by Leonie Ansems de Vries
Migrants and refugees are in the spotlight across the globe. To give only a snapshot of recent news coverage: Millions of people are fleeing Syria; two overcrowded boats carrying refugees capsized near Lampedusa earlier this month; the Australian government sends asylum seekers to Papua New Guinea under a new ‘offshore resettlement policy’; the UK government is under fire for its controversial ‘Go Home’ campaign, urging ‘illegal migrants’ to ‘go home or face arrest’. These events and policies bring to light the importance and urgency of responding to both the plight of refugees and the securitisation of migration in very practical ways. It also prompts the need to conceptualise these issues in ways other than through discourses of threat, (in)security and/or victimisation. I would like to throw a different light on the issue of refugees and migration by focusing on the affirmative political practices of refugees in Malaysia. What I call the politics of (in)visibility, plays out at the intersection of theory and practice as well as at the juncture of governance and resistance.