Mindy Bak

  • 1
  • review
  • 0
  • helpful votes
  • 15
  • ratings

Beyond Bystander - Inside today's refugee crisis

5 out of 5 stars
5 out of 5 stars
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-09-16

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Approachable, funny, honest. Bev Jackson takes us inside the refuge crisis to a place beyond her comfort zone (and ours). What if we were more than a bystander looking in helpless wonder at the refugee crisis on TV? Bev's response is to switch off the TV in helpless despair and "take the dogs for a walk." But what if ordinary people like us could reach through that TV screen and actually do something? When her month-long holiday to India is cancelled, Bev considers going to Greece instead, to Lesvos where hundreds of refugees wash ashore each day, in the largest refuge crisis since WWII. A skeptical friend inquires, "So you're going to be a disaster tourist."

Different from other books on the refuge crisis, Bev's transparency and self-deprecating humor leave us laughing at her shortcomings because they so resonate with our own. She invites us to wonder with her at the refugees' experience, the responses of local residents dismayed by refugees who hang their clothes to dry on the schoolyard fence and stand on their shoreline chilled, wet and in need of the most basic provisions. Bev invites us to wonder with her about the brave souls who have sacrificed everything (including the harsh judgments of neighbors) to meet refugees at the coast with a bottle of water and welcome, to wonder how we might respond under similar circumstances. Offering no easy answers, no guilt trips or moral imperatives, a month with Starfish changes Bev and causes we, her readers, to wonder what our life might be like beyond bystander.