The New Odyssey – The Story of the Twenty-First-Century Refugee Crisis

Patrick Kingsley – Liveright Publishing Corporation (2017)

Perhaps the single, most important ingredient for successful reporting is to know your subject. As the Guardian’s first-ever migration correspondent, Kingsley traveled alongside migrants in 2015 on their treacherous path in search for a new beginning.

Patrick Kingsley 1

Patrick Kingsley

Along the way, Kingsley learned about the business model used by smugglers in Libya from a smuggler himself; the struggle of a Syrian family who fled to Egypt to escape ISIS and Assad’s brutal crackdown only to feel ostracisized and threatened under El-Sisi’s military rule; the life and death journey on the Mediterranean from onboard the smuggler’s boat and later onboard the Italian coastguard rescue ship; working alongside Greeks on the north shore of Lesvos Island as boats from Turkey landed; tramping through the woods and ditches in Hungary to avoid anyone in a uniform; and sitting with Hashem when he finally learns the good news that Sweden has granted him permanent residency.

The human interest stories in The New Odyssey are expertly interwoven with facts and government policy failures that provide a convincing argument of what the EU policymakers and relief agencies (and by implication, the US government) must do differently if our generation wants to avoid being remembered as the cruel and selfish bastards who erected the walls and turned a blind eye on millions of people fleeing purgatory, a purgatory we (the Western powers) had a direct hand in setting ablaze.

Many of the stories Kingsley first shared with audiences of The Guardian can be accessed online here, but I encourage you to purchase the book, or find it at your local library, and let the journey seep in more deeply. No one’s opinion about refugees will be left unchanged by the last chapter, I promise you.