Publication Date: February 13, 2024
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A provocative, virtuosic inquiry that reveals how the valorization of migrations past is intimately linked to the exclusion and demonization of migrants today
When and how did migration become a crime? Why have “Greek ideals” remained foundational to the West’s idea of itself? How have our personal migration myths – and nostalgia for times past—shaped today’s troubling realities of nationalism and fortified borders?
In 2021, Lauren Markham went to Greece to cover the aftermath of a fire that had burned down the largest refugee camp in Europe. Almost no one had wanted the camp—not humanitarian activists, not the country’s growing neo-fascist movement, not even the government, which resented the disproportionate responsibility it bore for an overwhelming international human rights problem. But almost immediately, in spite of scant evidence, six young Afghan refugees were arrested for the crime.
As she immersed herself in the story, Markham saw that it was part of a larger tapestry, rooted not only in centuries of global history but also in the myths we tell ourselves about who we are. A mesmerizing, trailblazing synthesis of reporting, history, memoir, and essay, A Map of Future Ruins helps us see that the stories we tell about migration don’t just explain what happened. They are oracles: they predict the future.
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