Edkins Campbel and Malkki All Essay

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(1996) This separation of individuals and groups from the wrongs that have been perpetrated against them in the rhetoric and reality dehumanizes them to a degree and allows discourse on redress and resolution to falter.

Having discussed the main premises of these three, for lack of a better word, philosophers one must now look to Nyers, who discusses the political nature of the status of "refugee" and how in the modern, post 9-11 atmosphere many states have opted to lay a veil of security across international border crossing and refugee status. In the post 9-11 atmosphere it has become common place to "detain" and "deport" those who are seeking political asylum when they come from places of security risk. In short the current situation, cumulative of the highly political and state sponsored international humanitarian body that seeks to divorce individuals and groups from the wrongs that have been done to them, creates an almost universal ability of a nation and particularly a developed nation, to refuse asylum to individuals who they might see as a threat to security. In addition the situation of cross-border movement and militarism that seems to be spreading around the world is creating a potential nightmare for asylum seekers and for those who seek to get those individuals to safety. The course of challenges that Nyers discuss have the potential for even longer term harm than do the relief and refugee camps that dot the landscape in many areas of the world and can often exists for decades in temporary and squalor states. The real goal of many individuals in these places is to seek asylum, and in the past this has been the goal of many aid workers, to assist in this asylum seeking behavior. In the past many refugees from almost all the conflicts discussed by the writers in the core three documents (Campbell, Edkin & Malkki) have successfully sought and achieved asylum status in developed nations, or even in bordering nations and integrated into these societies instead of seeking to return to their native nation, as in doing so they would likely risk freedom, life and limb. What Nyers argues is that resolution for the long-term condition of refugee populations has become far more limited as developed (and even some less developed nations) nations have for all intents and purposes used security as an excuse to close their doors to incoming asylum seekers. In so doing these nations are using the old adage, Not in My Back Yard, to reject claims of asylum, detain individuals in a very long-term way, in places that strongly resemble federal prisons, for years and years, while their inhabitants look out the fences and pray for a day when they are no longer considered subhuman and when their lives, cut short by the political will of others, can actually begin. In the face of the fact that many nations, the U.S. included have developed a whole new set of tools for exclusion, even in the face of globalization and border blurring.

While global migrations are rendering internal and external borders less distinct and secure, it is clear that state capacities to enable inclusions and enforce exclusions have not diminished, only taken on new forms. (Nyers, 2003, p. 1070)

In other words concurrent with the "ideal" of a global society states are simply creating new and novel political regulations and standards that keep asylum seekers from the ultimate goal of reintegration into a "better" society than the ones from which they came. This in a sense is becoming a new global crisis of humanitarianism, especially where conditions of political "limbo" and backlogs of decision making, in addition to in many locations questionable detainment conditions, are creating a whole class of millions of people with no hope for the future and limited recourse of action. Nyers then shines light on the current anti-deportation movement that could create insight and resolution for this dangerous state.


Campbell, David. 1998. Why Fight: Humanitarianism, Principles, and Post-structuralism. Millennium 27. 497-521.

Edkins, Jenny. 2003. Humanitarianism, humanity, human.. Journal of Human Rights. ( June) 2(2). 253-258.

Malkki, Liisa H. (1996) Speechless Emissaries: Refugees, Humanitarianism, and Dehistoricization. (August) 11(3). 377- 404.

Nyers, Peter…[continue]

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