Disappear is defined as “to cease to be: pass out of existence or notice,” according to the Merriam Webster dictionary and is used quite powerfully in this paper. Although used scarcely, its subtle yet strong use was quite distinct and represented the harsh reality of the immigrant crisis in Europe and the seemingly common national European perspective towards the crisis.
The paper begins with a dialogue between the Mayor of Athens, George Kaminis, and the Vice minister of Migration, Tasia Christadoulopoulou in a Central Union Meeting in Early 2015. The dialogue is as follows “KAMINIS: So how do the immigrants move on to Europe then? CHRISTODOULOPOULOU: I do not know, they just disappear. (TaNea.gr 2015).”(2) Natalie Zervou’s choice to begin her paper with a hard-hitting quote like this one not only captures the reader’s attention but also allows her to express the fundamental context of the immigrant situation in Europe. Zervou later analyzes the choice of the word, disappear, as she mentions that “The nonchalant response of the vice minister of migration to this pressing question is indicative of a marginalized position of “otherness” assigned to the refugees: the minister’s three words (“they just disappear”) indicate detachment and indifference,”(3) I understood this analysis to convey that refugees are seen first as ‘immigrants’ rather than humans. It portrays the idea that the initial perspective towards them is as ‘a burden’ rather than an empathetic or even a piteous perspective.
This word really stood out to me because of two reasons; the first reason is the harsh truth that ‘disappear’ accurately describes in this context, it introduces the difficult idea of a certain group of people purposely being lost and forgotten and elicits the power that other people can have over somebody’s life. Secondly, the idea of ‘disappearing’ is quite a scary concept to me because I directly connect disappearing with being forgotten; whether it is being forgotten from social circles, being forgotten in chosen professional fields or even being forgotten after death. The idea of just being removed from everything that you considered as ‘your own’ is a daunting one to come to terms with.
Works CitedMerriam-Webster Online Dictionary Accessed 9 Jan 2018. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/disappear. Zervou, Natalie. "Fragments of the European Refugee Criss: Performing Displacement and the Re-Shaping of Greek Identity." Project Muse 61. 2017. Accessed 9 Jan 2018.
The first comments I have will address your writing. There is a lot of redundancy in this post and some very important sentiments. You could begin with the second paragraph and just use the dictionary definition to expand our understanding of the word as it operates in Zervou’s article.
Your intent here is to show that the disappearance of humans from the public sphere is actually a welcome event – not cause for concern. So, what you are gesturing toward is how inhumane the politicians show themselves to be – when it is their job to care for the inhabitants of the city. And that this inhumane quality is really unremarked — rather than something that is challenged as you are doing here. Because, as you note, it does raise the question – what happens to people when we can just accept that a portion of humanity can be easily forgotten – not traced — maybe safely settled elsewhere and maybe not. I would also challenge you here to differentiate your own feelings of what that means for you (because you are privileged as a citizen and with some financial means) and what that means for any particular refugee. But what you write here also shows the implications for all of us about the necessity of empathy – the care and importance of others and how they move through the world is so much of what distinguishes us as human.