More About the Author
Having spent most of my adult life teaching at various universities in the UK, and much of my time living in Swansea in Wales, since 2005 I have lived and worked in The Netherlands. I teach human rights, social justice and conflict and peace studies at ISS, the International Institute of Social Studies. The wonderful institution is part of Erasmus University Rotterdam, and is located in the Hague, known as the City of Peace and Justice. Just down the road is the ICJ, International Court of Justice, a bit further away is the ICTY (the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia), which also houses the appeals chamber for the ICTR (the ICT for Rwanda). Most recently The Hague became the home of the ICC, the International Criminal Court, where war crimes are judged. Surrounded by such an array of institutions representing international justice, The Hague is also the setting of Dutch politics, including its far-right PVV party, akin to far-right extremists elsewhere across the EU, whether in France, UK or now most alarmingly what appears to be outright fascism in Greece and even in Italy. Amidst all this political noise, there are groups that fall between the cracks. The undocumented Iraqis who cannot go home and have no right to stay. The Congolese and Rwandans whose stories are not believed, but who are in danger if they are returned home. The Syrians trying to cross by land and by sea to reach somewhere safe, and sometimes succeeding. The Gazans who are 'human shields' and treated accordingly by their Israeli 'liberators'. The hopes and dreams and suffering of ordinary people are my daily preoccupation, not because as a scholar I have any answers, but because this seems to me what our lives are woven of, rather than the demands of privilege and rank. Somehow, researching Rwanda, the lives of undocumented people and those rejected by prevailing social norms - all helps me to question what is 'normal'. At the deepest level, whether I research refugee advocacy, ending violence in the African Great Lakes region, or the pointless suffering inflicted by Dutch, British and EU immigration policies, my aim is to interrogate how and why inhumanity can become normalised, and how a reverse set of movements - to question inhumanity - can also take place.