Click HERE to listen to the RADIO F interview with Camila von Hein, Lena Nahrwold and Katharina Epstude, three of the authors of the book “Living in Refugee Camps: Women´s Perspectives and experiences”, launched on the 16.12. at the Werkstatt der Kulturen, in Berlin. To order your book, click HERE.
This book is our first colaboration with an university and it has been a gratifying experience because we were dealing with a group of political active students. From the beginning of the process to the release of the book, we could tell we were working with young women who have that sparkle in their eyes, indicating a critical view on the institution, an interest in cultivating intellectual insight, imagination, inquisitiveness, risk-taking and finally social responsibility in order to join the struggle for justice. We believe that the University must involve itself in the issues of the times, must raise some serious questions about its relationship to the larger society and finally become what it is suppose to be: a pedagogical space that disrupts, disturbs, inspires and energizes young people to be individual and social agents.
We also thank research associate and lecturer Kristina Dohrn and Professor Hansjörg Dilger for providing conditions within the institution in order to expand the capacities of the students.
Read below part of IWS’s Postface to the book:
“…Between August and September, 2015, record numbers of people running from wars and conflicts in Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and many other countries entered Germany to seek asylum. No one knows how many women* were amongst them. On the 25th of August, the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge/Bamf) stated that Syrians were not going to be sent back. One week later, on the 31st of August, the Chancellor Angela Merkel makes a press conference and said that trains full of refugees coming from Hungary wouldn’t also be denied entry. The borders of Germany were temporarily open for the people seeking protection. In the media the images were appalling. Some of the German citizens showed sympathy and created welcoming groups, others started attending the Monday demonstrations in Dresden, or- ganised by a infamous group who called themselves European Patriots Against the Islamisation of the Occident (Patriotische Europäer gegen die Islamisierung des Abendlandes/Pegida). Politicians began to attack each other in search of one to blame for what many Germans saw as a complete loss of control of the German border and the country’s security. A particular party joined the ranks of Pegida: Alternative for Germany (Alternative für Deutschland/AFD) keen to profit from the notorious german Angst. Mostly unaware of the internal conflicts, people began to be distributed in their hundreds to new arranged emergency camps, which varied from sport’s halls to tents, containers to old barracks. Almost one year later, many still live in such precarious lodgings. Our initial idea to understand the lives of women* inside the regular and already unbearable refugee homes had to be adapted to the worse reality of the new camps, its complete lack of privacy, minimum comfort and safety standards, the resemblance many women* compare to a life in prison. This research work takes us inside some of the emergency camps, confronts us with the truth told by the women* experiencing this moment in history. It is a rare, women*’s look at the women* invisibilized by a series of norms, regulations, laws and prejudices that lessen and weaken the strength of refugee women*, who have crossed so many internal and external borders to be here.
The students have brought to us more than we expected. Their data is already being used and inspires our work. We can only say thank you!”