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Five Comics Depicting Immigrant and Refugee Stories around the World

By Susan Harris

As Dominic Davies notes, graphic narratives have a unique persuasive power, combining text and imagery to “demand a participatory effort” on the part of the reader. This engagement with the stories of others is crucial in combating prejudice, ignorance, and fear, and in rebutting hateful and ignorant stereotypes. In light of recent events, we recommend the following five stories of immigrants and refugees, and trust you'll agree that graphic novels are, as Davies points out, “an empathetic medium.”

1. A mournful immigrant from an unnamed country attempts to scratch out a new life in France, in Jérôme Ruillier’s heartbreaking “The Strange,” translated by Edward Gauvin


2. An asylum-seeker finds his greatest obstacle is red tape, in an excerpt from Mana Neyestani’s autobiographical A Short Guide to Being the Perfect Political Refugee, translated by Ghazal Mosadeq.


3. Icy embassy officials reject the “Limbos” begging for entry in Kim Han-min’s “Tell Me Where to Go,” translated by Jamie Chang and Sora Kim-Russell


4. Starving Ethiopian refugees undertake a deadly trek across the Sahara to Libya in an excerpt from Paolo Castaldi’s Etenesh, translated by Maaza Mengiste.


5. A star Cameroonian economist flees the oppressive regime for Paris, only to struggle with underemployment, anger, and despair, in an excerpt from Christophe Ngalle Edimo and Simon-Pierre Mbumbo’s Malamine, translated by Edward Gauvin


Published Feb 7, 2017   Copyright 2017 Susan Harris

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