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Geopolitics

Refugees And Us, A Human Struggle To Face The Misery Of Others

A French philosopher dissects the mix of reactions across society, and within our own individual psyches, when human misery arrives at our door.

A Syrian refugee boy arriving in Athens on Sept. 6
A Syrian refugee boy arriving in Athens on Sept. 6
Roger-Pol Droit

PARIS — It's not merely the topic du jour in time for our return from summer holidays — nor even the big issue for 2015. It is a question that will likely preoccupy Europe for a long, long time. Migrants are not small groups anymore, but increasingly waves of humanity. And the paralysis, the emotion, the shame, but also the anxiety, rejection and violence seem to all grow together. Every day gives a glimpse of new faces, new tragedies, new problems that cannot quickly be solved.

To Calais, France, and the Italian island of Lampedusa, we can now add Greek islands, Balkan roads, the Hungarian border. The race to escape the police and outlast hunger gives way to death by drowning, suffocation, electrocution. Polite conversations have been replaced by demonstrations and invectives, as the chasm between supporters and opponents deepens every day.

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People walk by a mall destroyed by Russian shelling in Irpin, Ukraine. More than 300 civilians died in this city close to Kyiv. A month after the Russian troops’ withdrawal, its inhabitants are gradually returning to their devastated homes.

Lisa Berdet, Lila Paulou, Anne-Sophie Goninet and Bertrand Hauger

👋 Bonjour!*

Welcome to Tuesday, where Russia declares victory in Mariupol as the 82-day siege ends, Biden’s administration lifts some Trump-era restrictions on Cuba and NASA’s rover starts digging around for life on Mars. Meanwhile, America Economia explains how blockchain technology could take the cannabis business to an all-time high.

[*French]

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