Map of Hope and Sorrow
Stories of Refugees Trapped in Greece
by Helen Benedict; Eyad Awwadawnan
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Pub Date 18 Oct 2022 | Archive Date 23 Mar 2023
Helen Benedict, award-winning British-American professor of journalism at Columbia University, teams up with Syrian writer and refugee, Eyad Awwadawnan, to present the stories of five refugees who have endured long and dangerous journeys from the Middle East and Africa to Greece.
Hasan, Asmahan, Evans, Mursal and Calvin each tell their story, tracing the trajectory of their lives from homes and families in Syria, Afghanistan, Nigeria and Cameroon to the brutal refugee camps, where they are trapped in a strange and hostile world.
These are compelling, first-person stories of resilience, suffering and hope, told in a depth rarely seen in non-fiction, partly because one of the authors is a refugee himself, and partly because both authors spent years getting to know the interviewees and winning their trust. The women and men in this book tell their stories in their own words, retaining control and dignity, while revealing intimate and heartfelt scenes from their lives.
There are more displaced people on the globe than ever since World War Two, fleeing a combination of war, civil unrest, religious conflict, dire poverty, local violence and climate change - forces often inextricably intertwined - just at a point when anti-immigrant, authoritarian governments are rising all over the world, threatening democracies and breaking their postwar commitments to protect refugees and uphold human rights.
As a result, refugees today are being persecuted, demonised and denied their legal rights, both within Europe and the USA, the very places that are supposed to protect them, and that, in some cases, caused them to become refugees in the first place. This is the scenario being played out in Greece, the major gateway to Europe for refugees from the Middle East and Africa - a gateway that Europe has deliberately turned into a trap.
'Heartfelt, eye-opening, timely, essential: these stories remind us of the plight of refugees, people just like us, who are desperate to build new lives for themselves and their loved ones.'
- Christy Lefteri, bestselling author of The Beekeeper of Aleppo
'Simple, powerful stories told in refugees' own voices. I couldn't stop reading, hand to mouth, my chest tightening. A vital collaboration between two sharply observant writers who know how to get out of the way.
- Dina Nayeri, author of The Ungrateful Refugee
'Harrowing, heartbreaking and deeply humane, Map of Hope and Sorrow amplifies the dreams and struggles of refugees who fled oppression only to find themselves trapped in another kind of cage. Their voices echoed in my brain long after the final page.'
- Jessica Bruder, author of Nomadland
'This is a treasure-trove of story, of heart, of humanity's failures and achievements.'
- Kao Kalia Yang, author of The Latehomecomer
'Map of Hope and Sorrow is not only urgent, it is riveting. Benedict and Awwadawnan's rare journalistic relationship allows them to partner with the people most affected by Western refugee policies and bring five intimate depictions to us with urgency, integrity, compassion, and even humor. These unflinching portraits of a pressing crisis remind us that we are never talking about borders or laws or news stories, but real people.'
- Jessica Goudeau, author of After the Last Border
'This meticulously reported, beautifully written book, is timely and important. People who had generations of memories of family life in peaceful streets or country villages, bucolic farms or sprawling olive groves fled their homes in the face of unspeakable violence, only to find themselves trapped on the cusp of Europe with no way to move forward or back. [It is] a story at once compelling, poetic and necessary.'
- Masha Hamilton, former US Embassy envoy to Afghanistan and author of What Changes Everything and 31 Hours
'These heartfelt stories reveal the resilience of the human spirit as well as how the world has turned a blind eye to the suffering of not only Syrians, but other refugees, too.'
- Fawaz Gerges, author of ISIS: A History
'As an eyewitness to the current global refugee crisis, I salute Helen and Eyad for capturing so astutely the desperation, hunger, and homelessness faced by the displaced. These stories of refugees in Greece tell a wider story of those forced to flee conflict around the world. A captivating and informative read.'
- Hala Gorani, Host of CNN’s Hala Gorani Tonight