable past. A fatal medical diagnosis in 1991 convinced Edward Said that he should leave a record of where he was born and spent his childhood, and so with this memoir he rediscovers the Arab landscape of his early years–“the many places and people [who] no longer exist . . . Essentially a lost world.” Vast changes occurred as Palestine became Israel, Lebanon was transformed by twenty years of civil war, and the colonial Egypt of King Farouk disappeared forever by 1952.  Born in Jerusalem in 1935, Said was the only son in a prosperous family of five children. His ferociously demanding father upheld many Victorian values and ideals, and his adoring mother inspired his love of music, theater, and literature. His aunt Nabiha gave him his first sense of what it meant to leave Palestine, something never discussed by the family. Said writes with great passion and wit about his family and his friends–from schools in Cairo and summers in the mountains above Beirut to, as he grew older, camp in Maine, boarding school in Massachusetts, and college at Princeton University. Underscoring all is the confusion of identity as Said had to come to terms with the dissonance of being an American citizen, a Christian and a Palestinian, and, ultimately, an outsider.  Out of Place reveals an unimaginable world of rich, colorful characters, of exotic eastern landscapes. Lyrical and beautifully crafted, it is often extremely frank as well as intimate and humorous. Said has exposed a most personal past, letting us observe the people who formed him and who enabled him to triumph as one of the most important intellectuals of our time.

 

Ever since the appearance of his groundbreaking The Question of Palestine, Edward Said has been America’s most outspoken advocate for Palestinian self-determination. As these collected essays amply prove, he is also our most intelligent and bracingly heretical writer on affairs involving not only Palestinians but also the Arab and Muslim worlds and their tortuous relations with the West.  In The Politics of Dispossession Said traces his people’s struggle for statehood through twenty-five years of exile, from the PLO’s bloody 1970 exile from Jordan through the debacle of the Gulf War and the ambiguous 1994 peace accord with Israel. As frank as he is about his personal involvement in that struggle, Said is equally unsparing in his demolition of Arab icons and American shibboleths. Stylish, impassioned, and informed by a magisterial knowledge of history and literature, The Politics of Dispossession is a masterly synthesis of scholarship and polemic that has the power to redefine the debate over the Middle East.

 

Genocide is not only a problem of mass death, but also of how, as a relatively new idea and law, it organizes and distorts thinking about civilian destruction. Taking the normative perspective of civilian immunity from military attack, A. Dirk Moses argues that the implicit hierarchy of international criminal law, atop which sits genocide as the ‘crime of crimes’, blinds us to other types of humanly caused civilian death, like bombing cities, and the ‘collateral damage’ of missile and drone strikes. Talk of genocide, then, can function ideologically to detract from systematic violence against civilians perpetrated by governments of all types. The Problems of Genocide contends that this violence is the consequence of ‘permanent security’ imperatives: the striving of states, and armed groups seeking to found states, to make themselves invulnerable to threats.

 

One hundred thousand years ago, at least six different species of humans inhabited Earth. Yet today there is only one–homo sapiens. What happened to the others? And what may happen to us? Most books about the history of humanity pursue either a historical or a biological approach, but Dr. Yuval Noah Harari breaks the mold with this highly original book that begins about 70,000 years ago with the appearance of modern cognition. From examining the role evolving humans have played in the global ecosystem to charting the rise of empires, Sapiens integrates history and science to reconsider accepted narratives, connect past developments with contemporary concerns, and examine specific events within the context of larger ideas. Dr. Harari also compels us to look ahead, because over the last few decades humans have begun to bend laws of natural selection that have governed life for the past four billion years. We are acquiring the ability to design not only the world around us, but also ourselves. Where is this leading us, and what do we want to become?

 

– Gail Lordi
Youth Services Library Assistant
BCCLS Diverse & Underserved Committee

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