African Refugees and Diasporic Struggles in Cairo

Diane Singerman

in Cairo Contested

Published by American University in Cairo Press

Published in print October 2009 | ISBN: 9789774162886
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9781617970351 | DOI:
African Refugees and Diasporic Struggles in Cairo

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This chapter argues that African migrant groups are marginalized on the level of governmental policies, national discourse, and daily life yet, despite these exclusionary policies and economic hardships, Cairo's spaces of illegality, informality and (transnational) kinship networks, and community solidarity can make it a “more fluid and thus safer urban space” than that experienced by refugees in many other nations. It also covers the ways in which Somali and Sudanese communities, fleeing civil war and violence in their own countries, rebuilt their communities in Egypt, yet, when Sudanese refugees grew frustrated by very slow resettlement programs and the diminishing possibilities to gain refugee status, over 1,200 men, women, and children staged a sit-in. In general, Egypt, with its rigid citizenship laws and its public discourse of exclusionary nationalism and its simultaneous commitment to the protection of refugees and the cosmopolitan daily realities of its urban spaces, seems to be a host society that is both closed and open to refugees.

Keywords: Cairo; African refugees; governmental policies; community solidarity; Somali; Sudanese; nationalism; refugees; urban spaces

Chapter.  12403 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: International Relations

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