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Cairo ContestedGovernance, Urban Space, and Global Modernity$
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Diane Singerman

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9789774162886

Published to Cairo Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5743/cairo/9789774162886.001.0001

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African Refugees and Diasporic Struggles in Cairo

African Refugees and Diasporic Struggles in Cairo

(p.455) 17 African Refugees and Diasporic Struggles in Cairo
Cairo Contested

Diane Singerman

American University in Cairo Press

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

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