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About Caroline Moorehead

Caroline Moorehead is a biographer and journalist. She wrote a fortnightly openDemocracy column telling stories of refugees and asylum-seekers between May 2002 and December 2003.

Articles by Caroline Moorehead

This week’s front page editor


Francesc Badia i Dalmases is Editor and Director of democraciaAbierta.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Sudanese adrift in Israel

A stream of asylum-seekers fleeing conflict in Sudan presents Israel with a dilemma that Europe has failed to solve, says Caroline Moorehead.

The Chaldeans of San Diego

From Baghdad to southern California, the journey of a family from one of the Middle East’s ancient communities is a modern epic of survival.

From Mexico to California, and back

Imelda and her family are economic migrants, in two directions: hunger led them to cross from Mexico to California, poverty made them return.

Y.K.L: abused in Ivory Coast, rejected in London

Y.K.L survived terrible torments in her West African homeland only to be denied asylum in Britain. On London’s streets, she joins the forgotten, global army of the displaced.

Burundi: a life in fear

In Burundi, political violence by state forces and guerrillas has killed 200,000 people in the last decade. J.R., the child of a Hutu-Tutsi marriage, survived a savage ordeal at the hands of security forces. Now in Britain, but with no right to remain, his past is a daily torment.

M.L.: Russia eats her children

M.L.’s defence of Armenians in Azerbaijan and opposition to the Chechen war marked her as an outsider in the new Russia. Her shattered family has paid a price in blood.

The never-ending journey

A family of Roma origin displaced from Kosovo to England’s north-east are facing deportation back to Pristina. For them, outsiders in their homeland, it is a fearful prospect.

Inderjeed Singh: lost in Kabul

The epic journey of a Sikh man from the Afghan city of Jalalabad to London’s Southall district ended with his deportation to Kabul by the British authorities. If this policy of forced return of Afghans becomes standard practice, what will happen to the legions of the lost in Iran and Pakistan?

Afghanistan: land of widows

The gravest long-term casualties of war in Afghanistan are not the refugees, but the many thousands who were too poor to flee. Among these internally-displaced people, women and children are hardest hit.

Uganda: women in flight

The story of three Uganda women whose suffering doesn't end when they leave their homeland.

O.N.: between limbo and the City of the Dead

Having fled to Cairo from Liberia’s civil war, ON was plucked from the mass of waiting African refugees and thrown in jail. Why, he did not know.

The peopling of London: how 'they' become 'we'

For centuries London has been a city of immigrants. Their first port of settlement has often been the East End area of Spitalfields. As a new museum opens there commemorating the impact of waves of these people – Huguenots and Jews, Bangladeshis and Irish, Poles and Chinese – Caroline Moorehead celebrates a historical process that continues to expand horizons and enrich lives in the present.

B.E.: the price of loyalty

The aftershocks of Rwanda’s genocide still shake neighbouring Congo, wrecking innocent lives. BE, now washed up on Europe’s shores, survives to bear witness.

F.A.: no home in the world

The West African state of Guinea is home to thousands of refugees, in flight from its neighbours’ wars. One mutilated teenager – born in Sierra Leone, raised in Liberia, in limbo in Guinea – has nowhere left to turn.

Between camps: the story of D.T.

The childhood of DT, a young man with a richly mixed family history from the Serbia–Macedonia borderland, was made difficult by social tensions. When these exploded on to the political stage, his life became impossible.

R.S., from Ghana to nowhere

A divided family, village brutality, and the burden of dependency make one Ghanaian’s life in exile especially lonely.

Uganda: the ordeal of W.L.

What value can be placed on law, democracy, and progress in Uganda after reading of the horrendous abuse of a farmer and his family at the hands of state forces?

Adaf: a Palestinian in Lebanon

Forty years on, Shatila’s Palestinian refugees live in limbo, without the right to have passports, own property, move on.

R.N.: shadow under the Congolese sun

A young, privileged woman of the Republic of Congo had found a place in an unsettled society. But a change of regime threw her into a spiral of distrust, arrest, torture – and exile.

Haji A.J.: returning to Afghanistan

After ten years in exile from the Taliban, this Afghan farmer has returned from Pakistan to his once prosperous farm. Now his harvest is not grapes and wheat, but unexploded shells.

A.G.: in exile from Kosovo

Mixed parentage in a divided society made this young Kosovan a target from either side in turn – and eventually forced him to flee.

Jawad: an education for life

Jawad is a young teacher of Hazara origin; the Hazara are an Afghan people who have suffered especially acutely from the repressions of the Taliban regime. After the rigours of exile in Iran and Pakistan, he is trying to rebuild his life.

Out of Uganda: the story of M.G.

A peaceful African night was the starting point of one young woman’s descent into a nightmare of violent abuse. Miraculously, she has survived to tell an awful tale.

China: beneath the lacquer

A young Chinese woman, now appealing against deportation from the UK, has paid a high price for her mother’s involvement with a banned spiritual group in her homeland.

In flight from Pakistan

Pakistan, a vaunted ally of the west in the war on terrorism, can be a place of fear and terrible brutality for those caught in the crossfire of violence.

H. O. - an asylum seeker from Istanbul

Inside Turkey’s prison system, one young man’s nightmare.

The wilderness of exile: Z.G.

Z’s epic journey from Somalia via Djibouti to Cairo, once an escape route, is now a curse. Caroline Moorehead continues to illuminate lives on globalisation’s dark side.

A.K. - a Kurd from south-east Turkey

What is it like to be a Kurd in south-east Turkey? A.K. is still, just, alive to answer the question.

The price of the past

The weight of his family’s past and a government’s maltreatment forced this young Iranian into an epic journey west. He remains fearful.

The story of Aman B.

When the killing began in Rwanda, it was not enough to be a Hutu. You had to look like one too.

Suspended in Cairo

From across Africa, they have converged on Cairo, fleeing the war, poverty and corruption that scar their continent. Cairo is their refuge, but one they wish to make a staging-post for an onward journey to a better, more peaceable life. As they wait for the single chance to turn this hope into reality, their testimonies are becoming an archive of Africa’s, and the world’s, current history.

The story of Alpha Q.

A tale for the new millennium, one boy’s journey out of Liberia, into Egypt.
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