The black holes of Lesbos: life and death at Moria camp
Border violence, asylum, and racisms at the edge of postcolonial Europe
Keywords:EU–Turkey deal, black hole, asylum, racisms, deportability, anti-black policing
The EU-Turkey Deal of 2016 led to the enactment of a restrictive and specific asylum process for the Greek island of Lesbos, making the former Moria camp a detention center for thousands of migrants who failed to access international protection. Based on ethnographic evidence, I analyze and propose that the asylum process in Lesbos—a postcolonial border space under EU interference and control—derives from the colonial system of white supremacy. Based on historical and re-actualized racializations of migrant populations from different countries of the global south, the aim of the Greek asylum process has been to subject migrant populations in Moria to various processes of control, detention, illegalization and ultimately exposure to premature socio-physical death as in black holes: historical spaces of anti-black racism and humanitarian abandonment in the most hidden layers of Moria.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication, with the work three months after publication simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal. This acknowledgement is not automatic, it should be asked from the editors and can usually be obtained one year after its first publication in the journal.