Asylum Speakers: Caribbean Refugees and Testimonial by April Shemak

By April Shemak

Supplying the 1st interdisciplinary learn of refugees within the Caribbean, imperative the US, and the USA, Asylum audio system relates present theoretical debates approximately hospitality and cosmopolitanism to the particular stipulations of refugees. In doing so, the writer weighs the questions of fact valueassociated with a variety of modes of witnessing to discover the functionality of testimonial discourse in developing refugee subjectivity in New global cultural and political formations. via interpreting literary works via such writers as Edwidge Danticat, Nikl Payen, Kamau Brathwaite, Francisco Goldman, Julia Alvarez, Ivonne Lamazares, and Cecilia Rodr¡guez Milans, theoretical paintings by means of Jacques Derrida, Edouard Glissant, and Wilson Harris, in addition to human rights files, executive files, images, and old reports, Asylum audio system constructs a fancy photo of recent global refugees that expands present discussions of diaspora and migration, demonstrating that the peripheral nature of refugee testimonial narratives calls for us to reshape the limits of U.S. ethnic and postcolonial stories.

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129 Refugees often incur negative associations with “the masses,” where individual subjectivities are lost in the struggle to survive amidst hordes of other people attempting to navigate the bureaucratic institutions of nation-states as well as the transnational institutions of NGOs. ”130 Ariel Dorfman reflects upon this distinction in his memoir Heading South, Looking North: A Bilingual Journey, in which he recounts his flight from Chile following the military coup led by General Augusto Pinochet.

Yeah, it’s against the law . . but I don’t think a person who parks in the wrong parking space is a bad person. 114 For Martha-Louise, a legal transgression may simply be an act of expediency for the applicant. Asylum officers obviously hold great power in interpreting these stories. One officer states, “if you’re an applicant, you play asylum officer roulette here. ” This “threshold” between a hospitable and hostile interpretation of asylum law and applicant testimony speaks to the struggle at the heart of a poetics of hospitality.

The sea. The sea/ has locked them up. ”83 Cuban scholar Antonio Benítez-Rojo writes, “the culture of the Caribbean, at least in its most distinctive aspect, is not terrestrial but aquatic, . . ”84 22 / introduction Benítez-Rojo emphasizes how this fluidity reflects the significant role of migration for Caribbean peoples—the movement of peoples across the sea that has shaped the population of the region. The emphasis on the aquatic environment of the Caribbean also allows for a configuration of identity that is regional rather than national.

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