Poeticizing a Story of Asylum: Refugees, Refuge, and Refuse


  • Nicholas Ng-A-Fook University of Ottawa




…the foreigner is first of all foreign to the legal language in which the duty of hospitality is formulated, the right to asylum, its limits, norms, policing, etc.  He has to ask for hospitality in a language which by definition is not his own, the one imposed on him by the master of the house, the host, the king, the lord, the authorities, the nation, the State, the father, etc.  This personage imposes on him translation into their own language, and that’s the first act of violence.

(Derrida, 2000, p. 15)

             Today, Rohingya refugees continue to flood across the Ganges-Brahmaputra Delta from Myanmar to Bangladesh.  For many of them, there is no promise of return, of reprieve, of refuge, as they seek asylum from religious persecution.  There are no homes, only hospital rooms and hallways awaiting the wounded and injured.  These are the news headlines on TV.  In a post-truth era of poll-I-ticking, liking, loving, emoji-ing, tweeting, we are, our family, myself included, failing to witness what Solnit (2013) calls elsewhere the stories of lives faraway, nearby

Author Biography

Nicholas Ng-A-Fook, University of Ottawa

Faculty of Education, Teacher Education Program, Full Professor & Director; Canadian Society for the Study of Education (CSSE), President.