The Other Side of Truth: Refugee Seekers

We decided to investigate a topic that touches us directly and personally both as Italians and Europeans.  Every day we hear of the arrival of people who escape from their own countries, embark on makeshift vessels to reach the shorelines of Italy, Spain and Greece to find a better future in Europe.  What do we really know of these people? Are we growing accostumed to their arrival? Are we bombarded with misinformation and negative propaganda? As you already know, the only answer to these question is that of finding as much information as possible and compare and contrast your sources.  Then you can grow independent in your thinking process and make your own opinions about any topic.  For this very reason we looked into this sad reality and we studied the differences betweeen asylum seekers, refugees, economic migrant.  We looked at different websites, we read differnt articles and we read Beverley Naidoo’s novel “The Other Side of Truth”.

Which cover do you like best? Why?

The_Other_Side_of_Truth_cover the_other_side_of_truth 129773

The novel “The Other Side of Truth” by Beverley Naidoo represents our springboard into a harrowing issue, so close to all of us.  Human beings deprived of the chance to live in a free democratic country, of leading a dignified existence, risk their lives to reach the shores of Italy and find their way in Europe.  We will look into the lives of some teenage refugees or asylum seekers who will cast some light into an aspect of our century that is so distant fromt the lives we take for granted.

Look at the following cartoons, what common message do they have?

Coffin refugees to Lampedusa

Coffin refugees to Lampedusa

138799_600 473298-mark-knight-0808 ClimateRefugees_BannerSocial advertising is used by non-governmental organizations to raise people’s awareness to social ills and discrimination, to problems that plague and affect mankind, among which there is the dreadful and appalling reality of people forced to leave their countries to survive.  Look at the following ads and mention which makes you reflect the most and why.

ckhieymwiaajnor b543831cdd555cd18e224721c5173f6d spot-the-refugee 848e7f818ace4c9ef2fdf9cc56f29b5cWe tried to dispel misconceptions and myths about refugees, yet there are still some resistances aren’t there?  There are still lots of people, in our families too, that may think that refugees represent a threat to our society.

Reading “The Other Side of Truth” certainly helped us experience what some young people have to go through when their families try to “smuggle them” into another country to safe their children’s life, to give them a future they as adults are perhaps deprived of.  We asked ourselves “What does it mean to be a refugee?” “How does that feel?”

There is also an application called “My Life as a Refugee” that you can download. What do you think of it?  Do you think it proper or improper? Why?

i-hope

Last but not least we reflected upon the meaning of having a home.  This profound musing was eased by a wonderful poem by Warsan Shire entitled “Home”.

This poem inspired some of your older school mates to do the following project.

The following are some of your digital products prompted and sparked by the reading of the novel.  I am very proud of you.

 

See on Tackk

I would like you now to focus on the possible activities you can create on “The Other Side of Truth”. You can work individually or in pairs. You need to get organized because you are recommended to diversify the activities so that all of them are covered.

  • Create a Book Trailer (You may want to write a script that somehow encapsulates the core theme of the book and act it out. You can use different applications: Screencast-O-Matic, Adobe Spark, Animoto, VoiceThread) or a Book Review (You write a review and then you shoot a video showing the book and urging other adolescents to read the book. You could read an important short passage and mention why the book, in your opinion, should be read).

This is what a student wrote for the School Library Journal:

With political insight, sensitivity, and passion, Naidoo presents the harrowing story of two Nigerian children caught in the civil strife of their beloved homeland in the mid-1990s. Eighth-grader Sade Solaja and her fifth-grade brother, Femi, are hastily stowed out of Nigeria after their mother is shot and killed by assassins’ bullets meant for their outspoken journalist father. The children are abandoned in London and are unable to locate their uncle, a university professor who has been threatened and has gone into hiding. Picked up first by the police and then by immigration authorities, the youngsters remain silent, afraid to reveal their true names and background. They are placed in a foster home where kindness does not relieve their loneliness and alienation. School is a frightening plunge into Western culture, relaxed discipline, ethnic harassment, and peer intimidation. When their father, who has illegally entered the country, contacts them from a detention center, the children are jubilant. However, their excitement is overshadowed by his imprisonment and subsequent hunger strike. Sade enacts a plan to tell “Mr. Seven O’Clock News” her father’s story. Public attention and support follow, prompting his release. Tension and hope alternately drive the story as Sade and Femi grapple with an avalanche of decisions, disappointments, and discoveries. Traditions temper Sade’s despair as she remembers times at Family House in Ibadan, and her mother’s quiet admonition to be true to yourself. Through these compelling characters, Naidoo has captured and revealed the personal anguish and universality of the refugee experience.

Gerry Larson, Durham School of the Arts, NC

  • You are a journalist and you interview Femi and Sade: What is it like to be a refugee? What are the main differences between their life back home and her life in London? What are the things that baffle them about living in the UK?, etc. (This activity is meant for three students. Use the application Spreaker)
  • You are a Journalist and you interview the writer Beverley Naidoo.  Ask her questions about her novel “The Other Side of Truth” and about her writing and life in general.
  • You are a Journalist and you interview Sade and Femi’s father, who is a journalist himself.  You visit him in the detention centre.  Ask him questions about Nigeria, about his wife’s murder, about the future of his children, about his hope for the future, etc.
  • Write one page of the diary either of Sade’s or of Femi’s.  You choose the event you want to write about.  This is about self-reflective writing, so the way you respond to important life’s experiences and challenges, your response to thoughts and feelings, a way of making meaning out of what happened to you, an opportunity to gain self-knowledge, a way to achieve clarity and better understanding of what your life is.
  • Write a poem about the difficulties of being accepted in a foreign country and of being an asylum seeker.
  • Create a video to sensitize people to the issue of escaping from a country to seek help and refuge in another country.  This video should promote awareness of the difficulties faced by children who are sent or taken to another country to see their lives spared, it should also have some of the effective features of social advertising.

 

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56 risposte a The Other Side of Truth: Refugee Seekers

  1. Emma Borsoi scrive:

    Lots of people nowadays are obliged to leave their country and to move to other places. Also in Italy we can hear everyday about many refugees who arrive on our coasts with vessels. Many of them are children or pregnant women. The story of the book “the other side of truth” represents really good how a refugee feels like, especially through the eyes of a child. I think that the best cover for this book is the last one, because it contains all the important elements of the story, like the plane, the coin and the flag to represent the UK, where the two children are going to fly.
    I think the cartoons are similar because they have in common the fact that the life as a refugee is not easy because they can die at any time of their journey. In the first cartoon people are sailing to Lampedusa on a coffin and they are really scared. The second cartoon represent the European Union like a big wall and people must to pass through the sea walking on a wire. Under the wire there is a skull in the water and lots of people are falling into it. The third cartoon is like the “game of the goose” and when you finish the game, you have to restart it from the beginning.
    If we think about refugees, we can only imagine their poor conditions of life, but there are people that think that they represent a threat to our country and to our society. I think this is because when they arrive in a country, they have nothing, so they need a place to sleep and sometimes also a job, the children have to go to school like the others and so on…
    The application “life as a refugee” makes you thinking as if you were a refugee, but I think this is not really proper. It is obvious that no one would like to live like a refugee. If we think about all the things we have, can we imagine ourselves without anything?

  2. Daria Ianni scrive:

    The cartoons all focus on the fact that the journey refugees have to make to flee their countries and reach safer lands in order to safeguard their lives are highly and dramaticly dangerous. When refugees decide to get on those boats, the situation in their homeland is so desperate and intolerable that they are willing to expose themselves and their families to a gigantic risk of dying at sea, just in order to be able to escape. This is how bad they want it. The urge these people have to leave their countries when they are at war has sadly become a lucrative business, ruled by unscrupolous men who often take advantage of the desperation of these people, asking them exaggerated amounts of money to get them out of the country illegally.
    The ad which made me reflect the most is the “Spot the refugee” one. That is because I think we all have a distorted idea of what a refugee is. We see them as a separated human cathegory from us, we feel, both phisically and morally, a million miles away from them. But we often forget, especially when we make considerations about whether we should let them enter the Italian territory or not, that they are human beings, just like us. They are suffering, probably more than we ever will. They are just looking for peace, as it is normal to do. There is no difference between them and us, if we should find ourselves in a similar situation, with our country at war, our houses destroyed by bombs and our lives torn apart.
    I think the application “ My life as a Refugee” can be useful for the fact that it informs people about the conditions of refugees and it makes people understand their situation better, but, honestly, I don’t really like it. I don’t think a tragic humanitarian emergency like this should be exploited this way to create something that is basicly a form of entertainment for luckier people like us, and to make money out of an application for IPhones. I think there are better and more respectful ways to get informations about refugees and I personally would never download an app like that.

  3. Anna Avesani scrive:

    I like best the first cover, it immediately catch my attention. The gaze of the girl is very powerful: it is like she is speaking to us through her eyes, she is trying to say something very important to the reader.
    Her eyes denote suffering and they are shining. She is not smiling at all and she looks very serious; she is just one of the thousand people who nowadays decide to risk life.
    Cartoons, and especially the book “The other side of truth” made me reflect upon something that I have never thought before: how it feels being to the other part, to be one who has to escape from home because every place is safer than the cradle you used to live. Immediately all the certainties you had until this moment vanish into the air. You are afraid of what it is going on and you miss all the affection you used to have.
    Sometimes we tend to marginalize refuges because we think they damage our society; but they do not have even a voice. It is very representative by the image where there is one person isolated and all the other people beside, not even noticing him.
    I think we are very good at speaking, but no one of us can really know what it is like being a refugee unless you live this experience; sometimes words are not enough, they are very powerful but of course it is not the same being in that situation.
    I imagine it is like to start a new life, to fight a battle: you do not know how strong you are, you do not if you are going to survive or not. You do not know you if are going to save all the people you love and you do not have any help. You are just there clench your teeth hoping for the best but expecting the worse.
    Being a refugee is not a game, we are talking about the thin border between life and death.
    And of course we should all learn to think before speaking, try to do our best to understand what it is being a refugee and help those people who are less fortunate that us just because they are born in a different place where they do not have the same opportunities that sometimes we take for granted.

  4. Luca Musolla scrive:

    There are different pictures, but all of them have the same meaning: those cartoons represents how much desperate are the emigrants when they live their country, risking life to reach Europe crossing Mediterranean see. In the first picture are represented some emigrants inside a coffin on the sea, in the second one is painted a skull on the sea.
    The meaning of these pictures is that for most of these people there no way to survive during the travel.
    Between the three images the one that made me reflect the most is the firts one, where there is a man alone and around him a lot of people that ignore his lonelyness. He feels sad and he needs to find the right way to restart in a new society, and someone to follow that could help him.
    Be a refugee means leave the own country, lose a family, change lifestyle, go in a place where you don’t know everyting and nobody and restart from the beginning.
    I can’t say how does that feel, because it is something that just who tryes it can know. Surely is something traumatic, in particular for young people that dream a better future.

  5. Marta Manfrin scrive:

    The cover of a book is something important, it is part of the book itself and cannot be overlooked. Let’s suppose you are in a bookshop, you read a great review on the web about a book, whose title is “The other side of truth” by Beverly Naidoo and you absolutely want to buy it and start reading it. But there is a problem: there are three possible cover of the same book and you have to make choice, obviously. You will probably buy the book with the cover that likes you more, perhaps because it is of your favourite colour. Anyway, you make a superficial choice, because you still have to read the book and you cannot do anyway.
    Now let’s suppose that a few weeks later, after having read and loved the novel, you go back to the same bookshop, because you heard about a sequel and you want to buy it. In the shop you find the same book you have just finished to read, “The other side of truth” was the title. There are always the three covers and you reflect about the choice you did. Yes, you have definitely chosen the nicest one, the one in orange and yellow. Nevertheless, today you notice another one that maybe is not as beautiful as the other one, but has something more that catch your attention. It is the green cover; it is a nice cover, but is has something more. It has the quality that every cover should have…it represent better the story of the book.
    If you could go back in time, you would change the book, but we can’t. You would buy the green one because it shows you the two main moments of the book: first it makes you see the part in Nigeria: you see a little child and in the background you can see a place that looks like Nigeria. Than your eyes go down and the cover shows you the second place that the book deals with: London! You see the same child in a different background. You can see a big town, with tall skyscrapers and we immediately think of London, because the second part of the novel is set there.
    These are the important qualities that should be in the cover of a book: first of all beauty, because a cover is the first thing you see of a book and the first impression in important. On the other hand we should find something than in an imagine can resume the main point of the book and to me, the green cover, is the best one.
    All the covers and the book itself speak about the travel to escape from a country. We can also take into consideration the cartoons that explain very well this aim.
    These cartoons are all about refugees and they describe the dangerous and threatening travels they do to escape from their homes. The cartoons highlight the dangerousness that these people has to face. Many people every day die to flee from their country and reach another safer place. I think that all the four cartoons, and in particular the first and the second one face in a very efficient way the high risk of death that the refugees face. The horrible thing is that these people are forced to live the country to survive, but at the same time they have no kind of confirm about what they will find after leaving their country.
    We can also take into consideration the ads. They are all very meaningful, but I personally think that second one is the one which conveys the message better. It shows a group of people; everyone owns something excepted for one. This one is a refugee. This ad made me think about the condition of the refugees: the do not own anything because they lost everything. They had to leave their goods in their country to flee and the had to leave their whole life in their places to escape and to restart another life. I thing no one would like to restart the life from scratch, especially those people who had a great life in their country. But unfortunately they had to escape, to survive, and they lost everything. It is something that made me reflect: lots of refugees have nothing because they lost everything.
    We can find all these issues in “The other side of truth”; Reading “The Other Side of Truth” certainly helped us experience what some young people have to go through when their families try to “smuggle them” into another country to safe their children’s life, to give them a future they as adults are perhaps deprived of. Refugees have to face important moment that we will never perhaps have to do in our life: making choices that will not just change our life, but that will change it from life to death or vice versa. They obviously try to choose the best thing for themselves, sometimes not knowing what some choices can bring of. Sometimes the refugees do not think about what they can find outside their country. They just know that if they do not flee, they will certainly die…I think they base their actions on this: every action is better that staying at home. There is also an application called “My life as a refugee” that you can download on your smartphone. I personally think that when you are in a situation where everything is a matter of life and death, you do not think about an application. Nevertheless, I think this app could help other people, like Italian for example, to realise what those people are facing and what are the difficulties of being a refugee.

  6. Gioia Magliaretta scrive:

    The ways for the refugees to escape war, harsh living conditions are not easy at all. They have to cross the sea on precarious boats, all pressed together for days. And so the boats becomes their coffins and the sea their grave. They have to endure tough journeys without knowing if there will be a tomorrow or if they will reach their destinations.
    But even when they succeed, their life will not be easy. Of course it will be better than before, but they will be alone in a different country where the majority of people will not help them and instead will turn their back and proceed with their lives as if nothing happened. This fact is perfecly represented in the first ad and it makes me reflect the most because it really expresses the indifference of people nowadays.

  7. Annalisa Guerra scrive:

    Even if the first images are cartooned, they all convey important messages both to young people and to older people. This is, in my opinion, the power of cartoons. They can properly “translate” important issues in colored images. This is what they are meant for. The first image represents a group of refugees embarked in a coffin. People are sailing, directed to Lampedusa, hoping for a better future. But will they manage to achieve their goal? The second image, the strongest in my opinion, represents two “islands” made of cement, in the middle of the sea. The first is smaller, there are refugees on it. It embodies their nation, destroyed by the civil war. The second has the EU flag on it. It is the place the refugees are trying to reach for, by walking on a rope connected to it over the sea, that embodies death. We can notice this by having a glance to the skull drawn by the waves of the sea. The third image is the one I liked less. I did not appreciate the fact of considering immigration as a game. All those families have different stories, but they all have lived dreadful moments, and they have to be respected for this reason. I have nothing to say about this image, I consider it offensive. All these images carry an important message: refugees who travel to the European Union are not that safe! They are risking their lives to have better life conditions. In some cases, the journey can have a happy ending, but in the majority of the situations the “journey of hope” can turn into a living hell, the bitter death for everyone.
    The advertisements representing the issue of immigration with Lego men are powerful, too. The most striking one is, in my opinion, the third one. It is entitled “spot the refugee”, and it is important because it deals with one of the biggest problems among our society: sticking labels on people, judging them basing ourselves on the exterior aspect. We have a look on the image, and we see these Lego men, one next to one another. All nice-looking people, with beautiful clothes, beautiful faces. Going onwards watching carefully, we bump into a man with a black moustache and plain clothes. People tend to consider him as the refugee, because of his unworthy looks. That is what happens to us in the reality, not necessarily with refugees, but also with other people: we see someone who is not that nice in his/her physical aspect, and we suddenly label this person as the “bad person”, the “unworthy person” or as a “criminal”. This is our biggest flaw: we have few knowledge, but we think we know everything, or we pretend to. We make mistakes, because even an engineer in suit and tie, with his beard shaved and with a Gucci’s jacket can be a thief or a terrorist. Who said that if I wear a pair of ripped jeans or a large or faded sweater, I am a bad person? The society. So, stop labeling people. That is why, in my opinion, with this image we discover our misconception, how we are ignorant.
    Watching the video of UNHCR, I happened to know that there is an application, “my life as a refugee”, that can be downloaded on the smartphone. It is a kind of game, where you choose your character (it is based on real stories lived by these characters) and you live their same story. I think that this is the most inappropriate thing that a person can invent. It is terrible! How can a person play a game based on dreadful stories, made of suffering, blood and death? This is not going to raise people’s consciousness, it is only going to make people believing that refugees’ stories are a game. I think this app should not be available in the Apple store/Google Play Store any longer.

  8. Andrea Dreon scrive:

    Every day I take a lot of decisions but I realize that not too far away from me there are people whose decisions can cause death. I am a person who likes to speak his mind, confront and discuss rather than keep my thoughts to myself but, as it would no longer be able to do? Any child, boy or person who is prevented to think and speak freely loses a part of life because only exchanging ideas with others you learn something. This also applies to the political ideas. I could never do not feel safe at home, but I would not even have to run away from my country. How can a person decide whether to risk death or not? No child should be private childhood to go to fight against something in which even believes and even mom or dad. A child is a child anywhere. Every person is a person anywhere.
    The only way to learn more about the way of life of refugees is reading books, watching television news and follow the numerous advertisements about.
    Between the two covers of “The other side of truth” I prefer the second one, the one with the faces in the foreground. When I read a book I imagine the protagonists in the head and being able to have a picture of them on the cover is lovely. I also think the eyes of the girl represented speak and contain all the suffering and effort. The two places in the background underline how the same girl can adapt to two different environments completions. After reading the book I understand the references to the plot of the book given in the cover and also the many hidden meanings.
    All advertising around us regarding the refugees have all in common the link between their homeland and the place where they will be welcomed. All these images represent the danger of this trip. This trip should lead to salvation but many times it leads to death. We define ourselves as citizens of the world, all the same and with the same rights but in almost all of these images there is a definite distinction between the two continents. Only in the last image the person is literally inserted into the world. In the first image, which is the one I understood better, the eyes of the people are represented with fear and insecurity. According to me, we ,inhabitants of the other country, cannot understand at all what it means to be arrived here for these people and that is why perhaps, sometimes, we are not ready to welcome them.
    The add that made me think was the one about an excluded person. When I imagine how it would be to relocate to another country, with another language and another culture I feel afraid. My biggest fear is in fact to feel alone with so many people around. I think that this is what feel refugees. I imagine a father at work that knows no one, insulted and excluded but he bears it all for his family. This is the image that I’ve created in my mind in the last period about people arriving in my country: people full of courage, strong and so sad. It is for this reason that this add strikes me, it represents my fear and my thoughts about refugees at the same time.
    It has been also created an app to allow people to feel like refugees. Although for this generation based on technology this is a good idea, I believe that no one will ever understand emotions and feelings without living them. If I were a refugee this app would very annoyed me because I would feel as an idea for business. The situation with this new idea seems less critical, in my opinion.

  9. Luca Pasquali scrive:

    Over that I like the best is the third one because I like the way it is “organised”.
    In the foreground there are two African people, probably the protagonists of the book, that are holding hands; behind them there is a fading Union Jack, the flag of the place where the story is set. Near the two figures there is an African statue that connects to the homeland of the protagonists.
    I like this cover the best because, differently from the other two, it is drawn like a cartoon, an unreal thing, (actually this story is not real) but we all know that this type of things happen every day.
    While I was looking at the three cartoons I understood that all these images where about the refugees and the difficulties the face to live in a better place. They are obliged to move by wars, poverty or political reasons.
    In the first image we can see refugees into a coffin-boat; this is a way to say that in most cases that is their last journey. Even if they know this, they pile up the money of an entire life to try to “move” to another country because their life in their homeland has been destroyed.
    In the second cartoon is represented the situation of Universal Europe; the refugees, as in the first image, face death trying to move to another place. In this image there is a skull drawn on the ocean and a sign with a skull on he island where the refugees are; I think that this means that they have to run away from death, even if it tries to “hinder” their way.
    The third image represents the refugees’ situation like a board game where they start (from their homeland), find a “nice” person that helps them travelling overseas. At the end of this game, they risk to return to their homeland, demonstrating that their trip was a waste of time and money.
    The images with the LEGOs made me reflect a lot; in the first image is represented a man/woman who has been isolated by other people because he/she is a refugee.
    I think that nobody should feel all this sorrow because if we isolate all the others then we take them away the night to create a new life, because two images highlights the fact that refugees are normal people like all of us and so why are we so indifferent towards those who need more help than others?
    I think that being a refugee is one of the worst things of life. It is Unhuman to force people doing things without their desire.
    Everyday we hear at the news thousand and thousand of dead because they were escaping from war on a boat, herded like animals.
    But the worst thing is when you are aware of the fact that if you make that trip, at 90% you will die.
    If I were a refugee I think that I would not be able to bear all this sorrow.

  10. Nicole Pierri scrive:

    Refugees encounter the struggle of a journey to find freedom, a new country to call home, or a place where they can feel at ease. A journey that not always means to be safe, on contrary, people die in these processes. Seas, sometimes, become man’s worst enemy. That, in my opinion, is the common hidden message of the three pictures. Every refugee takes part of a journey that is bigger than their life, too big to survive sometimes.
    The “Lego’s” ads that makes me reflect the most is the second one, because this refugee does not just have a tool, he does not have anything, no longer at least. He is bare of every possession he had, even his family or his house. He is bare of any feeling, he is lost, disoriented. As the ads say, overnight people, like him, loose all they had, unaware of it; because of their country, because of war. What have they done to find themselves in those situations?
    I think the application “My Life as a Refugee” is slightly overwhelming. Overwhelming because of that question, which is repeated over and over: “What would you do?”; I don’t know. I don’t know, all I can think is death. If I stay I will probably risk my life, but even if I leave I could die too.
    Mourning over those lives will not make any difference, we need to stand for our and their rights, we need to fight for them, we need to understand them, first of all. But how can we understand them? Empathy is a noble virtue, but sadly not all human beings have it.
    I am conflicted, for some reasons it is a proper app; for example, it wakes people up, making them aware of the problems our world is encountering. But for other reasons it is improper, for example, as in my case, it is pretty overwhelming or raw and not all people are used to it.

  11. Giorgia Tesolin scrive:

    We are the first ones to say we are all human beings, with the same rights and duties, but the last ones to worry about this is actually happening.
    We live in a world run by preconceptions about foreigners, without even knowing who they are and for which reasons they are fleeing from: if one of them steals, then all of them are robbers.
    I know of parents who take more care of the proportion of foreigners in their offsprings’s classes than the guarantee of a better future for them and a great schooling.
    We are bombarded with newspapers and television news programmes which report just what those in power want us to know: we are unable to to think on our own anymore and reflect upon how much our life and survival are worthy.
    All the cartoons show us that the first challenge for refugees seekers is the sea, originally with the true meaning, which is “a large area of salt water”. A lot of families, believing in hypocrite man’s words who promises them freedom in on other country, get on unsafe boat, in fact in the first cartoon it is represented as a coffin, try to achieve the shorelines of Italy, above all Lampedusa.
    Problems do not end once time they have crossed the “thin thread”, as the second cartoon depicts, which separate refugees from Europeans.
    In fact, once time they are in a new country, discrimination is one of the difficulties they will have to face up to and this makes social ills.
    The first one, of the four next ads, makes me reflect the most upon our/my actions. Each one of us, in our own ways, some more, some less is unconcerned in the face of this situation of marginalisation and racism.
    We are quick to recognise and immigrant among us, but as soon as we are being asked to integrate them into society, we are just able to show our back, without doing and saying anything.
    Being a refugee means have everything you need and one minute later have nothing to left; see that everything sorrounds you is wiped out and your friends are forced to flee.
    I can just thinking about these things because I can not imagine how their life really is.
    Nowadays, even if in our society there still people, as my grandparents, that are convinced refugees are an obstruction for the society, we often reflect upon this issue at school by reading articles, books, watching videos or reading poems.
    For example, I read “The other side of truth” by Beverley Naidoo. On the second cover there is a foreground of Sade, the main character. It is the cover I like the most because looking at it, I can not find differences between her and every other girl, boy, adult, elderly man that is. There she is not different from anyone humans beings because she is an human being, as all refugees.
    But books are not the only way to speak about this issue. There is also an application called “My life as refugee”; where you are forced to make choices which can risk your own life. I think it is proper to understand the life of a refugee for everybody, in a different way from the others be used we can not really understand them but if we know something, we can help them.

  12. Asia Manzato scrive:

    Personally, I liked best the second book cover, the one in green and black colour, because it represents a face of a black girl from the two different perspectives: the right one and the left one, because in this way the picture perfectly fits what the title of the novel is. Then, I found really intelligent the choice of the girl looking straight into the eyes of the reader because my first impact on this view was the one of looking her gaze and immediately understand that it is a very controversial one: on one hand she seems to be very needy and undefeded, but on the other hand she infuses to us a perseption of extreme determination. Then, only after having read the whole book the reader, can understand that the girl in the cover is probably Sade, the little protagonist who has proved everybody that even if she has been undefended during the whole plot she had the great courage of winning against all the impediments she had to face.
    “The other side of truth” is a wonderful novel about refugees: but what does being a refugee mean, then? I must admit I truly believe that only a person who has felt that cruel situation on his own skin can properly define it; anyway, I consider the idea of having to leave the place which has always been your home to escape from an unbareable condition of life, one of the most terrible things someone can experiment in life. Being obliged to try to restart another life to survive necessarily means losing everything you managed to build since you were a child: your house, your job, your relationships, your money and, most of the times, your family too, to go somewhere you cannot really know. So, in this way you also become aware of the fact that almost no nations wants you to arrive there in that your condition of poverty and pecariousness because you would be only a problem for that country.
    Then, being a refugee makes you fell like a small fly that everybody hurries on drive away because you are considered really vulnerable and therefor easy to manipulate: you, refugee, are constantly in a condition of extreme uncertainty and precarity that makes your attempt to a new life a sort of impossible personal challenge. And yet, the common message of the four cartoons to me is definitely this. The fickleness due to the loss of every certainty that every human being should have as the right of a house or a degnified life.
    This general condition of isolation that concerns refugees is well resumed from the advertisement intitoled ” How does it feel?”, in which is rapresented a big mass of people who avoid any form of contact with the only one refugee. And this is exactly what happens to the person who has to leave home: everyone turns his back on and the poor refuge who would need help is, instead, completely abandond.
    I want to conclude this my comment with a short consideration about the poem “Home” by Warsan Shire only to say that when I first listen to it my chest started shaking for the big impact the poem has to me. I believe every words to describe the power of this poetry could sound useless as far as my only thought at the end of this wonderful video was “Everybody should listen to these words. Everybody should.”

  13. Matteo Basso scrive:

    We think we know everything about refugees and immigrants, but indeed we are full of prejudices that make us think we know all of them: only in rare cases our prejudices are right, to 95% we are wrong. We must change and abolish these behavior, because only in this way we could live better.
    We can live in peace together because we are all human: a white person is human, a black person is human and so on. But are we growing accostumed to the arrival of immigrants? In my opinion we are not, because I see lot of ignorance and disinformation in this issue. I am the first one who is disinformated, but my suggestion is that every single rich country in the world try to accept migrants it would be better because we can split them to have more order and live in peace and better, as I said before. One cause of this ignorance is because of media and social media: we are bombarded with negative propaganda and, in the majority of the cases, the news are not complete and this situation feeds disinformation.
    The cartoons posted up in the blog deal with the journey that immigrants do to escape from war or to build a new future. In common, they have the message: an immigrant has to travel through the sea and ocean and he/she risks his/her life during the trip. We don’t have to understimate this problem, because every day thousands of people face death and these cartoons try to make us reflect upon this.
    The ad that makes me reflect the most is the first one, where there is the question “How it feel?”. This ad make me think since at the first sight because I see a distant person respect from others and he is alone while the others are talking or doing stuff: it gives an incredible sense of loneliness, isn’t it? Then I read what the ad said and I started my thinking process: I identify myself with the person who is alone and it was awful. I think if we try to identify with these people, a solution would came out.
    Being a refugee means struggle: you have to leave what you own and also your family and relatives to travel and risk your life searchung happiness and a better future. It means also doubt and risk for the reasons that a refugee is not sure of his future and his/her life. How does it feels? I can’t know properly, I can only imagine and I suppose you have to be very strong both mentally and phisically to face the multitude of difficulties. You might be very scared of death, sad, insicure and so on. You might feel hundreads emotions or even no one. I can’t say it surely, I have the fortune of being a student and not a refugee: only who lives this situation can explain how does it feel.

  14. Giulia Santarossa scrive:

    In the last few years I began growing more interested in the world around me: now I watch the news, sometimes read the papers and look for information on the internet. Many important and striking events and situations have followed one another in a rush in the recent past, as it is normal to be on a planet that shifts its shape within months. One of these occurrences is a common denominator among months, though: migration. Through medias, we are bombed by loads of data regarding whatever number of people fleeing for the whatever time in this month towards whatever European country. But, paradoxically, the more we bump into the migrant issue, the less we really know about it. That happens because instead of feeling emotionally involved by the unnatural exoduses of these poor people and feeling the seriousness of the problem, as soon as we hear the words “migrant” or “refugee”, we link them to detached and incorporeal numbers, no more and no less of those reported by journalists yesterday or a week ago, making the importance of each one of these men fade in the unclear shadow of numerals. I bet that if a sample of common people was asked to state from which countries emigrate the majority of people and why this happens, they would not be able to give an answer. I for one. Why? Because, especially on television, rather than casting light on the roots of this endless migration, reporters and politicians egoistically focus just on the effect these arrivals will have on their nation (where will migrants stay and who will pay for their needs). This wrong hierarchy of information brings about several misunderstandings and misinformation among the citizens, who cannot possibly grow accustomed to something that is perceived as a dangerous invasion to be stopped by walls and return flights.
    Luckily enough, these sources of information are not the only ones, even if they are the most spread. Literature, satire, advertisement and technological products can offer a point of view of the issue different from the mainstream one, if only taken into consideration. For example, the novel by Beverley Naidoo conveys the dramatic nature of being obliged to escape from your homeland, leaving all your memories behind, in favour of starting a brand-new life in an unknown country that treats you as an intruder (I think that this bewilderment is beautifully caught in the significant eyes of the children portraited in the second book cover, which is my favourite one).
    The satiric cartoons tend to a sad message, which I believe can be summed up by the words “risky attempt”. That of the migrants is in fact an attempt to survive, the last and painful risky possibility they have to escape from certain death, hoping for acceptance once reached the opposite shore of the Mediterranean. It is an act of bravery, it means leaving certainties in favour of loads of question marks. Where am I going? Why am I here? Will I survive? Questions that pound into the heads of refugees during their journey on those makeshift rafts that embody paradoxically both their unique rebirth and the starting point of their future sorrows.
    Social advertisement is something I never happened to analyse before. I have already heard of UNHCR association before, but I did not think they advertise themselves through these apparently fun, but really powerful images. The one that gives me more food for my thoughts is the first one, which manages to represent clearly the isolation that marks the life of a migrant. I have not experienced anything like ghettoization in my life, but I can easily image how feeling all the people turning their backs to you must be like. Loneliness is one of the most lethal plagues of humanity, and if it is unjustified, or what’s even worst based on prejudices, it an unbearable burden to carry on the already-tired shoulders of poor migrants. The message written below is certainly not less striking than the picture. It makes you realise how unhuman is looking someone that once had a basic life similar to yours as a threaten just because he is not a compatriot of yours. I like what is written even because it highlights the importance of every little, free and apparently innocent gesture, such as a smile or a greeting, usually taken for granted, but that to someone who is used to get just nasty looks can mean the world.
    UNHCR developed also an application which revolves around decisions: it has been created as a role play based on “what ifs”, in which the player identifies with a refugee and is asked what he would do if he was in his shoes. I think that this was a very clever idea of the ONU association, because it reminds people that being a refugee is a state no one chooses for himself and feeling unbearably persecuted can happen to all people in all countries. It works therefore as a reminder of the fact that no one is born “immune” of this possibility and so raises men’s awareness of living for real the common saying “do not do to others what you would not like them do to you”.
    In conclusion, the issue of refugee is a sad painting rich in hues and light and darks, covered by layers of dust collected by loads of misinformation. It is up to us wiping it out, by comparing our sources in order to find out the truth, by developing a true and active interest towards these poor people and by involving them in our society that defines itself as civilized, but is it really so?

  15. Matteo Chiviló scrive:

    Look at the following cartoons, what common message do they have?

    They are four cartoons, they are four several images. But they are about the same issue and were meant to convey the identical message. The first one depicts a group of refugees who is trying to reach the island of Lampedusa, which belongs to Italy and therefore to Europe. All these refugees are trying to reach the shoreline on a floating coffin. The second cartoon portrays refugees who move from a platform, which represents their countries, to a bigger platform, which is Europe. On the former platform there is a billboard with a skull painted on it, which means ‘death’. In the image,the asylum seekers move from their countries to Europe on a wire, which is suspended on the sea that swirls and gets the shape of a skull. The third image describes, with other small images, the typical journey refugees do. It resorts to the table game “snakes and ladders”. This is an interesting way to convey the message that, most of the times, when asylum seekers think their journey is over, they are involved instead in the same dangerous setting as before, but in a different place. The last image is about climate refugees. There is a writing “climate refugees”, indeed, and beside it there is a boy on whose face planet Earth is painted. The common issues of these four cartoons which I can spot are the following: first of all, they are all about the journey of asylum seekers/refugees, obviously. The other one is that they escape a dangerous situation in their country going through a more dangerous one risking death. The third one, instead, is that they leave their countries, because they cannot do otherwise, in order to live a normal life like ours, therefore in freedom and democracy.

    Look at the following ads and mention which makes you reflect the most and why.

    The image that makes me reflect the most, that triggers a deep thinking process in my mind is the one depicting a woman doing the laundry in the middle of the desert. She stands by a wash tub and holds a red sock that has run and stained the rest of her washing, a t-shirt. There is even a writing on the top of the photo: “Refugees would like to have the same problems you have”. This image seems like it was meant to teach me something that I should really learn, but of course it does not teach just to me. Nowadays, it is common, even from me, to hear phrases like “There are just problems in my life”, “My life is a disaster, I cannot do it any more”, “I cannot live in peace any longer, I’m so overwhelmed, I’m under so much pressure”, so on so forth. Whereas, at the same time, there are people, whole populations who are trying to escape death every second of their lives. Many of them die, other people maybe survive and everyone of our society is still complaining about the small challenges life compels us to overcome. Instead, we all shall think that there is always someone who is not so blessed as we are. On the other hand, sometimes, the fact that we complain about trifles makes me think that we are so lucky to have the possibility to behave like that. If we can take into consideration such silly problems, it means we are happy, we live in a free and democratic society, where we all can speak out our point of view on things, but above all, it means that we are safe and not in danger of life. That is not to take for granted, because most of the people in the rest of the world are in danger of life at the same time. This could be an opportunity to start helping the ones life has not given a lot to, in order to become a always more complete and happier society, in which everyone can decide, freely, what to do of his/her life.

    There is also an application called “My life as a refugee” that you can download. What do you think of it? Do you think it proper or improper? Why?

    I think “My life as a refugee” can be a good and smart way to make your person more aware and responsible with just the touch of a digital screen. It has the purpose to plunge your mind into a reality, that is either different and inconceivable. It can open your mind and tear down its barriers, help you to abolish stereotypes and make you aware of what is going on outside your own life. With this application, which is actually a game, everyone can understand in a deep way what to be a refugee could bring about, all with the help of a virtual reality. It teaches us all, moreover, that no one needs to make big efforts to get to know things as they really are. After all, nowadays, we have got such useful and clever tools, but we do not know how to use them in a useful and clever way.

  16. Erika Cerutti scrive:

    A refugee’s life is no joke, it’s stunning how people always seem to forget it, running their mouths without stopping to think about the risks this poor people have to face daily, both while on the run and after having reached “safety”. The journey, in fact, is not safe and is indeed incredibly perilous. These three cartoons greatly convey that message.
    As Warsan Shire wrote, only a desperate person who can no longer call their birthplace “home” would be willing to flee their homeland, leave behind each and every known and beloved little thing, to reach the unknown. The helplessness of thousands of refugees before such a hostile fate, who are obliged by their own homes to set sail, is depicted clearly in these cartoons. Their journey is like playing russian roulette, the only exception being certain death if refusing to play and more chances of survival if accepting. Even so, the chances are just a few and death is always a creeping figure in the cartoons as much as in real life.

    UNHCR surely plays a big role in some refugees’ lives but there are still thousands that would need help. Their ads against discrimination, though, are cleverly thought-provoking and manage to hit the nail on the head. The one that struck me the most, is the one that urges the viewer to spot the refugee among a group of 48 lego characters. At a glance I wasn’t able to find anyone that could strike me as a refugee and I was rather confused as of what could possibly sell them out. The text of course enlightened me. A moustache could be seen as rather common but the message isn’t hard to get. Appearance is fundamental in our society and usually is tied to stereotypes: the refugee looks scruffy whereas a normal citizen is always flawless. Skin color, facial hair and clothes become allarming signs and people refrain from having actual civilized human contact with them, but maybe the young lady wearing proudly her hijab was born in Italy and the average-looking man at the post office is a refugee from Syria.
    If on the one hand I am pleased with UNHCR’s ads, on the other hand I have to disagree with their application “My Life as a Refugee”. Curious to try it and confused about its usefulness, I downloaded it. «This is no game» is written at the end, but that was exactly what it looked to me as I kept clicking «see what happens next» repeatedly. A quick-paced game with no real emotion in it, clearly meant to poorly simplify the life of a refugee and represent the organization in a good light. But UNHCR is no knight in shining armor and many people go through appalling situations that only a refugee could really understand, with no help and no future. No application could ever give us the chance to experience how it feels to be so desperate to say goodbye to our world to leap into the unknown and “My Life as a Refugee” certainly didn’t even manage to scratch the surface of such desperation.

  17. Bravin Federica scrive:

    The Other Side of Truth is a novel written by Beverley Naidoo, between the three covers of the book, I personally prefer the second one, because I think that it explains at best what truth is all about, in fact truth has two faces and on the cover there are two sides of one face, so I believe that it identifies at best the title of this novel about immigrants, refugees and corruption.
    All these cartoons deal with immigrants so lot of people that are trying to escape from their country because of wars, epidemic and famine. Every day immigrants, asylum seeker and refugees leave their own country to search better condition of life in Europe. These ‘travel’ are very dangerous, in fact lot of people during them died. I think that people who leave their mother country have to be very desperate and it is their only last change, because no one wants to go away from the place where is grown up, so they are almost oblige to star these long and dangerous travels to save their life, and maybe the life of their children. But these travels have several horrible repercussion on children, psychological repercussion are just one of the dangers of them.
    Personally the first advertising is the one that makes me reflect most because it reflects what discrimination is all about. We can see lot of people that are surrounding only one person, this is discrimination. Sometimes we tend to reject and marginalize what we hold to be different. But we tend to do it just because we do not know the stranger, we should stop base our life on prejudices and star thinking with our own mind because we cannot do it because maybe one day one of my children will be in a situation like that. He leaves his own country, family and culture to has better condition of life and people reject him just because he is different. I believe that is very superficial and wrong, we should just not judge a book by its cover.
    So, still now lot of people think that immigrants and refugees are a risk for our society but I believe that it is untrue because they are just trying to have a better lifestyle, or at leat, they are trying to survive and pledge their children a life in a place where they are safe in and where they can live a proper life, and at least, a future.
    I think that ‘home ‘is a very huge word. Home is a place where you live, where you have a family and where you believe you are safe, but at the same time having a home is something a little bit different. Having a home could also identifies your mother country and the state where you are grown up. Today having a home is not for everyone, lot of people are oblige to leave their own country to search and reach better condition of life and when they are in a new place, surrounded by people who have different culture, language and tradition they feel not at home anymore. So, having a home means not just have a home so the place where you can live, but it means a place where do you feel save and happy, with the people you love most and where do you feel really at home.

  18. Isabelle Pelletier scrive:

    It is difficult to find a day, in this last years, in which we were not bombed through medias with a pile of information or numbers regarding people going down with their makeshift vessels while they were escaping from their country hoping to restart a new life and build a new future in another country. But at the same time, this numbers do not have any effects on us, quite the contrary we have been getting used to those data. As a matter of facts when we hear the word “migration” we think of a reality that is far from us and that do not touch us directly, so we do not give the importance it might have. The only sources that give us the consciousness of this problem is literature and this book is a great example of the power that writers have in our society: they open our eyes in front of certain situation and they alarm people in front of this issues.
    “The other side of truth” makes us reflect on how life is dangerous and unfair in some countries even today and it shows us the desperation of those people that send their children away from their homes, from the only place they know destroying in a few hours the small world where they were used to live. It talks about the choice that people are forced to make knowing that the only way to survive is that of leaving their native soil and it highlight the disorientation of those people that know nothing about their own futures.
    The cover of the book have to attract our attention and communicate the main message of the plot so it plays a decisive role in the success of the book. Although we all know that we cannot judge a book from its cover, all of us tend to do that. If I have to choose one of this cover, I would probably choose the second one: it summarized clearly the central event around which all the plot evolved. In this cover we have the comparison between the homeland of the main characters that is Nigeria and London, the big and huge city where they are sent by their father.
    If we look at the cartoons they shed light on all the dangers and risks that can occur during their escape to another unknown Country. They show people that had left everything, from their house to their parents, from their good and the places they were used to attend to their friends and neighborhoods; they show people with no certainty or guarantee but with a lot of hope. So this people entrust their life and the life of their children to those people who have the brave to take advantages also from the desperation of this people and they do not even know if they will survive or if they will find a country ready to offer livelihood for them.
    The social advertising that I appreciate the most is the last one because the message make me reflect. Everyday all of us deal with different problems from the most trivial to the most significant one and sometimes we get mad, crazy or depressed for petty things: this social advertising reminds us what are the real issues of life and it highlight that there are people that feel worse and that would pay for deal with our problems instead of their, that are mainly worse.

  19. Camilla Colanero scrive:

    Unfortunately, I think that we are growing accostumed to the arrival of people who escape from their own countries, because TV news make us fell that everything is just normal.
    Therefore everyone should inquire about this topic, to have an own idea of the current situation. We have read the novel “The Other Side of Truth” exactly for this purpose. I think that the cover that rappresents most this book is the second one because it is well defined the differences between the two reality of the story: the nature and the happyness of the motherland and the greyness and the insecurity of the new country.
    I believe that the common message of the cartoons is that migrants are constantly hovering between life and death. Everything in their life could change in a moment. They leave their country hoping for a better life, but they do not know what they are going to find.
    We are incredibly lucky but we do not realize it. We have all that is needed to live well: a sure house, food and water. But we complain about the same. The ad that had made me reflect the most is the last one, in particular the sentence: “Refugees would like to have the same problems you have”. We complain about stupid things, but there are many people who would pay gold to be in our place. We have to think less about ourselves and think more about the others.

  20. Anna Barato scrive:

    Refugees, asylum seekers, economic migrants… they are all looking for hope. They hope to find somewhere better to live, they hope to escape war, violence and death, they hope to survive and stay with their loved ones, they hope to find their family and friends, they hope to find food and clean water but among all they hope to survive.
    Not helping them we are destroying their hopes and chances to succeed. Those are poor people that are forced to leave, they didn’t want to, nobody want to get away from their home, unless it’s became a prison and your rights are no longer rights, you can’t do anything without permission and you’re never sure if the next day, or even the next hour, you’re still able to talk with the ones you love, walk with your legs or breathe.
    Among the three covers I prefer the second one, the one with the green background, to be more precise. In my opinion this is the most representative one because the face of the young girl is depicted twice, once in Somalia, where she used to live with her family at the beginning of the book, and once in London, the place where her and her brother found shelter.
    The first cartoon, I think is the one I like the most, because uses the metaphor of a coffin as a vessel trying the reach Lampedusa. That’s why the journey of the refugees that “choose” to travel by boat isn’t safe at all! But unfortunately they have to other options than to put themselves in the hands of human smugglers paying an exorbitant cost to reach Europe and get out of the country illegally.
    The ad “Spot the Refugee” was the one that mede me reflect the most because we always think that refugees are different, that their problems do not concern us, but that’s not true at all. If we live in a civilized country, with a democracy and proper rights isn’t because we are better, we did’t do anything, we could have simply be born in Somalia, Nigeria or Libia and now be one of the teenagers that everyday fight for their lives.
    So, in the end, there is no difference between them and us, and we have to keep that in mind, because we tend to forget that they are human beings too, they only had the mischance to be born in the wrong place at the wrong time.

  21. Sara Cattaneo scrive:

    Nowadays, lots of people are obliged to live their country because of the war and terrorism. In the book written by Beverley Naidoo, The Other Side of Truth, we read the story of two children, Sade and Femi; they lived in Nigeria and they had to escape, after the assassination of their mother by some people sent from the government that wanted to kill their father. The cover that I like best is the second one because it rapresents the growth of the protagonist; she has to take care of her little brother that is scared of what will happen to them in the future. Sade has the capacity and the readiness of understanding what is better to do when nobody want to help them. They were sent to London by their uncle, but something went wrong from the moment they arrived in the UK. They could not find him, so they were sent from a family to another until their father joined them. They lost their happy life and they had to adapted to strange and dangerous situation; they also had the braveness to help their father to not be repatriated and the determination to let everyone know their story.
    They fortunately met someone that help them without any benefits but not all the refugees have the same fortune: some people pretend to help them, ensuring that they will take them to better place in a safe way, but they do not care the life of this people but the profit that they can be drawn. In the past years, we heard many times that the barges sink in the sea because they are carrying more people above their reach. When this people arrive in a safe country, they are treated like criminals and they are not free to choose where to go because some countries do not accept them. Refugees are also discriminated from people who do not know why they are escaping.
    The common message of the cartoons is the danger of cross the see with some old barges that are plenty of people. The third cartoon makes people thinking about how difficult his being accepted in a new country because of permission and documents. Most of people do not know all the papers that are required to request political asylum. Some people cannot join their relatives because they are stranded at borders in inhumane conditions: they do not have heating or running water, children do not have any place where they can play and food suitable for their age.
    Most of the people think that they cannot do anything to change the situation but everyone can do something: we can start changing our mind, try to see the things from a different point of view, informing in what is really going on and not what the media want us to think.
    Sometimes we only have to think how we are lucky because we are living in a peaceful country and we are not surrounded by wars, we are not also victims of prejudices and we can rely on each other.
    We have to stop to think only to ourselves, we have to care about humans.

    • cristianaziraldo scrive:

      There are lots of people out there who do a lot to help people in need. There are newspapers and private business that do a lot too. I found this article, it may interest you.

  22. Francesco Fabris scrive:

    The cover I like most is the first one: I find it very representative of the sensation of anxiety and constant worry that can be provoked by identifying yourself into the main characters of the novel. As a matter of fact the orange filter and the penetrating gaze of the young girl provide to an atmosphere of inconvenience and upsets the reader, warning everyone who happens to glance the book about the sad and struggling story it is told in the inside. Although Femi and Sade had a comfortable and safe journey by plane, a common way of escaping from native lands used by migrants is via sea transport: the Mediterranean sea appears to be the last physical barrier between refugees and the Promised Land. As it is perfectly depicted by the three cartoons on the blog, desperate people accept to leave everything behind them and to pay a huge amount of money just to push their luck in getting to the shores of some European country. This deathly trip is characterised by inhuman hygienical conditions: passengers are packed into precarious pontoons, always on the edge of succumbing to the sea, with no drinkable water, no edible food and obliged to complete all their corporal needs. Even if refugees reach dry land they have no solid certainty about what could happen to them next: three of the possible options are repatriation, refugee camps or specific structures.
    What is sure about migrating issues is that our society, even though humanity has seen an infinite number of relocation of population, is not as wise and mature as it should be. It looks like History has not taught anything to us. Social advertisings, however, struggle to rise public awareness of these fundamental issues. Between the ones proposed by the UNHCR (United Nation High Commissioner for Refugees) I repute the last one to be the most powerful and efficacious banner: it doesn’t need any payoff nor explanations, the tragical statement and image stab the viewer into depth and oblige him to reflect and think both how lucky he/her is and how could he collaborate to sooth pain and suffering of other human beings.

  23. Angelo scrive:

    Distrust is a major feature of evolution and should not be condemned, this is the reason why it is unthinkable to allow every single political applicant in the EU, especially if we consider that less than a half of them turn out to be real refugees. We are obligated, for both ethical and legal causes , to welcome those who are in really danger, those whose ‘home’ and security are compromised, and as a matter of fact, we do. We do, however, in such an inefficient and chaotic way that those who have the right to stay are forced to wait more than a year, and those who do not meet the criteria abuse of the funds provided, with a huge cost even for repatriation.
    Regarding “The other side of truth” the only thing it witness, in my opinion, is how boring a fiction story can get. It does not cast light on what you would call “real issues”; the book is about two children who safely fly to the UK, who are received by the social services and treated as well as possible, until their father arrival on Christmas’ eve, who experience some bullying in school and complain because they are fingerprinted, all this is set in an imaginary London where news reporters care about refugees, and where two kids can roam in full night without being killed or molested. At the end of the book the message seems to be that escaping from a totalitarian government is so easy there is no need to complain about it, even though this is not true, and usually similar storie end with four people killed instead of one.
    The advertisement that made me actually think is the tenth, not for the built image, but for the line above it: “Refugees would like to have the same problems you have”. It is not possible to argue against such a strong and direct message, that affect all of our lives. Selfishness also is a key for evolution, but we reached a level in evolution where nature cannot be anymore our point of reference, therefore we should start to think about others, even if they are different, even if they are far away from us. And if you are not able to do it for real altruism, as most of us, you should do it anyway, because of the most selfish reason you could think of: What if it happens to me?

    • cristianaziraldo scrive:

      “The Other Side of Truth” is not the only novel or work of literature that deals with the issue of refugee seekers. You can visit this link and read this article, if you wish.

  24. Nicola Maronese scrive:

    During the last few years we have been hearing fake news about immigrants and refugees, which are useful for who wants to do political propaganda because those are what people want to hear. But do we know enough about them? No, we hardly know that they risk their life to come here and, once they have reached our country, they stay into refugee camps. People do not really know why they do this because that is not what they want to know about. This generates hate and racism against whom people imagine “different”: a person is no longer considered as a human being but like a package to be sent back without investigate what there is inside it. Reading Beverley Naidoo’s novel “The other side of truth”, I have become more aware of the reasons they leave their lands, their home, their family and their country and of the difficulties for asking for asylum.
    The cover I like the best is the third one because it represents the change the main characters have to do in order to save their life, passing from a poor to an industrialized country with different views and habits.
    The cartoons have as common message the difficulty to reach the destination; in the first one refugees are crossing the sea by a coffin, and if they are not helped, they will die at few kilometres from the safety. The second one represents the European Union as a wall and the refugees are on a rubble, their country, sinking in a sea of death, the only way to survive is using a dangerous cord. In the third one we can see how hard is reaching safety and the reject of the other countries.
    We do not know how does it mean to be a refugee: by the moment you are threaten, every choice can be a matter of life or death; imagine yourself forced to leave everything and to go far away, not knowing what there is behind the corner, if you are going to be safe or if you will be sent back, if people will accept you or you are going to be marginalised.
    The application “My life as a Refugee” makes think what does a bad choice can involve in a dangerous situation, even though it does not represent at all the tragic reality.

  25. Eleonora Brusadin scrive:

    The Other Side of Truth is a book by Beverley Naidoo and it tells the story of two brothers who are obliged to leave their country and makes catapulted into the reality of a metropolis, completely different from the village they lived in: London.
    This theme, that of immigration, touches us very closely and it is becoming an increasingly evident reality: immigrants, asylum seekers and political refugees fleeing their countries to try to escape from a reality that would kill them. The crossing from them to our country is never easy: a lot of them actually die on the way; women, men, children and old people, like us, only different because of their skin color and culture, but still like us.
    In one of the images that ask to find the immigrant, the intruder, one who should be different and be recognized straight away, in fact, I did not succeeded; this shows that we are all equal.
    For the cover image that I find most appropriate, Ichoose the second, one with the double face of the girl and the two different scenes in the background. I think it demonstrates very well the meaning of the entire book: the same person who used to live in his country, now is forced to leave it and change her life. This is “the other side of the truth”, which has really two sides: you run away to find a new life, a better one, but when you get there, you are not recognized by the people of the place and you don’t know to whom you belong.
    We should not judge a “book by its cover” before knowing the story it contains.
    I think we are very lucky to live in our country and with a roof over our head every day, with a family and friends who love us, because it must be really hard to deal with a situation such as that of immigrants, who are forced to twist the their lives to try to survive.

  26. Eros Masserut scrive:

    More and more people, coming from Syria, Libya and Egypt, decide to escape from their countries to reach Italy. They are escaping from war and hunger. Many of them are children and pregnant women.
    Everyday a lot of people arrive in Italy hoping to have a better life. These people have nothing, they do not have money and they do not have a place where to sleep.
    I have read the book by f Beverly Naidoo, I have bought the one with the third cover. For me it is the best cover of the three shown here, because it gives a small summary of the story.
    The other side of truth by Beverly Naidoo describes very well the life of an illegal immigrant in the UK. The story is very detailed and well written, it talks about the experience of two children that are obliged to move to the UK because of threats. The two protagonists are Sade and her brother Femi. After the death of their mother they have to move to London to be safe. Uncle Tunde and they passed the supervision of the police with false passports. I found very interesting to understand what children feel like. I have never been an immigrant but if I were in their shoes I would not know what to do.
    Nowadays there are people who think that refugees are a threat for our society. I think that refugees are not necessarily a threat, because they can be source of culture. On the other hand we cannot afford to host too many immigrants in a short time because refugees need to integrate themselves.
    I really appreciate the cartoons, they are clear and they explain efficaciously feelings, problems and dangers. Especially, they focus on the difficulty of a refugee seeker to arrive to the EU. Personally I like the third. It represents one of the ways to come to Italy. It is very important to see that mafia and criminal organizations are the main characters of this phenomenon. They earn a lot of money by carrying people from Africa to Italy.
    However, all the cartoons have a common message, it is very hazardous for an immigrant to reach Italy. As a matter of fact there have been lots of accidents in the Mediterranean sea.
    I downloaded the application “My Life as a Refugee” and I tried it once but I do not think it is very proper. Obviously it does not tell the false but it has some misconceptions in some ways.
    Nevertheless, also the ads help to understand in a playful way that immigrants and us are equal.

    • cristianaziraldo scrive:

      Really interesting Eros. I would like to know from you what misconceptions you found in the application “MY Life as a Refugee”. Let me know in class. I am really interested in listening to your considerations.

  27. Matteo scrive:

    Nowadays, we overhear more and more discussions about the refugees and, unfortunately, most of them are full of prejudices and baseless opinions and, what is more, they contribute to spread the xenophobia.
    The media do not improve the situation: it is very likely for us to find xenophobic posts in Facebook and, what is worse, we can also easily find some black humor post, like the ones overlying. Personally, I think that laughing for this type of post means not knowing what these poor people have been through. So, for those who post such things on Facebook or comment with xenophobical phrases I have a little piece of advice: you should know their stories bfore you judge them.

    • cristianaziraldo scrive:

      Facebook is full of trash, but life is full of trash because there are human beings who are full of trash. ( I am using “trash” in order to avoid another word that I cannot possibly use on an educational blog). Ideally we should “unfriend” people who are far away from our values. If we keep them as FB friends, they are somehow representative of the people we are. You did not mention anything about the novel. Remember that our focus is the novel!

  28. Thomas Poletto scrive:

    Refugee seekers is one of the most discussed and important problems nowadays but seems that no one, and in particular the European Union, give much importance to this topic. Let’s talk clearly, the government gives the population what they want so we should point the finger also to ourself; in fact we didn’t take much seriously this problem until the number of refugee got doubled year per year and they couldn’t be ignored anymore. We don’t know a lot about them but we know enough to give them a new place to live, a new land they can call home, in fact they all arrive from a country economically destroyed or where there have been wars and violence against human rights; we should build bridges instead of walls like the new president of United States is doing now.
    Probably yes, we’re bombarded with misinformation and negative propaganda but once again is our fault because we all know that a lot of politicians have influence on TV shows or newspaper; everybody should buy newspapers that are “free” from political pressures.
    Personally I like the second cover because those eyes suggest me the hope of a little girl to find a safe life in a different country and her faith reposed on humankind.
    The cartoons have one common message: the life of a refugee is like a horrible game that everyday challenges the death, every moment could be the last.
    Of course there are people who still think refugee are a threat but I think they’re just victims of negative propaganda or duped by some politicians. I believe they just forgot that also Italians once upon a time were refugee seekers.
    I think that the application is well done but it’s quite improper, we can’t possibly compare our life to the one a refugee has.

    • cristianaziraldo scrive:

      We need to clarify the difference between MIGRANT and REFUGEE SEEKER. A migrant is someone who moves from one place to another in order to live in another country for more than a year (I was a migrant when I decided to move to Canada to offer my life opportunities that I thought Italy could not offer at the time). The are many reasons that people become migrants, but those who move to work or seek a better life are generally termed economic migrants. There are, however, also international students, those who move for family reasons and those who migrate because they are fleeing war and persecution.
      A refugee is a person who has fled armed conflict or persecution and who is recognised as needing of international protection because it is too dangerous for them to return home. They are protected under international law by the 1951 refugee convention, which defines what a refugee is and outlines the basic rights afforded to them.
      (The Guardian)

  29. Francesco Sommacal scrive:

    “The Other Side of the Truth” shows many different themes that are not common but the main one is absolutely immigration. This story is centered in the journey of these two young children, Sadde and Femi, that leave their home in Nigeria and go in London, a city, a home, a society that is completely different from the one that they knew before. It is expected that their first days are very difficult because they have to face problems that usually concern people greater than them and they have to move in a place where they haven’t been. The fact that is very admirable is that they did all these things in less than three days!
    This is the condition of thousands of refugees that every day leave their home in sorts of ships that have no space even for a child, and go through the sea, fighting against starvation and hydration, and arrive in countries where they are nothing, the lower social class. People who were graduated in their country are now in these new places the scum of the society.
    “What’s wrong here” really impressed me because refugees in Europe (where the majority part of them arrive with these “ships”) have nothing and no one who can help them, so personally, it is terrible, from their point of view, watching every person that has an employment like a policeman or a chef, with a house and a good family, and then watch yourself, so with nothing in your hands, neither a house where you can feed your children, and most of all neither the dignity because the worst thing is that no one gives attention to these refugees that came here only to build a new life for themselves starting from zero but find only racism and no rights, obliged to have the worst jobs with the lowest salary.
    When, we, people of Europe, will destroy these social barriers and accept these people that the only thing that they want is to be free and live a decent life instead of “steal” our jobs?

  30. Leonardo scrive:

    The issue of immigration has become a major debate for everyone. Immigration means the one way flow of the population to a specific place or country. People move out of the native country or state for various reasons, and this book is about two refugees from Nigeria who have to smuggle in London in order to save their lives.
    The cover I prefer is the first because it combines the main characteristics of the novel like the country where they take refuge which is the UK, their homeland, Nigeria, and the two central characters, lost in a place where they do not feel accepted.
    The messages are all very similar because they represent the will of the immigrants to be free as something they would give their life for. They face terrible journeys to reach some places they don’t know just because they want freedom, the one they could not have where they lived before. Unfortunately their urge to leave their countries can become a way to earn lots of money, and the ones that profit from it are the unscrupulous men who are paid by the immigrants in order to get them out of the country illegally.
    Between all the ads, the last one makes me feel very uncomfortable. We think we are living a great life just because we are not directly affected by the events that are occurring in some other parts of the planet. People all around the world die everyday trying to fight their oppressors. We have to start looking at what surrounds us from different eyes, only then we will understand what other people feel.

  31. Anna Barbisin scrive:

    Life is a gift that everyone should enjoy.
    Unfortunately not always it happens and it is a reality not far from us.
    Nowadays more and more people escape from their own country to search a better life in place like Europe.
    Newspapers, blogs, social media, television, books and films dealing with this topic of immigration: for example ‘The other side of truth’.
    From my point of view the best cover is the second one because you are able to read directly the soul of the characters through the dark and deep eyes, be aware of what they have experienced.
    The refugees are constantly precarious between life and death. But their minds cast light on the ideal of hope and finding a better place to live as a real human beyond the ocean that slowly devours them.
    Nowadays indifference and apathy are too much widespread. We must open our eyes against what happens in the world and we must not turn our backs on those who suffer.
    We must not close our eyes. We must be active, help those around us and we must prevent as much as possible in order to block that this phenomenon will become viral. Everyone have to know the past of a person before judging.

  32. Emma Bortolini scrive:

    Before reading “The other side of truth”, I did not know much about refugees, beside what I saw on the news; in addition to reading the book, I also tried to find more information about them on the internet or in newspapers. I found a lot of different opinions and facts, and it was hard to understand which ones were true.
    Anyway, this is a topic that concerns us all directly, as Italians, Europeans and humans.
    Personally, I think that to understand their situation we just have to put ourselves in their shoes: imagine being forced to leave your country and your life because you can no longer live in safety, due to war or persecution, and trying to reach a new country in the hope of a better future.
    Life as a refugee can be difficult to imagine, but for nearly 20 million people around the world, it is a terrifying reality.
    I know that a lot of people still think that refugees are a threat and that they steal our jobs, but there are a lot of jobs that Italians would not do even if there were not the refugees.
    I was surprised to see that the biggest refugee hosting country in the world in Turkey, but not so much that most refugees come from Syria: over 4,5 million people.
    I liked the book but to me it seemed all too easy for the children when they got to London, even though they got bullied; they were very lucky to find nice foster parents and to be able to live with their dad in the end.
    The cover that I like the most is the second, because I think that the eyes express a lot of feelings and those of the two children are very communicative.
    The ad that struck me the most was the one that said “Refugees would like to have the same problems you have”, because it is easy to forget that there are people that live in far worse conditions that we do and complain about the little problems that we have.
    The common message of the cartoons is that most people do not survive the travel, but they are willing to risk their life to escape the reality of their countries.

    • cristianaziraldo scrive:

      You are definitely right Emma when you state that the book does not give a faithful portrait of what a hypothetical refugee seeker is faced with. However, the world is so bleak already and so ruthless at times that a book meant to sensitize young readers about the issue of migration/lack of democracy and freedom/discrimination, cannot possibly “kill” hope. Right?

  33. Sofia Bon scrive:

    Unfortunately, every day thousands of people are forced to leave their country to escape war and the lack of future. Sometimes they even die trying to cross the sea, since the boats they travel in might capsize and sink. In the past few years, Italy has taken in thousands of refugees, mainly from Africa. Many people think they represent a threat to our society, but in my opinion, it is misinformation that is threatening it.
    The book by Beverly Naidoo was really helpful to learn more about this issue. Although we try to understand, I think that only people who have gone through the same experience will fully understand what being a refugee means.
    Personally, I prefer the green cover, because unlike the other two, it shows clearly the “two sides of truth”. In the first photo, the girl is in her hometown in Nigeria, whereas in the second one she is in London, far away from her family.
    All the cartoons show how dangerous it is for refugees to travel such long distances in precarious conditions. In fact, there is usually a large group of people on a small boat, so they are all tightly packed.
    The ad that makes me reflect the most is the first one. It is a very accurate picture of reality. Sadly, refugees are often isolated, because people are afraid of the unknown and of who is different.
    People should put aside all prejudices and think about what refugees have to go through.

    • cristianaziraldo scrive:

      What should we do then to help people see beyond their prejudices? What can we do in our daily routine to raise awareness as to the difficulties some migrants and refugees have to go through?

  34. Marianna Breda scrive:

    By reading the book I realized better the bewildering reality in which we live: we discriminate, we submit, and even we kill our fellows because of their different skin color, because of their nationality and much more!
    In ‘The Other Side Of Truth’ many aspects of this persecution emerge, for example the prohibition (especially for newspapers) to show off the truth, and what can happen if these impositions are not respected. Maybe the third cover highlights best the confusion that accompanies the brothers throughout the entire story; it represents Sade and Femi who are holding their hands in the middle of images that remind both their past and their present in London.
    I believe that identifying the immigrants as the scapegoat of many of our social and political problems is something that most of us do without thinking too much about it. I am sure that we are not enough informed about the real conditions of these people and we will never be able to understand the despair that has led them to be forced to leave their homeland.
    I think that all those who escape from their countries for political reasons should be helped in order to restart working and become independent in their new country; allowing them to do this is the task of those who welcome these people.

  35. Chiara Paro scrive:

    Every time you watch the news reports, what you mostly hear about is people who try reaching our country, many times in vain. Why do these people want to come here? Why precisely our country (but also Spain and Greece) that from our eyes seems to be a place where work is vanishing day by day and people are getting poorer and poorer? The answer is simple and hard at the same moment: war, terrorism and no possibility of conducting a proper life.
    A book I have read during the last month is “The Other Side of Truth” by Beverley Naidoo: it perfectly describes what immigrants have to go through before reaching our country, provided that they do not pass away before, due to the conditions they have to deal with. What they have when they come here is nothing: no food, money but just a family they have to feed. I do not think they are a threat, but it is important to increase the security, in order to have the situation under control.
    The cover of the book I like best is the second one because it creates a link between your and the girl’s eyes, which are full of fear and tell you her endless past. I have really appreciated the fact that her face is depicted not once, but twice, symbolising her life in London and her previous one in Nigeria, from where she had to escape with her beloved brother.
    I found her and her sibling’s story intriguing and mind-opening, since it made me realise things I was not aware of.
    As regards the cartoons, the ones I think are the best are the first and the second one.
    The message I got is that when they leave their country, they very often head towards death, as I have said before. I like the comparison of the death with a vortex that, if you lose balance, which is easy since they are walking on a rope, englobes you.
    In my opinion, we should be more aware of what is going, because misinformation is prevailing right now, because, even though the media bomb us with plenty of information and numbers, we do not know enough things as regards their life and they journey.

    • cristianaziraldo scrive:

      The sad part is that we do not know a lot about these refugees or migrants because they are “invisible”. The news reports about them when there are crimes or protests. Then they are invisible because WE do not demand to know more. We drown in our daily routine, we barely find the time to float that it does not even cross our minds to enquire about these people’s lives. I do not understand what you mean by “englobe”, since it does not exist in the English dictionary and perhaps you wanted to say “eye-opening” instead of “mind-opening”, right?
      Thanks for writing this post!

  36. Marco Breda scrive:

    Almost every time someone read a newspaper, or watch newscast, would read or hear about refugee seeker, the fact that people are growing accustomed to face this problems is making them even being accustomed to the problem. Redundance often brings to disregard and that is what unfortunately is spreading through everyone nowadays.
    in fact, talking about young people as I am, we are not being influenced by negative or positive propaganda, as well as we don’t really care about refugee seekers. I want to underline the world “really”, because we care, but we care inasmuch as we have been grown up with the idea, that caring is what we are supposed to do in situations like these ones. sentences such as “Poor they! Who knows what they have been through…” are kind of popular in these days and are even more wrong than useless, because since we can’t possibly phisically help refugees, we can be intellectually near to those people, growing consciousness about the problem. There comes misinformation, not in the fact that we are not informed properly by mass medias, but in the fact that news about migration are redundant as the problem is and we catch these informations as “another news about refugees”.
    What can truly help us gain knowledge about migration problem is knowing why they moved away from their country. This is the point in which Beverley Naidoo’s novel “The other side of truth” outstands. The novel actually represents the condition in which Femi, Sade and their dad are obliged to live and even how much bravery it needs to escape from a country in wartime such as Nigeria. Even the cover of the book allow you to get some important messages, especially the drawn one, which underline the huge gap in the culture and in the society between Nigeria and England, colouring the cover in two completely different colours, orange for Nigeria and blue for England.
    Coming to an end the cartoon that I liked most is the one with the ladders and snakes game on it. I found the way it shows the difficulties, that trying to escape from a Third World country involves, interesting for real and especially how it reports the way the corruption flooded in these countries.

    • cristianaziraldo scrive:

      Interesting perspective Marco. It is just a pity that you cannot “embed” your insightful considerations in a “cohesive and grammatically correct text”! What should I do to make you work harder? Thanks for the post.

  37. Francesco Moretti scrive:

    Everyday hundreds of people need to leave their country because of war or cliamte and seek asylum in others. The path they walk is insidious and full of perils and even if they manage to reach their destination many other obstacle like bureaucracy arise. Through Beverley Naidoo’s story, “The other side of truth”, we learned what difficulties these refugees may come to face. Out of the three book covers the second is the one I like most, it shows the changes the girl had to do in order to survive and how her perception changed. The one thing I don’t like about the first cover is that the girl in the cover is almost crying making it seem as she wasn’t happy of being safe with her family in London. On the other hand I think the third is too basic, only showing some random images of importance to the story.
    Regarding the comics they have in common the fact that refugees need to face dangerous journeys to save themselves and this is often not enough, as shown in the last comic when they arrive they go back from where they started.
    I tried the app and I think the developers were too lazy to make an interesting game as it didn’t give me any real choice. I tried to make good choices and bad things happened to me, then tried the worst possible options and luck is suddenly by my side making me end in the same situation as the one I got in my first run. Some may say that this is because refugees don’t have any free choices and whatever they try their situation won’t change without help, but I think it was just boring and useless as it didn’t make me change my opinion on the matter. And if it didn’t manage to change mine (I’m fairly neutral, I simpathize with refugees but would’nt do to much to help them) I can’t imagine changing someone who is against.

    • cristianaziraldo scrive:

      Dear Frnacesco,
      Thanks for your comment. Have you ever thought of gamification? It would be great if you could device a better app. I am hopeless at it. If I could I would create a new game myself and I would take into consideration your comments. 😉

  38. Sara Giacchetto scrive:

    Every day, when I read the news, I see at least one article about refugees. It’s difficult nowadays, for all the informations that surround us, ignore all the tragedies that happen.
    Despite that, lots of men don’t care about this reality; look at the Lego’s picture: it shows men and women that differ from each other for their works, personalities, features and lives. There is just one thing they have in common: their skin’s tone.
    As matter of fact, many people discriminate refugees for unfounded reasons; they see them as strangers with a different skin’s color that must be kept out.
    But what is their real fault? Escape from their countries, which were took away from them by the war, hoping to stay alive? Is this one consider a fault?
    Looking at the picture where some people are walking on a thin cord, trying to reach the Europe, escaping from the death, an obvious question comes to my mind: is it their fault or is it our fault? What are we doing to keep them safe and to give them what they sincerely deserve?
    As the writer Naidoo teaches us with her fascinating words, most of the migrants are poor, innocent people that deserve more.
    In the last years, rightly, things get better, and lots of people start considering the refugees’ reality closer. But honestly, I think that we, as society, can do much better and that we must bear in mind what history teaches us: discriminate people for what they are, isn’t the right way.

    • cristianaziraldo scrive:

      Discrimination is never right because it is founded on ignorance. The more we know about an issue, the fewer chances there are of us discriminating anybody. Than discrimination, in my view, is not just fed by ignorance, it is also based on people’s lack of balance and self-acceptance. I fear what is different from me because I feel menaced, but I feel menaced when I am not fully balanced or in control of my life. I do not know whether I am making sense here. It seems clear to me, though.

  39. Lorenzo Beltrame scrive:

    The cover I like the most is the second one because I think it perfectly represents the changing in the protagonist’s life; after fighting and travelling, hoping to reach a better standard of life, refugee seekers often still live an unhappy life because many times they don’t integrate with other people and they are not threaten as they really should. This happens because there is many people who still have unfounded prejudices about refugee seekers and discriminate them. Reading Beverley Naidoo’s novel “The other side of truth” helped me to understand what these people really feel when they escape from their countries to avoid wars and unstable political situations. All the cartoons have in common the fact that sailing through the Mediterean sea often represents an enormous risk on asylum seekers’ life. What makes me upset is the fact that there is people who profiteer on these people’s lives to get richer, especially after they have reached Europe, giving not the right hospitality. Immigration is a problem that concerns us very much because Italy is the closest european country they can reach. In my opinion we should give asylum seekers our help and we should not build walls like other countries do, but the best way to help them is to resolve the problems directly in their countries

    • cristianaziraldo scrive:

      My provocative question is: Are western countries really interested in solving other countries’ problems, especially the ones not in the Western Block? I’m pretty scheptical. If it were so, after so many years of the white people presence in the African Continent, most problems should have been solved, instead lots have been worsened. If we were really capable of solving other countries’ problems, how come Italians are still “facing”/”fighting” (???) the problem of corruption, of crime, of different types of Mafias?