Fortress Europe: Dispatches from a Gated Continent

Fortress Europe: Dispatches from a Gated Continent

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by Matthew Carr
     
 

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On the militarized Turkish-Greek border, Afghan migrants brave minefields to cross into Europe—only to be summarily ejected by Greek border guards. At Ceuta and Melilla, Spanish enclaves in North Africa, migrants are turned back with razor wire and live ammunition. Deportees from the U.K. and France have died of "positional asphyxia" on deportation flights,… See more details below

Overview

On the militarized Turkish-Greek border, Afghan migrants brave minefields to cross into Europe—only to be summarily ejected by Greek border guards. At Ceuta and Melilla, Spanish enclaves in North Africa, migrants are turned back with razor wire and live ammunition. Deportees from the U.K. and France have died of "positional asphyxia" on deportation flights, strapped to chairs, their mouths sealed with tape. In a brilliant and shocking account, Fortress Europe tells the story of how the world’s most affluent region—and history’s greatest experiment with globalization—has become an immigration war zone, where tens of thousands have died in a human rights crisis that has gone largely unnoticed by the U.S. media.

Journalist Matthew Carr brings to life these remarkable human dramas, based on extensive interviews and firsthand reporting from the hot zones of Europe’s immigration battles. Speaking with key European policy makers, police, soldiers on the front lines, immigrant rights activists, and an astonishing range of migrants themselves, Carr offers a lucid account both of the broad issues at stake in the crisis and its exorbitant human costs.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this exposé of European immigration policy and its devastating effects, British journalist Carr (Blood and Faith: The Purging of Muslim Spain) investigates the “contradictory character” of the 1985 Schengen Agreement, which opened borders between 25 European states with the idealistic aim of transforming the European Union into a common “‘area of freedom, security, and justice.’” However, according to Carr, Schengen required countries on the outer edge to seal their borders against unwanted visitors and enforce the E.U.’s immigration restrictions to address concerns about national security. The grimly ironic result for undocumented immigrants, refugees, and victims of human trafficking has been people “drowning in the Mediterranean, shot trying to cross border fences, mutilating themselves in detention centers, or reduced to destitution.” Carr travels to remote borderlands of Poland, Spain, Greece, and Malta; Schengen-bordering countries like Turkey and Morocco that collaborate in enforcement; and the heart of western Europe and Britain to meet immigrants stuck in remote detention centers or “living rough” on city streets for years, as well as temporary workers and sex slaves abused by their handlers and abandoned by governments. But Carr also depicts ordinary Europeans who have gone to great lengths to help these stranded travelers. This disturbing but hopeful book humanizes the face of 21st-century immigration. Agent: George Lucas, Inkwell Management. (Sept.)
From the Publisher

"The power of this stirring, authentic account comes from Carr’s ability to capture the refugee experience through his face-to-face interviews and his passionate observation of the current scene, including human trafficking, in which women and minors are forced to choose between deportation and exploitation."
Booklist

"This disturbing but hopeful book humanizes the face of 21st-century immigration."
Publishers Weekly

Kirkus Reviews
Military patrols using live ammunition against unarmed men, women and children scaling barbed wire fences, captains dumping their human cargo in the sea after being detected by the navy: These are scenes not from North Korea or divided Berlin, but from the modern-day European Union. While the global economy encourages the seamless transfer of goods and money around the world, and members of the international elite feel equally at home in Paris, New York, Dubai or Shanghai, those who have the misfortune of being born in the wrong place face ever higher barriers to their freedom of movement. Carr (Blood and Faith, 2011, etc.) explores the seedy underbelly of the Schengen Area's open-borders policy, highlighting the paradoxes and injustices that become apparent once one realizes that the "new borderless European space has been dependent on a persistent hardening of Europe's ‘external' frontiers." Employing a personable, readable style, the author shares vignettes from his extensive travels along Europe's outer reaches, from the African exclaves of Ceuta and Melilla to the Greek archipelago to the Slovakian-Ukrainian border. He chronicles his interviews with migrants living off the grid in the Moroccan scrubland, Somalis living eight to a room in the factory cities of Eastern Europe, overtaxed border-patrol agents and harried psychologists at immigration detention centers (he was often forbidden from speaking to the inmates themselves, who are often held for years at a time, unable to work or study while their cases are being adjudicated). While Carr's sympathies are clear, and his attempts to link restrictive immigration policies to the racist fringe of European politics are not entirely successful, his focus on the human consequences of global inequality transcends ideological distinctions. An unflinching look inside "an extraordinarily elaborate and complex system of exclusion and control that is simultaneously ruthless, repressive, devious, chaotic, and dysfunctional."

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781595588395
Publisher:
New Press, The
Publication date:
09/04/2012
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
304
Sales rank:
1,167,538
File size:
4 MB

Meet the Author

Matthew Carr is a writer, broadcaster, journalist, and the author of Blood and Faith: The Purging of Muslim Spain (a New York Times Editors’ Choice), The Infernal Machine: A History of Terrorism, and the acclaimed memoir My Father’s House. He lives in Derbyshire, England.

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