Book Review: "Foreigner" by Thomas Saxby and Daniel Castro Garcia
by Liana DeMasi
For the past couple of years, our television sets, phones, newspapers, and computers have been plastered with news updates about the Refugee Crisis. Typically, news sources associate refugees with the persisting conflict in Syria, undermining the conflicts going on in other surrounding countries like Iran, Afghanistan, and Eritrea. Ongoing political commentary concerning whether or not countries should tighten or loosen their immigration policy on refugees casts a shadow on the refugees themselves. They become statistics; the human factor is erased.
“Foreigner” is a collaboration between Thomas Saxby and Daniel Castro Garcia, who documented the refugee crisis during their one-year trip through Europe. The book demands us to see the refugees’ faces and hear their stories—they become more than just numbers and topics of discussion on the debate stage.
Images are accompanied by text documenting each country and port covered. We are shown death, fear, and injury, balanced with stories of hope and salvation. There are stories of one-day-old babies dying, traffickers abusing refugees, and days of waiting for entry that may never come. Alongside these are stories of volunteers giving out water, care being given, and refugees finally reaching the shore of a new beginning.
While in Northern Greece, Saxby and Garcia visited a refugee camp that had been overcome by lice, forcing the inhabitants to shave their heads. Appropriately, they said, “looking at these malnourished victims of war with dirty faces and shaved heads, it felt like history was repeating itself.” They were right; with each forgotten face, each overlooked story, each shaved head atop a dirty face, history certainly is repeating itself. “Foreigners” forces you to see what we are so accustomed to shutting our eyes to.
© Images courtesy of Daniel Castro Garcia.
© Book Design by Thomas Saxby
© Article courtesy of Liana DeMasi.