Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Review: Fortress Europe

Read: Fortress Europe: Dispatches from a Gated Continent by Matthew Carr
Stars: Five

Drinking: Pinot Noir

Fortress Europe gives readers something they may never see: a view of Europe from the perspective of undocumented migrants trying to enter the continent. Carr looks at different entry points to Europe and between European countries.  He looks at how the Shengen agreement changed Europe's borders, and how it made some border countries into migrant traps.

Although Carr does his best to present his tale in an unbiased, journalistic nature, it is clear he feels sympathy for the migrants and see the border guards and European governments as antagonistic.  Many of the policies and officials quoted in the book are unguardedly racist and worried about the "darkening" of Europe by African, Asian, and Middle Eastern immigrants.  The stories Carr collected from migrants attempting to enter Europe, attempting to stay in Europe, or who had been deported from Europe, but were willing to try again, are haunting.

Fortress Europe was published in 2012, and it's message that Europe is becoming more racist, insular, and discriminatory against immigrants has only been highlighted by the recent murders in Athens.  The book is timely and important for anyone interested in international affairs.

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