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Fortress Europe: Dispatches from a Gated Continentby Matthew Carr
Synopses & Reviews
"In this exposÃ© of European immigration policy and its devastating effects, British journalist Carr (Blood and Faith: The Purging of Muslim Spain) investigates the 'contradictory character' of the 1985 Schengen Agreement, which opened borders between 25 European states with the idealistic aim of transforming the European Union into a common 'Ã¢Â€Â˜area of freedom, security, and justice.'' However, according to Carr, Schengen required countries on the outer edge to seal their borders against unwanted visitors and enforce the E.U.'s immigration restrictions to address concerns about national security. The grimly ironic result for undocumented immigrants, refugees, and victims of human trafficking has been people 'drowning in the Mediterranean, shot trying to cross border fences, mutilating themselves in detention centers, or reduced to destitution.' Carr travels to remote borderlands of Poland, Spain, Greece, and Malta; Schengen-bordering countries like Turkey and Morocco that collaborate in enforcement; and the heart of western Europe and Britain to meet immigrants stuck in remote detention centers or 'living rough' on city streets for years, as well as temporary workers and sex slaves abused by their handlers and abandoned by governments. But Carr also depicts ordinary Europeans who have gone to great lengths to help these stranded travelers. This disturbing but hopeful book humanizes the face of 21st-century immigration. Agent: George Lucas, Inkwell Management. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
In the autumn of 1989, jubilant crowds hacked through the Berlin Wall as the world watched. Politicians and economists declared such barriers obsolete, hailing a euphoric era of global capitalism—of the seamless exchange of goods, capital, and ideas across national borders. The new world was to be a flat one. In Heavy Traffic, prize-winning journalist Matthew Carr probes the dark story of migration and shows that in an age in which we were ostensibly going to transcend borders, billions are being spent to keep unauthorized immigrants, from economic migrants to refugees and asylum-seekers, from entering richer European nations. Most of these migrants come from less-developed countries; many are poor or darker-skinned or both.
More than two decades later after the fall of the Berlin Wall, many barriers to the movement of goods and capital have been dismantled and traditional concepts of national sovereignty upended. Yet todays Europe, journalist Matthew Carr argues, is defined by a proliferation of quasi-militarized borders—along the EUs Eastern frontier and in the waters of the Mediterranean, Adriatic, and Aegean. These “hard” borders are not intended to deter military threats. Theirs are stories of inhumanity, prejudice, and often appalling tragedy, but also of tenacity and hope. And increasingly, they have become the main objects of the Wests unprecedented defenses.
This book is an examination of these borders and their impact on those who have been excluded and the societies that try to keep them out. Carr visits detention centres in Malta and Lampedusa; the caged cities of Ceuta and Melilla; Moldova, the poorest country in Europe and the center of female trafficking; and the farms of southern Italy, where thousands of undocumented migrants work without papers in hellish conditions. Combining reportage, history, and insightful comparative passages on the parallel crises in the United States and Australia, Carrs critique is a must-read for any American concerned with the tragedy currently being played out at our own doorstep.
On the militarized Turkish-Greek border, Afghan migrants brave minefields to cross into Europe—only to be summarily ejected by Greek border guards. At Ceuta and Melilla, Spanish enclaves in North Africa, migrants are turned back with razor wire and live ammunition. Deportees from the U.K. and France have died of "positional asphyxia" on deportation flights, strapped to chairs, their mouths sealed with tape. In a brilliant and shocking account, Fortress Europe tells the story of how the worlds most affluent region—and historys greatest experiment with globalization—has become an immigration war zone, where tens of thousands have died in a human rights crisis that has gone largely unnoticed by the U.S. media.
Journalist Matthew Carr brings to life these remarkable human dramas, based on extensive interviews and firsthand reporting from the hot zones of Europes immigration battles. Speaking with key European policy makers, police, soldiers on the front lines, immigrant rights activists, and an astonishing range of migrants themselves, Carr offers a lucid account both of the broad issues at stake in the crisis and its exorbitant human costs.
About the Author
Matthew Carr is a writer, broadcaster, journalist, and the author of Blood and Faith: The Purging of Muslim Spain (a New York Times Editors Choice), The Infernal Machine: A History of Terrorism, and the acclaimed memoir My Fathers House. He lives in Derbyshire, England.
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