Ben Rawlence

City of Thorns

Ben Rawlence

Talk: City of Thorns

In this talk at Google NYC, Ben Rawlence introduces his new book, City of Thorns, about life in the world's largest refugee camp, Dadaab, in northern Kenya. Rawlence spent 4 years following nine people and gained a unique insight into life in this limbo city the size of New Orleans. Dadaab was established in 1991 for 90,000 people fleeing Somalia's civil war but has grown to over 350,000, peaking at half a million a few years ago. Rawlence describes life in the camp, the restrictions and the temporary solutions which have gradually become permanent and discusses the international situation that keeps the refugees trapped there. He takes questions and challenges the audience to think about this growing phenomenon of limbo cities.

Ben Rawlence

Ben Rawlence is a former researcher for Human Rights Watch in the horn of Africa and former speechwriter in the UK parliament. He is the author of Radio Congo, and has written for a wide range of publications including the Guardian, the London Review of Books, NewYorker.com and Prospect. He lives in Wales in the UK with his wife and daughter.

City of Thorns: Nine Lives in the World's Largest Refugee Camp

To the charity workers, Dabaab refugee camp is a humanitarian crisis; to the Kenyan government, it is a 'nursery for terrorists'; to the western media, it is a dangerous no-go area; but to its half a million residents, it is their last resort.

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