A selection of readings focusing on the stories of displaced people across the world recounting their unique journeys in their own words and insights from leading practitioners on mental health and trauma.
NO PLACE TO CALL HOME
'With colourful characters and seamless prose, No Place To Call Home is a tale of belonging, identity and immigration, of hope and hopelessness, of loss –not by death, but by distance– and, by no means the least, of love.'
A LONG WAY GONE
'In A Long Way Gone, Beah, now twenty-five years old, tells a riveting story: how at the age of twelve, he fled attacking rebels and wandered a land rendered unrecognizable by violence. By thirteen, he'd been picked up by the government army, and Beah, at heart a gentle boy, found that he was capable of truly terrible acts.'
'The Refugees is a collection of perfectly formed stories written over a period of twenty years, exploring questions of immigration, identity, love, and family.'
mornings in jenin
'Mornings in Jenin is a multi-generational story about a Palestinian family. Forcibly removed from the olive-farming village of Ein Hod by the newly formed state of Israel in 1948, the Abulhejos are displaced to live in canvas tents in the Jenin refugee camp. We follow the Abulhejo family as they live through a half century of violent history. Amidst the loss and fear, hatred and pain, as their tents are replaced by more forebodingly permanent cinderblock huts, there is always the waiting, waiting to return to a lost home.'
the blue between sky and water
'Internationally bestselling author Susan Abulhawa's powerful new novel explores the legacy of dispossession across continents and generations. With devastatingly clear-eyed vision of political and personal trauma, The Blue Between Sky and Water is the story of flawed yet profoundly courageous women, of separation and heartache, endurance and renewal.'
THE ORANGE TREES OF BAGHDAD
'In The Orange Trees of Baghdad, Leilah Nadir journeys to uncover her lost family roots in war-torn Iraq. Born to an Iraqi father and an English mother, raised in Britain and Canada, she has always yearned to visit her father's family, but has never set foot on Iraqi soil. As the bombs land on Baghdad and her relatives leave the country, Leilah begins to uncover her lost family history. At the same time, she gets rare first-hand insight into what Iraqis are experiencing through the invasion and its aftermath.'
THE LIGHTLESS SKY
'"To risk my life had to mean something. Otherwise what was it all for?"Gulwali Passarlay was sent away from Afghanistan at the age of twelve, after his father was killed in a gun battle with the US army for hiding Taliban fighters. Smuggled into Iran, Gulwali began a twelve month odyssey across Europe, spending time in prisons, suffering hunger, cruelty, brutality, nearly drowning in a tiny boat on the Mediterranean. Somehow he survived, and made it to Britain, no longer an innocent child but still a boy of twelve.'
'Ben Rawlence sets out to gather the news from a forgotten town deep in Congo’s ‘silent quarter’ where peace is finally being built after two decades of civil war and devastation. Ignoring the advice of locals, reporters, and mercenaries, he travels by foot, bike, and boat, introducing us to Colonel Ibrahim, a guerrilla turned army officer; Benjamin, the kindly father of the most terrifying Mai Mai warlord; the cousins Mohammed and Mohammed, young tin traders hoping to make their fortune; and talk show host Mama Christine, who dispenses counsel and courage in equal measure. From the ‘blood cheese’ of Goma to the decaying city of Manono, Rawlence uncovers the real stories of life during the war and finds hope for the future.'
THE NEW ODYSSEY
'The Guardian’s first-ever migration correspondent, Patrick Kingsley has traveled through seventeen countries to put an indelible face on this overwhelming disaster. Embedding himself alongside the refugees, Kingsley reenacts their flight with hundreds of people across the choppy Mediterranean in the hopes of better understanding who helps or hinders their path to salvation. From the starving migrants who push through sandstorms with children strapped to their backs to the exploitive criminals who prey on them, from the smugglers who dangerously stretch the limits of their cargo space to the volunteers who uproot their own lives to hand out water bottles―what emerges is a kaleidoscope of humanity in the wake of tragedy. By simultaneously tracing the narrative of Hashem, who endured the trek not once but twice, Kingsley memorably creates a compassionate, visceral portrait of the mass migration in both its epic scope and its heartbreaking specificity.'
'Charlotte McDonald-Gibson has spent years reporting on every aspect of Europe's refugee crisis, and Cast Away offers a vivid glimpse of the personal dilemmas, pressures, choices and hopes that lie beneath the headlines. We meet Majid, a Nigerian boy who exchanges the violence of his homeland for Libya, only to be driven onto a rickety boat during Colonel Gaddafi's crackdown on migrants. Nart is an idealistic young lawyer who risks imprisonment and torture in Syria until it is no longer safe for him to stay. Sina has to leave her new husband behind and take their unborn son across three continents to try and escape the Eritrean dictatorship. Mohammed is a teenager who dreams of becoming the world's best electrician until he is called to serve as a foot-soldier in the Syrian army. And Hanan watches in horror as the safe life she built for her four children in Damascus collapses, and she has to entrust their lives to people smugglers. While the politicians wrangle over responsibility, and the media talk in statistics, Cast Away brings to life the human consequences of the most urgent humanitarian issue of our time.'
a thousand splendid suns
'Mariam is only fifteen when she is sent to Kabul to marry Rasheed. Nearly two decades later, a friendship grows between Mariam and a local teenager, Laila, as strong as the ties between mother and daughter. When the Taliban take over, life becomes a desperate struggle against starvation, brutality and fear. Yet love can move a person to act in unexpected ways, and lead them to overcome the most daunting obstacles with a startling heroism.'
the kite runner
'Afghanistan, 1975: Twelve-year-old Amir is desperate to win the local kite-fighting tournament and his loyal friend Hassan promises to help him. But neither of the boys can foresee what will happen to Hassan that afternoon, an event that is to shatter their lives. After the Russians invade and the family is forced to flee to America, Amir realises that one day he must return to Afghanistan under Taliban rule to find the one thing that his new world cannot grant him: redemption.'
the book thief
'1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier. Liesel, a nine-year-old girl, is living with a foster family on Himmel Street. Her parents have been taken away to a concentration camp. Liesel steals books. This is her story and the story of the inhabitants of her street when the bombs begin to fall.'
NIGHT SKY WITH EXIT WOUNDS
'This book presents five true stories about young people who lived through the harrowing experience of setting sail in search of asylum: Ruth and her family board the St. Louis to escape Nazism; Phu sets out alone from war-torn Vietnam; José tries to reach the U.S. from Cuba; Najeeba flees Afghanistan and the Taliban; Mohamed, an orphan, runs from his village on the Ivory Coast. Aimed at middle grade students, Stormy Seas combines a contemporary collage-based design, sidebars, fact boxes, timeline and further reading to produce a book that is ideal for both reading and research. Readers will gain new insights into a situation that has constantly been making the headlines.'
WHERE THE WIND LEADS
'Where the Wind Leads follows Vinh Chung and his family on their desperate journey from pre-war Vietnam, through pirate attacks on a lawless sea, to a miraculous rescue and a new home in the unlikely town of Fort Smith, Arkansas. There Vinh struggled against poverty, discrimination, and a bewildering language barrier—yet still managed to graduate from Harvard Medical School. Where the Wind Leads is Vinh’s tribute to the courage and sacrifice of his parents, a testimony to his family’s faith, and a reminder to people everywhere that the American dream, while still possible, carries with it a greater responsibility.'
AN OLYMPIC DREAM
'The image of Samia Yusuf Omar running for last place at the 2008 Beijing Olympics will forever be imprinted in the minds of all who saw it: The lean Somalian, wearing knee-length leggings and a baggy T-shirt, came in seconds behind her competitors. What the cheering crowd couldn’t know then was what it took to get there. An Olympic Dream follows Omar’s second attempt to represent her country at the Olympics, this time in London. Reinhard Kleist pictures the athlete training in one of the most dangerous cities in the world; her passage through Sudan and into Libya; and her fateful attempt to reach Europe. By telling the story of one remarkable woman, Kleist gives voice to the thousands of migrants who risk their lives daily for a better future.'
'Enrique’s Journey recounts the unforgettable quest of a Honduran boy looking for his mother, eleven years after she is forced to leave her starving family to find work in the United States. Braving unimaginable peril, often clinging to the sides and tops of freight trains, Enrique travels through hostile worlds full of thugs, bandits, and corrupt cops. But he pushes forward, relying on his wit, courage, hope, and the kindness of strangers.'
The bosnia list
'At age eleven, Kenan Trebincevic was a happy, karate-loving kid living with his family in the quiet Eastern European town of Brcko. Then, in the spring of 1992, war broke out and his friends, neighbors and teammates all turned on him. Pero - Kenan's beloved karate coach - showed up at his door with an AK-47 - screaming: "You have one hour to leave or be killed!" Kenan’s only crime: he was Muslim. This poignant, searing memoir chronicles Kenan’s miraculous escape from the brutal ethnic cleansing campaign that swept the former Yugoslavia. After two decades in the United States, Kenan honors his father’s wish to visit their homeland, making a list of what he wants to do there. Kenan decides to confront the former next door neighbor who stole from his mother, see the concentration camp where his Dad and brother were imprisoned and stand on the grave of his first betrayer to make sure he’s really dead. Back in the land of his birth, Kenan finds something more powerful—and shocking—than revenge.'
voices from the 'jungle': stories from the calais refugee camp.
'Often called the 'Jungle', the refugee camp near Calais in Northern France epitomises for many the suffering, uncertainty and violence which characterises the situation of refugees in Europe today. But the media soundbites we hear ignore the voices of the people who lived there - people who have travelled to Europe from conflict-torn countries such as Syria, Sudan, Afghanistan and Eritrea: people with astounding stories, who are looking for peace and a better future. Voices from the 'Jungle' is a collection of these stories. Through its pages, the refugees speak to us in powerful, vivid language. They reveal their childhood dreams and struggles for education; the wars and persecution that drove them from their homes; their terror and strength during their extraordinary journeys. They expose the reality of living in the camp; tell of their lives after the 'Jungle' and their hopes for the future. Through their stories, the refugees paint a picture of a different kind of 'Jungle': one with a powerful sense of community despite evictions and attacks, and of a solidarity which crosses national and religious boundaries. Illustrated with photographs and drawings by the writers, and interspersed with poems, this book must be read by everyone seeking to understand the human consequences of this world crisis.'
OUTSIDE THE ASYLUM: A MOIR OF WAR, DISASTER AND HUMANITARIAN PSYCHIATRY
Outside the Asylum is Lynne Jones's personal exploration of humanitarian psychiatry and the changing world of international relief; a memoir of more than twenty-five years as a practising psychiatrist in war and disaster zones around the world. From her training in one of Britain's last asylums, to treating traumatised soldiers in Gorazde after the Bosnian war, helping families who lost everything in the earthquake in Haiti, and learning from traditional healers in Sierra Leone, Lynne has worked with extraordinary people in extraordinary situations. This is a book that shines a light on the world of humanitarian aid, and that shows us the courage and resilience of the people who have to live, work and love in some of the most frightening situations in the world.
immigrants and refugees: trauma, perennial mourning, prejudice and border psychology
'In our fast-changing world, globalisation, advances in communication technology, fast travel, terrorism and now the refugee crisis make psychoanalytic investigation of the Other a major necessity.Psychoanalyst Vamik Volkan, who left Cyprus for the US as a young man, brings his own experiences as an immigrant to bear on this study of the psychology of immigrants and refugees, and of those who cross paths with them.In Part I, case examples illustrate the impact of traumatic experiences, group identity issues, and how traumas embedded in the experience of immigrants and refugees can be passed down from one generation to the next. Part II focuses on the host countries, considering the evolution of prejudice and how fear of newcomers can affect everything from international politics to the way we behave as individuals. Volkan also considers the psychology of borders, from the Berlin Wall to Donald Trump. He argues that it is not enough to sympathise with the material plight of people who have left their homes; we must also strive to understand the mental health issues caused by their uprooting.'
CHILDREN OF REFUGEES: TORTURE, HUMAN RIGHTS AND PSYCHOLOGICAL CONSEQUENCES
'There is a wide gap between the psychological needs of the children of refugees and the services provided. Refugees' home countries, cultures, and social make-up are widely diversified, and their needs cannot be readily consolidated. This diversity of interest and need goes unacknowledged by the service-providers who may treat them as a single, homogenous group. Some refugees' needs are exaggerated, while others are ignored. This approach often ignores the justifiable and legitimate interest of refugees' psychological wellbeing. Many children of refugees may struggle with questions of race, ethnicity, language barriers, and other socio-political and economic issues that can influence their mental health and psychological wellbeing. Preoccupations of the child's emotions with those issues therefore have effects on child personality formations.Apart from having an overview of the relevant processes involved in therapeutic work and possible challenges therein, it is also important for the therapist to have an overview of the child's situation in the past and any current issues, which this book provides. In order to provide effective therapeutic intervention to children and young people, whether they are unaccompanied or with family, knowing the legal framework and human right issues is vital.'
TRAUMA AND THE MEMORY OF POLITICS
'In this interesting study, Jenny Edkins explores how we remember traumatic events such as wars, famines, genocides and terrorism, and questions the assumed role of commemorations as simply reinforcing state and nationhood. Taking examples from the World Wars, Vietnam, the Holocaust, Kosovo and September 11th, Edkins offers a thorough discussion of practices of memory such as memorials, museums, remembrance ceremonies, the diagnosis of post-traumatic stress and the act of bearing witness. She examines the implications of these commemorations in terms of language, political power, sovereignty and nationalism. She argues that some forms of remembering do not ignore the horror of what happened but rather use memory to promote change and to challenge the political systems that produced the violence of wars and genocides in the first place. This wide-ranging study embraces literature, history, politics and international relations, and makes a significant contribution to the study of memory.'
war torn: stories of courage, love, and resilience
'War Torn takes us beyond the headlines into the lives of civilians caught up in war's destructive power in Afghanistan, Iraq, Bosnia, Guatemala, and Sri Lanka. Alongside stories that convey the destruction and heartbreak of armed conflict, Ken Miller captures the courage and resilience he calls “a remarkable kind of light,” an essential counterpoint to the grief and trauma that war creates. The stories in War Torn are powerful, heart-wrenching, and unforgettable.
Drawing on his extensive research and clinical experience, Miller also offers a nuanced critique of the overly narrow focus on PTSD among survivors of armed conflict.'
MEMORY, WAR AND TRAUMA
'Many millions of people are affected by the trauma of war. Psychologists have a good understanding of how experiences of war impact on memory, but the significance of external environmental influences is often disregarded. Memory, War and Trauma focuses on our understanding of the psychosocial impact of war in its broadest sense. Nigel C. Hunt argues that, in order to understand war trauma, it is critical to develop an understanding not only of the individual perspective but also of how societal and cultural factors impact on the outcome of an individual's experience. This is a compelling book which helps to demonstrate why some people suffer from post-traumatic stress while other people don't, and how narrative understanding is important to the healing process. Its multidisciplinary perspective will enable a deeper understanding of both individual traumatic stress and the structures of memory.'
THE BODY KEEPS THE SCORE: MIND, BRAIN AND BODY IN THE TRANSFORMATION OF TRAUMA
The Body Keeps the Score sheds new light on the routes away from trauma - which lie in the regulation and syncing of body and mind, using sport, drama, yoga, mindfulness, meditation and other routes to equilibrium.
BEYOND THE TRAUMA VORTEX
'This text engages the help of the media to put the understanding of trauma and its impact on the global agenda. Ross suggests how the media can use their influence to help, advocating messages of peace and sanity over violence and blind rage.'
the empathy instinct: how to create a more civil society
'Empathy is the power of understanding others, imaginatively entering into their feelings. It is a fundamental human attribute, without which mutually co-operative societies cannot function. In a revolutionary development, we now know who has it, who lacks it and why. Via the MRI scanner we are mapping the human brain. This is a new frontier that reveals a host of beneficial ideas for childcare, teens challenged by the internet, the justice system, decent healthcare, tackling racism and resolving conflicts.
In this wide-ranging and accessible book full of entertaining stories that are underlined by the latest scientific research, Peter Bazalgette also mounts a passionate defence of arts and popular culture as a means of bridging the empathy gap.'
A MENTAL HEALTHCARE MODEL FOR MASS TRAUMA SURVIVORS
'Mass trauma events, such as natural disasters, war and torture, affect millions of people every year. Currently, there is no mental health care model with the potential to address the psychological needs of survivors in a cost-effective way. This book presents such a model, along with guidance on its implementation, making it invaluable for both policy-makers and mental health professionals. Building on more than twenty years of extensive research with mass trauma survivors, the authors present a model of traumatic stress to aid understanding of mass trauma and how its psychological impact can be overcome with control-focused behavioral treatment. This text offers a critical review of various controversial issues in the field of psychological trauma in light of recent research findings. Including two structured manuals on earthquake trauma, covering treatment delivery and self-help, the book will be of use to survivors themselves as well as care providers.'
a house next door to trauma
'Judith Hassan has developed a model that addresses the trauma of individuals who faced starvation, torture and who witnessed the murder of close family members. Her book discusses the kinds of demands placed on those who work with these survivors and opens up issues for others in the field of war trauma to answer in their own particular and appropriate way.
Translating the language of liberation into practice, A House Next Door to Trauma points to a different way of becoming a neighbour to all those who suffer extreme war experiences. It is clear and hopeful in the positive potential it lends to therapeutic work in this area.'
DIGNITY: ITS ESSENTIAL ROLE IN RESOLVING CONFLICT
'The desire for dignity is universal and powerful. It is a motivating force behind all human interaction-in families, in communities, in the business world, and in relationships at the international level. When dignity is violated, the response is likely to involve aggression, even violence, hatred, and vengeance. On the other hand, when people treat one another with dignity, they become more connected and are able to create more meaningful relationships. Surprisingly, most people have little understanding of dignity, observes Donna Hicks in this important book. She examines the reasons for this gap and offers a new set of strategies for becoming aware of dignity's vital role in our lives and learning to put dignity into practice in everyday life. Drawing on her extensive experience in international conflict resolution and on insights from evolutionary biology, psychology, and neuroscience, the author explains what the elements of dignity are, how to recognize dignity violations, how to respond when we are not treated with dignity, how dignity can restore a broken relationship, why leaders must understand the concept of dignity, and more. Hicks shows that by choosing dignity as a way of life, we open the way to greater peace within ourselves and to a safer and more humane world for all.'
HEALING INVISIBLE WOUNDS: PATHS TO HOPE AND RECOVERY IN A VIOLENT WORLD
'Everywhere and constantly human beings are subject to terrible violence—be it natural or manmade. It has happened in New Orleans, New York, India, Iraq, Rwanda, Bosnia, Cambodia, Ivory Coast. But long after the levees have been reconstructed, after the war criminals have been brought to justice, the question remains—can people heal, and if so, how? Richard Mollica has spent more than thirty years helping victims of trauma. Now he draws from hundreds of interviews, years of research, and his counseling experience to show us a new way of helping people overcome their pain. The key to this? People have an inherent ability to heal themselves. And the lessons we can learn from the survivors of such trials and extreme situations can even teach us how to cope better with everyday life.Here is a passionate, humanitarian voice of hope in a cruel and violent world, telling us all we can do more than survive—we can find strength and healing no matter what we have experienced.'
CULTURE, TRAUMA AND TRANSPERSONAL PSYCHOLOGY: A CONTEMPORARY STUDY OF SOUTH SUDANESE
"Every single citizen of South Sudan has been affected [by the war] in some form or fashion...including the death, disappearance, or kidnapping of a family member, the need to abandon one’s ancestral village in order to avoid death and torture, the loss of employment or an income used to feed one’s family, the looting of one’s home or business, the destruction of a community’s church, and/or the loss of a family’s children who are fighting in the civil war."
"Dr. Kuek explores in-depth the struggles of South Sudanese persons who are now residing in the United States and who had to flee the country because of war, poverty, and famine. Using transpersonal psychology as an anchor point to understanding the psychology of survival of a group of South Sudanese, he examines the psychic pain that has become chronic or permanent for many and the methods that they employ to survive in their adopted country." Roberto J. Velasquez, Ph.D. Former Professor of Psychology, San Diego State University, and clinical Psychologist for over 30 years.
"NO FIVE FINGERS ARE ALIKE." WHAT EXILED KURDISH WOMEN IN THERAPY TOLD ME.
'This is probably the only book of its kind that focuses exclusively on refugee women, and one of the few that limit their scope only to one group of refugees - the Kurds, in this case. Although the book is about Kurdish women in Norway, its appeal and contents are nevertheless of universal value and applicability. The general reader will get an unparalleled insight into a therapeutic way of working with refugees and the specialist reader will have a vast range of themes to feast on. These include theoretical considerations of ideas about collective trauma, narrative life stories, working cross-culturally, mental health perspectives on refugees, and the formation of meaning, to mention but a few.'
trauma and public memory
'During the past decade there has been a rapid growth in literature on traumatic experience, but what remains missing from the expanding field of commentary is any sustained consideration of how those who are outsiders to the experience deal with the challenge of its presence in their world. Related to this are some fundamental questions about how traumatic events are acknowledged in the public domain and come to form part of the fabric of public memory. The contributing writers to this collection are primarily from humanities and cultural history, though there are also essays from specialists in psychology and the social sciences, and interviews with professionals who have a primary involvement with traumatic events. Contributions focus on key traumatic media events of the last decade as well as those during the twentieth century in countries such as the USA, Europe, Japan, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Indonesia, Cuba and Australia.'
the future life of trauma: partitions, borders, repetition
'The Future Life of Trauma elaborates a transformation in the concepts of trauma and event by situating a groundbreaking encounter between psychoanalytic and postcolonial discourse. Proceeding from the formation of psychical life as presented in the Freudian metapsychology, it thinks anew the relation between temporality and traumatized subjectivity, demonstrating how the psychic event, as a traumatic event, is a material reality that alters the character of the structure of repetition.By examining the role of borders in the history of the 1947 partition of British India and the politics of memorialization in postgenocide Rwanda, The Future Life of Trauma brings to light the implications of trauma as a material event in contemporary nation-formation, sovereignty, and geopolitical violence. In showing how the form of the psyche changes in the encounter, it presents a challenge to the category of difference in the condition of identity, resulting in the formation of a concept of life that elaborates a new relation to destruction and finitude by asserting its power to transform itself.'