What is chilling about Wolfgang Bauer’s, Crossing the Sea with Syrians on the Exodus to Europe is that he is part of the group of refugees making the deadly journey from Egypt to Italy through sea and land. The journey takes place in April 2014, as Syria experiences widespread destruction, war, and religious hatred. With the worsening crises, the UN has “stopped counting the dead” (Bauer, 2016, p. 11). No proper identification documents and an uncertain political climate make the refugees’ journey even riskier. Yet, for journalist, Bauer, and photographer, Stanislav Krupar there is further fear should their identities be discovered. Having “grown long beards and adopted new identities. For this journey we are English teachers Varj and Servat, two refugees from a republic in the Caucasus” (Bauer, 2016, p. 10).
I briefly wrote about how, in early 2015, as part of a MA module that looked at critical approaches to development and social change, I worked on an essay exploring the role of fiction in development. I drew on two texts that have enjoyed wide success, recognition, and commendation since their publication; Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun.
For me, Vienna is a treasure trove, where the political, social, cultural and the historic, intertwines to form a beautiful composition. To tread the paths of Mozart, Beethoven and Haydn, among others, exploring the economic, political, and social conditions in which their most famed pieces were composed, performed and received, is indeed a treat. Yet, what is perhaps more intriguing is how these compositions can be re-read in today’s context.
“We recognize that people are at the centre of sustainable development and, […] strive for a world that is just, equitable and inclusive” – Rio+20 Outcome Document, The Future We Want, 2012
Compare the above policy narrative with the below:
“My son walks 5 kilometres to his sister’s school to study English. He was going to be a doctor one day” – Solomon Vandy, Blood Diamond, 2006