Fitzgerald, Ali – Drawn to Berlin


Drawn to Berlin

Refugees! If you’re anything like most humans on this planet whose world hasn’t been literally or figuratively blown up, chances are that you don’t give them much thought. Or, if you’re one of far too many Americans, you want them to “go back where they came from” or only worry that they’re “taking our jobs.” Well, it turns out that refugees are people too. I know, right? This book does an excellent job of detailing Ali’s time teaching a comics class at refugee camps in Berlin. It shows the welcome the refugees got at first, how that gradually became less welcoming before becoming overtly hostile at times. The art that some of these people produced was remarkable, but just as remarkable was WHY these people were making that art. Sheer horror is oddly missing in these stories, but it doesn’t take much poking around in their art to see some of the mental scars from their journeys. Many of them left family behind, usually with no clear picture on when or even if they’ll ever see them again. In these 200 (ish) pages Ali talks about the bubble that served as a camp (it’s a literal inflatable bubble), the dangers of arson that they all faced once the general public opinion on refugees started to sour, the endless free time the refugees had to fill for themselves with no jobs or tasks, how some people grew or changed while others just vanished, and even a little bit about Ali’s love life. It’s harrowing stuff, hopeful at times but also clearly aware of the systemic problems that seem to be stopping any sort of actual solution. I’d recommend this book pretty highly to anybody who wants to see what the actual refugee experience is like, or as a gift to any giant racists that you have left in your life. $24.99

Posted on May 23, 2019, in Reviews and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a Comment.

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