“Undocumented” and “illegal” are the words that are the most closely related to “immigrant” in Fragments of the European Refuge Crisis by Natalie Zervou. These words seems to add another layer to the definition of immigrant on the Oxford Dictionaries, which is “a person who comes to live permanently in a foreign country.”(“Immigrant”) The word immigrants seemed to sound less than “a person”, or, “a human”, as when asked “how do the immigrants move on to Europe?”, the mayor of Athen answers “they just disappear.”
In the reading, there is a sense of powerless to the word “immigrant.” As Zervou talks about their performance and narratives, the word “immigrant” seemed to be a label for someone who has no power. Relations to words like “sensitive issue” or even “difficulties” showed that immigrants are what is being talked about as a problem. Their voices are so small. We can only see who they are instead of being an immigrant when Zervou zooms in the individuals: Marie Sankoh, a 13-year-old girl form Sierra Leone but born in Greece; another girl who did not disclose her name and struggling to show a birth certificate; and a woman who said “immigrants and refugees are victims, they are not criminals.” For their voices to be heard in the public, and to make the public aware of them, companies like ELANADISTISKANOUME has to be found, and performances like Small Seeds has to be created.
When I was doing this reading, I could not help to think how little voice immigrants have. It seems to me that to have a voice, they have to all come together, or find a platform to perform and express, or else the world may not hear them. Reading the narratives of the individuals, I completely feel that immigrants and us, we are not so different at all. But why does the just hearing or using the word “immigrant” make us sound so far away? This makes me reflect on myself. I am very privilege to have our own voice in the world, but how am I using it? What can I use it for? Am I even using it?
Works CitedOxford Dictionaries Accessed 9 Jan 2018. https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/crisis. 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.
This is an excellent post because it isn’t just sympathetic – it locates the position of the migrant in discourse — where the constant modifiers of the term are “illegal” and “undocumented,” and you begin to unravel how power operates. It would be good to bring in the Agamben article again here – where he talks about the refugees as problems to be managed and how they are “sub-human” because they live lives that are just about functioning at the most basic level. Belonging to a nation – being part of the “bios gives us power and a voice – citizenship can make claims on the government. So there are many ways – some of which you observed – that renders refugees and migrants voiceless. They are not economically or politically empowered. The point you make at the end, where you mention ELANADISTISKANOUME and Small Seeds is a bit confusing. To the naive reader, they may not know what the organizations do and why they combat this problem of power. This conclusion needs more unpacking and richer descriptions of the remedy these two organizations provide.