The New Odyssey by Patrick Kingsley

In THE NEW ODYSSEY:THE STORY OF THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY REFUGEE CRISIS, journalist Patrick Kingsley follows one Syrian refugee, Hashem Al-Souki, as well as a host of other asylum seekers entering Europe from north Africa, Greece, and Eastern Europe.  He highlights both the individual story and the international phenomenon facing us today.  Kingsley became the Guardian’s inaugural migration correspondent at a time when the crisis was just reaching its height.  He bears witness to the events – voicing smugglers’, politicians, and travelers’ perspectives – and offers his own insights, namely, to European leaders bent on keeping migrants out, that “by denying the existence of these real root causes [wars and dictators] you simultaneously absolve yourself from the duty of providing sanctuary to those feeling from them” (71).  “What values will there be to uphold if we abandon our duty to protect those less fortunate than ourselves?” (230).  “The choice is not between the current crisis and blissful isolation.  The choice is between the current crisis and an orderly, managed system of mass migration.  You can have one or the other.  There is no easy middle ground” (296).  Kingsley cites instances of the latter in Croatia, where citizens are willing to help refugees, having been refugees themselves in the not-so-distant past.  He rides with Hans, a wandering shepherd who voluntarily “shepherds” refugees in his car, just as good samaritans helped his Jewish parents during WWII.  It is hard not to get wrapped up in this story, but Kingsley is not a sentimentalist.  He is a reporter; distant, engaged but not invasive.  The end is cautiously hopeful.  Hashem gets his own say and the others Kingsley updates the status of others he meets.       

Author: marilivtollefson

I teach and play violin when not reading and reviewing books. Thanks to indie authors for opening my world and sharing theirs! Find my reviews on Goodreads, Amazon, Kobo, Midwest Book Review and BookPage, among others.

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