Friday, July 6, 2018

What the Nazis driving people from homes taught philosopher Hannah Arendt about the rights of refugees


Hannah Arendt

Kathleen B. Jones on The Conversation considers the relevance of the teachings of philosopher Hannah Arendt to the modern refugee crisis.

Facing a political revolt over immigration policies from the Christian Social Union partner in her coalition government, German Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed to a compromise, which would create “transit zones” or refugee camps along Germany’s southern border.

Under the agreement, migrants would be housed in designated transit areas, until German authorities determined their eligibility. If found to have registered in another EU country, immigrants would be turned back, assuming that country would accept them.

Merkel had earlier opposed this step, fearing it would trigger border closures. Already, Italy and Austria have refused to accept returnees. And these are not the only ones. In the United States, in Hungary, and in Italy, governments are justifying policies of expulsion and restrictive immigration. Inflammatory language is often being used to defend policies aimed against the most vulnerable peoples.

As Jones writes, "[t]hat millions of refugees exist in legal limbo, sadly, is not a new story. The twentieth century Jewish political theorist, Hannah Arendt, analyzed refugees’ plight in the period between and after the two world wars. As a scholar of Arendt’s political thought, I believe her writing is relevant to understanding today’s refugee crisis and their lack of rights. "


People protesting against President Donald Trump’s immigration policies outside Downing Street in London. Alisdare Hickson, CC BY-SA

This article is worth a read!


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