The twenty-first-century refugee crisis is one of the worst refugee crises in modern history. Millions of people from Syria alone have been displaced, along with millions more from other countries in the Middle East and Africa.
On their journey to what they hope will be safety, refugees face a number of obstacles and threats, such as extortion, robbery, kidnapping, rape, and death by heat and dehydration (if traveling through the desert) or drowning (if traveling by sea). As if this weren’t enough, many European countries and the U.S. have a hostile attitude toward refugees and often treat them as little more than criminals instead of people fleeing for their lives. The whole situation is heartbreaking, unjust, and, frustrating since it could have been managed much better if countries had cooperated with each other to resettle refugees instead of placing the bulk of the load onto Germany and Sweden.
Recommended Books + Resources
Note: This post contains affiliate links. Complimentary copies of some of the books mentioned here were provided by the publishers.
The #1 book I recommend for understanding the twenty-first-century refugee crisis is The New Odyssey by Patrick Kingsley. It provides a panoramic and personal perspective on the crisis. The author witnessed the effects of the crisis firsthand during his tenure as migrant correspondent for The Guardian.
If you want to read the personal accounts of refugees, try A Hope More Powerful Than the Sea by Melissa Fleming and look for Dear World, the memoir of seven-year-old Syrian refugee Bana al-Abed, coming in this fall.Want to learn more about the refugee crisis? Check out these books + resources!Click To Tweet
If you want to explore the plight of refugees through fiction, try The Refugees by Viet Thanh Nguyen and Exit West by Mohsin Hamid. (Exit West contains elements of magical realism, so if you don’t like that sort of thing then skip it.) Also look for Don Brown’s graphic novel on the Syrian refugee crisis, The Unwanted, coming in fall 2018 from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
If you want to help your kids understand the refugee crisis and develop empathy toward refugees, check out this list of 14 children’s books about refugees. Also see, “How to Explain the Refugee Crisis to Kids.”
If you are a Christian trying to encourage other Christians to approach the refugee crisis with compassion instead of fear, check out Seeking Refuge by Stephan Bauman, Matthew Soerens, & Dr. Issam Smeir.
Looking for more books about refugees? Check out this list of 100 Must-Reads for World Refugee Day.
How You Can Make a Difference
There are a number of excellent charities you can donate to that benefit refugees. Here are just a few:
- American Refugee Committee – Provides emergency response to crisis areas and helps refugees get back on their feet by providing shelter, clean water, healthcare services, protection, and education.
- International Rescue Committee – Seeks to improve the health, safety, education, and economic wellbeing of people affected by humanitarian crises.
- Doctors Without Borders – Provides urgently-needed medical care to people all over the world.
- Preemptive Love – While this isn’t a charity specifically aimed at benefiting refugees, it works to mitigate violence and the effects of violence, which benefits anyone affected by conflict, including those who are unable to leave their war-torn countries because of financial or physical limitations. Preemptive Love provides emergency relief for victims of ISIS, education for at-risk children, peacemaking in conflict zones, and council to policy makers.
Contact your state representatives and advocate for more compassionate refugee policies. You can find your representatives here.
Host a refugee. If you have space in your home, consider temporarily housing a refugee while they get back on their feet. You can sign up to become a host here.
What are the best books/articles you’ve read on the refugee crisis? What are you doing to support refugees?