“Vidas à deriva (lives adrift): life stories of human beings in irregular situation detained in Portugal”, by Ana Pinho (aka Ana R. Silva), is a set of exceptional stories of extraordinary people, collected by the author during her work with the Jesuit Refugee Service, in the Housing Unit of Santo António, in Porto.
Temporarily housed, at the time, in the only Temporary Installation Center existing in Portugal, 6 migrants, detained because of an inability to comply with the rules that define a regular stay in the country, have agreed to share their life stories, as an attempt to raise awareness on the realities that forced them into irregularity and, by doing so, hoping to avoid that others would face the same consequences.
The author states:
By carefully analyzing their stories and the contexts that frame them, the perception is clear that their choices were not, in fact, choices, but impositions of the circumstances that surrounded them, which makes them, therefore, forced migrants, who do not fit the concept in the way that is commonly used, but are, due to their experiences and their paths.
Like many others, some have started their journeys in so-called “developing” countries, where, in addition to armed conflicts, poverty is a reality, arising from historical factors such as colonialism and slavery, marked by inadequate resources, institutions and national policies, often imposed by past and present colonizing powers, translating frailties in the international order that “sustain absolute poverty and undermine efforts to reduce it”, pushing citizens to where the resources to which they are entitled, but which are not within their reach in their countries of origin, exist.
A book that encompasses a promise, by the author, to make sure these inspiring stories would reach as many as possible, so that these six degrees may be of connection and not of separation.
“Vidas à deriva”, published by Caritas Portuguesa in collaboration with Paulus Editora is available (in Portuguese version) in all the best online book stores.
Vidas à Deriva – Histórias de Seres Humanos Detidos