Cite as: McDonald-Gibson, C., 2016, Cast Away: True Stories of Survival from Europe’s Refugee Crisis. London: Portobello Books.
Riot police patrol the borders, bodies of drowned children wash up on holiday beaches, a humanitarian disaster unfolds in refugee settlements: this is the European Union today. But how did a bloc that was founded on the values of human rights and dignity for all reach this point? And what was driving more than a million desperate people to risk their lives on the Mediterranean in the hope of finding sanctuary?
Charlotte McDonald-Gibson has spent years reporting on every aspect of Europe's refugee crisis, and Cast Away offers a vivid glimpse into the personal dilemmas, pressures, choices and hopes that lie beneath the headlines. Here, we meet five people forced from their homelands, including Nart, a Syrian lawyer who becomes an underground activist fighting the Assad regime until the risk of imprisonment and torture becomes too great. Sina is newly married and heavily pregnant when she finds herself travelling alone across three continents to escape the Eritrean dictatorship. And Hanan watches in horror as the safe world she built for her four children in Damascus collapses, and she has to entrust their lives to people smugglers.
While the politicians wrangle over responsibility, and the media talk in statistics, Cast Away brings to life the human consequences of the most urgent issue of our time.
CHARLOTTE MCDONALD-GIBSON has worked as a foreign correspondent for 14 years, reporting from three continents for the international media. From 2011 to 2013 she was Deputy Foreign Editor of the Independent, overseeing the paper's coverage of key world news events including the Arab Spring. Now based in Brussels, she writes about Europe for the Independent, TIME, and other publications. This is her first book.
‘McDonald-Gibson keenly evokes the hell of their voyages... To read these vivid stories is to understand not just the enormity of what is taking place, but the courage and desperation of those who embark on them’ Caroline Moorehead