What Is a Refugee If There Is No Nation-State?

The legacy of the 20th century has been to define a stateless person in need as a refugee. In the Middle East, there are millions of such “refugees,” many of whom have lacked a state for 65 years, since thenakba of 1948 that created Israel out of Palestine. The dates of the disasters are written on the walls of the camps: 1948, 1967, 1973. And Israel continues to divide Palestine and its people while its own borders implode. In recent weeks, Eritrean and Sudanese immigrants in the thousands have been occupying public space, demanding that their humanity be recognized, chanting, “We are all refugees; yes to freedom—no to prison!”

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