Cyprus has more than its fair share of asylum seekers and economic migrants. THEO PANAYIDES meets a woman who fled a bad situation eager to make a new start, who has found the system in Cyprus frustrating at best To be honest, Justine Matagang Nde wasn’t our first choice – and the reason why is instructive. The recent influx of African asylum seekers, most of them coming in through the occupied north, has been quite unnerving for many Cypriots (including many in the government, whose response seems increasingly panic-stricken), and a woman, like Justine, somehow doesn’t seem as representative of that vague disquiet as a man would’ve been – let alone a group of young men, like the jobless newcomers one increasingly sees idling on benches and street corners. Then again, the fact that we associate asylum seekers with fear and anxiety, rather than compassion – even when it comes to deciding who might make the best profile – says it all, really. She’s unusual in another way as well. Most Cameroonian asylum seekers (much of our current influx comes from Cameroon) are fleeing the war in that country, an onslaught on the English-speaking minority that’s one of Africa’s hidden… Read full this story
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