Meet the Author:
Illustrations: Ken Krimstein,  Chicago, United States

Sidd Joag

Sidd Joag

Sidd Joag is a visual artist, journalist and producer working on issues closely related to social inequality and human rights. He is also the Managing Editor at ArtsEverywhere.

Refugee Zines

Sidd Joag, New York City, United States 
Illustrations: Ken Krimstein, Chicago, United States 

The fourteenth piece in our Polity of Literature series: From exile in European cities to remote camps in embattled Myanmar, refugees facing every level of threat have created autonomous projects—zines—writing and reading together to site their politics by any means possible. In “Kachin State: the Curse of Geography,” ArtsEverywhere editor Siddhartha Joag recalled the art and writing workshops he encountered among...

Summary Justice—A German Divorce

Sybille Bedford, London, UK 
Illustrations: Ken Krimstein, Chicago, United States 

The twelfth piece in our Polity of Literature series: Recently in this series we’ve seen what happens to life stories when asylum seekers must appeal to nation-states for protection. Many of their stories can’t be heard at all (see addendum to PoL #10). We’ve seen how procedural rules constrain the stories that can be told in a court room, and...

Refugee on Trial: The Hole in the Donut

Niels Bekkema, Rotterdam, The Netherlands 
Illustrations: Ken Krimstein, Chicago, United States 

The eleventh piece in our Polity of Literature series: Concluding our trilogy about “the hole in the donut”—that rule-bound space within which our readings of others can have shared, verifiable legitimacy (see PoL #10 and Addendum to PoL #10)—Dutch artist and writer Niels Bekkema looks at the different kinds of rules laid down by courts, immigration authorities, and by artists...

How the State Reads Queer Refugees

Lotte Wolff, Geneva, Switzerland 
Illustrations: Ken Krimstein, Chicago, United States 

Addendum to the tenth piece in our Polity of Literature series: In Ralph Severijns’ analysis of the state’s reading of refugee stories—that is, in the crucial “free narrative” that asylum seekers tell when they apply for asylum—some problematic stories come up (see PoL #10, “Refugees Tell Their Stories to the State“): Asylum seekers who’ve undergone religious conversions or those who...

Refugees Tell Their Stories to the State

Ralph Severijns, Amsterdam, The Netherlands 
Illustrations: Ken Krimstein, Chicago, United States 
Translation: Niels Bekkema,  

The tenth piece in our Polity of Literature series: All refugees have a story, often an incredible one, of the events that led them to flee their homes and seek safety in a foreign land. When they arrive—if they ever arrive—somewhere safe, that story will determine their future. Asylum is granted to the refugee whose story compels the host-nation to...

Translating Manus and Nauru: Refugee Writing

Moones Mansoubi, Sydney, Australia 
Illustrations: Ken Krimstein, Chicago, United States 

The ninth piece in our Polity of Literature series: From 2014 until 2018, Iranian-Australian translator, Moones Mansoubi, worked with asylum seekers imprisoned in Australia’s “Offshore Processing Centres” on Manus and Nauru islands. The inhumane conditions of detention on Manus and Nauru were documented in official reports (Amnesty International‘s 2016, “Island of Despair,” for example) and in remarkable writings by refugees, such...

Prison Books in the Time of Refugees

Matthew Stadler, Rotterdam, The Netherlands 
Illustrations: Ken Krimstein, Chicago, United States 

The eighth piece in our Polity of Literature series: Books cited in this essay: Plato, Crito and Phaedo Boethius, The Consolation of Philosophy Álvar NĂșñez Cabeza de Vaca, The Relation of Álvar NĂșñez Cabeza de Vaca Mary White Rowlandson, Narrative of the Captivity of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson Hugo Grotius, Commentary on the Apostle Matthew Louise Michel, The Red Virgin Mahatma...

If They Come in the Morning — Writing from Prison with Angela Davis

Bettina Aptheker, Santa Cruz, United States 
Illustrations: Ken Krimstein, Chicago, United States 

The seventh piece in our Polity of Literature series: In 1970, at the height of violent conflict between the U.S. government and oppressed communities across the country—mostly poor, mostly people of colour—the FBI arrested Angela Davis on false charges of attempted murder. A student of Herbert Marcuse, Davis was an assistant professor of philosophy at UCLA who’d been wrongly fired...

The Zines of TerezĂ­n

Matthew Stadler, Rotterdam, The Netherlands 
Illustrations: Ken Krimstein, Chicago, United States 

The sixth piece in our Polity of Literature series: TerezĂ­n was a purpose-built ghetto the Nazis used as a smokescreen for genocide. 33,000 Jews died there and another 88,000 were sent on to the death camps. More than 7,000 of them were children, many of whom lived apart from their families in “Heims” (homes) under the supervision of one or...

The American Prison Writing Archive

Duygu Erbil, Utrecht, the Netherlands 
Illustrations: Ken Krimstein, Chicago, United States 

The fifth piece in our Polity of Literature series: In prison, writing takes on new forms and new urgencies. Prisoners who never wrote before, or wrote very little, produce new work in innovative ways, writing their ways around the limits and prohibitions that prisons impose. Duygu Erbil, a scholar in the Remembering Activism (ReAct) program at Utrecht University, in the...