Over two million people fled Ukraine in just twelve days as Vladimir Putin waged a brutal war against the country. The support for Ukranians has been compassionate and heartwarming – but it has also raised questions about why those fleeing North Africa and the Middle East are not afforded the same degree of sympathy. For example, most Ukrainian refugees are crossing into Poland, a country still busy constructing a wall along the Belarus stretch of its border to prevent the entry of Syrians, Afghans and Iraqis. Europe’s open arms approach to refugees in the current instance has undermined the narrative pushed by politicians in recent years that Europe is unfairly burdened with too many asylum seekers it cannot afford to support.
In March 2022 award-winning investigative journalist Sally Hayden came to Intelligence Squared to discuss her investigation into the reality of the global migrant crisis, to reveal not only the shocking experiences of refugees seeking sanctuary but also the bigger picture: the negligence of NGOs, alleged corruption within the United Nations, the economics of the twenty-first-century slave trade, the EU’s bankrolling of Libyan militias and the trials of people smugglers. Drawing from her new book My Fourth Time, We Drowned she shed light on how government policy and media narratives have shaped our understanding of refugees and offered a pathway to a more constructive and compassionate system of asylum.
‘The most important work of contemporary reporting I have ever read … I hope that Sally Hayden’s work can help to begin a radically new and overdue discussion about Europe’s approach to migration and borders’
Sally Rooney, author of Normal People and Beautiful World, Where Are You?
‘Compassionate, brave, enraging, beautifully written and incredibly well researched. Hayden exposes the truth about years of grotesque abuse committed against some of the world’s most vulnerable people in all of our names’
Oliver Bullough, author of Moneyland
‘This vivid chronicle of the lives and dreams of those who risk all to cross the Mediterranean to reach Europe, may make you cry, but it should make you angry. It is not just a blistering rebuke to those who torture, rape and imprison, but to the rest of us, who turn a blind eye’
Lindsey Hilsum, International Editor of Channel 4 News and author of In Extremis
‘A veritable masterclass in journalism … The most riveting, detailed and damning account ever written on the deadliest of migration routes’
Christina Lamb, Chief Foreign Correspondent of the Sunday Times and author of Our Bodies, Their Battlefield