American Refuge: True Stories of the Refugee Experience by Diya Adbo
From Steerforth Press:
“A moving and timely book that strips away misleading politics to reveal the complexities of real human lives.” — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
A provocative, conversation-sparking exploration of refugee experiences told in their own words, for readers of Karla Cornejo Villavicencio’s The Undocumented Americans and Viet Thanh Nguyen
Forced to leave their homes, they came to America…
In this intimate and eye-opening book, Diya Abdo–daughter of refugees, U.S. immigrant, English professor, and activist—shares the stories of seven refugees. Coming from around the world, they’re welcomed by Every Campus A Refuge (ECAR), an organization Diya founded to leverage existing resources at colleges to provide temporary shelter to refugee families.
Bookended by Diya’s powerful essay “Radical Hospitality” and the inspiring coda “Names and Numbers,” each chapter weaves the individual stories into a powerful journey along a common theme:
- Life Before (“The Body Leaves its Soul Behind”)
- The Moment of Rupture (“Proof and Persecution”)
- The Journey (“Right Next Door”)
- Arrival/Resettlement (“Back to the Margins”)
- A Few Years Later (“From Camp to Campus”)
We learn that these refugees from Burma, Burundi, Iraq, Palestine, Syria, and Uganda lived in homes they loved, left against their will, moved to countries without access or rights, and were among the 1% of the “lucky” few to resettle after a long wait, almost certain never to return to the homes they never wanted to leave. We learn that anybody, at any time, can become a refugee.