Paris Papamichos Chronakis
University of Illinois at Chicago
Tuesday, October 3, 2017
214 Denney Hall
“What is left of the so-called Balkan Route? The path taken by hundreds of thousands of migrants and refugees in the summer of 2015 has been effectively closed off with border fences and increased police presence along the borders of Macedonia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Croatia and Slovenia.
In 2015, the Western Balkan countries viewed themselves as a transit zone; the path that migrants took as they attempted to enter the European Union. However, with the closure of borders in 2016, tens of thousands have been trapped on the fringes of the European Union in the Balkans for over a year, and the possibilities for reaching Western Europe are increasingly limited.”
Torn between conflict at home and the uncertainty of the travel ban, Libyan students in the United States are struggling to fund their studies and living expenses.
Read or listen to the story here: http://radio.wosu.org/post/libyan-students-ohio-find-frozen-funds-and-few-options-left
There are 20,000 Bhutanese-Nepali Refugees living in Central Ohio making this community one of the largest refugee communities in Columbus. According to an article in the Columbus Dispatch, “since the 1980s, roughly 80,000 of Bhutan’s ethnic Nepalese have resettled in the United States after the Bhutanese monarchy banned their Hindu religion, language and customs. Many others were jailed or killed, and still others were driven into exile after being forced to turn over their land and resources to the government.”
This exhibit, profiled in the Columbus Dispatch on May 11, presents the faces of 30 of our Bhutanese-Nepali neighbors and friends. Each photograph, taken by Tariq Tarey, is accompanied by a narrative written by Doug Rutledge, which explains each individual’s history. These photographs tell the story of the Bhutanese-Nepali refugees, their lives in Bhutan, their experience leaving, life in refugee camps, and their new life in Columbus.
The exhibit runs until Sunday, January 7, 2018 at the Ohio History Center; 800 E. 17th Ave, Columbus, OH 43211, Weds.–Sat. 10 a.m.–5 p.m., Sun. Noon–5 p.m. For more information, visit the Ohio History Center Website.
I met Jamil in Subotica, Serbia, 15 miles from the Hungarian border. He had a sunken face and dark circles under his eyes. “If you saw my picture on Facebook, you would not recognize me,” he wearily told me. For three months he had been stuck in Serbia, and after nine failed attempts to enter Hungary, he was growing increasingly hopeless.
Jamil is from Swat, Pakistan, where he was pursuing a graduate degree in computer engineering. He left seven months ago because he was not religious enough for the Taliban, who had occupied his village. Fearing for his life, he left everything behind and departed for the European Union. All that stands in his way is the border fence spanning 109 miles along the Hungarian – Serbian border, restricting entry for Jamil and thousands of other refugees who remain trapped in Serbia.
Hungary completed its first razor-wire border fence in September 2015 as a response to the hundreds of thousands of migrants and refugees who irregularly entered the country that summer. The fortified border is not the only obstacle restricting irregular entry into the country. Hungary has also recruited over a thousand new border hunters deployed solely to remove anyone who enters Hungary illegally.
“CASE 0438: A man illegally crossed the border into South Texas, died on the journey and was never identified. His remains were buried in a milk crate, his skull stained red from its contact with a bandanna.”
This striking description is from a recent New York Times article discussing the ultimate sacrifice many migrants make to travel between the United States and Mexico.
Dr. Timothy P. Gocha, an alumnus of OSU’s anthropology department, works with Operation Identification to analyze and identify the remains of these immigrants to help identify them. “‘When we get them, we assign them a case number because we have to have a way of tracking cases, but no one deserves to be just a number.'” He continues, “‘the idea is to figure out who they are, and give them their name back.'”
Over 500 migrants have been recovered by the project since 2009.
“SOMETIMES Hekmatullah, a 32-year-old Afghan, has to choose between food and connectivity. ‘I need to stay in touch with my wife back home,’ he says, sitting in a grubby tent in the Oinofyta migrant camp, near Athens. Because Wi-Fi rarely works there, he has to buy mobile-phone credit. And that means he and his fellow travellers—his sister, her friend and five children—sometimes go hungry.”
Mobile phones are indispensable for most people in the United States, and for a growing number of refugees, they are even more crucial to help refugees stay in touch with family back home and research their journeys. “According to UNHCR, the UN’s agency for refugees, refugees can easily spend a third of their disposable income on staying connected.” This article from The Economist explores issues of connectivity facing migrants.
Dorthea Lange was an American documentary photographer who is best known for her Depression-era photography in which she humanized the impacts of the Great Depression.
Some of her most striking photography visualize rural poverty and the exploitation of migrant laborers. These images, from the NYPL digital archives, document the movement of cotton hoers traveling from Memphis to work the at plantations in Alabama.
Twelve-million immigrants came to the United States through Ellis Island in Upper New York Bay from 1892-1954. At its peak, immigration officials reviewed about 5,000 immigrants per day, two-thirds of whom came from eastern, southern, and central Europe. According to the Statue of Liberty Ellis Island Foundation, the all-time daily high was April 17, 1907 when 11,747 immigrants were processed.
Numerous photographers documented arrivals at Ellis Island, and many of these photographs are available through the New York Public Library Digital Archives. These photographers captured the atmosphere of the immigration center as well as those arriving, many of whom wore the traditional dress of their home countries. Below are some of those images.
William Williams, the original collector of these images, was the federal commissioner of immigration for the Port of New York, from 1902 to 1905 and again, from 1909 to 1914.
When a person leaves home, they leave behind friends, family, parts of their culture, and their food. This story from WOSU tells the story of one immigrant who decided to bring a taste of home with her.
“Sitting within an unassuming strip mall in north Columbus, Mardi Gras looks like just another ice cream store. Inside, the chilled glass countertop is filled with the typical flavors – mint chocolate chip, butter pecan and strawberry ice cream.
“Turn to the adjacent wall, though, and you’ll see a large white board listing dozens of flavors found nowhere else – like kesar pista (a blend of saffron, cardamom and pistachio) or chickoo (a sweet tropical fruit originally found in Central America).
“These are all original flavors developed by the store’s owner, Mita Shah. For the last 17 years, she’s perfected these recipes using a unique mix of fruits, nuts and spices, many inspired by Indian cuisine.”
Continue reading or listen to the story here.
This unique ice cream parlor can be found at 1947 Hard Rd, at the intersection of Smoky Row Rd.