March 17 is St. Patrick’s Day.  In celebration of our Irish brothers and sisters we would like to recommend a multi-award-winning book written by Sally Hayden, an Irish journalist.  In 2022 The Washington Post named this book among the top three that should be read concerning the world’s refugees. 

My Fourth Time, We Drowned:  Seeking Refuge on the World’s Deadliest Migration Route is Hayden’s first book.  The Irish journalist relates experiences of refugees from Africa and the Middle East as they are relegated to camps in Libya as part of the European Union’s attempt to control and limit immigration.  According to Hayden, the failures of the United Nations’ refugee programs include highly paid personnel who seem to have become immune to the refugees’ plight.  Atrocities committed at the Libyan refugee camps are detailed as well as the inept efforts of the EU and UN to track them and stop them. 

The book makes clear the rising racist leanings of Europe in recent years and the attraction of far-right political parties promising to stop immigration, since most of the refugees are Black.  In the Epilogue and Author’s Note at the end, Hayden highlights the connection she sees between the desperate conditions in the nations from which the refugees come and historical colonization of those same nations.  One wonders if Hayden’s Irish nationality and her nation’s own experience with oppression and migration, contributed to her sensitivity to the trials of current refugees.   This book is a testament to the brave work being done around the world by this Irish journalist and others to promote justice and protect humanity.


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