Reporter Hanes and photographer Constantine travel the world to document the plight of stateless people, who are not quite refugees and certainly not at home in their own countries.
The idea of citizenship is a manifestation of the nation-state, and without it, protections disappear: Historians have observed that one reason the Holocaust went unchallenged for so long was that Nazi Germany had stripped Jews of citizenship, so they were without standing under the international law of the time. In the case of some of the people Hanes and Constantine discuss, such as Dominicans of Haitian descent, citizenship has never been proffered, even though “[t]hey live in what they believe should be their country.” Just so, the Nubians of Kenya live packed in a slum that “is one of the most heavily populated places on earth, with hundreds of thousands of people squeezed into about 600 acres.” That statistic may not be meaningful to some readers, but there, Constantine’s stark black-and-white photographs, presented individually and as slideshows, speak volumes. Presented as a project of the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, the volume seems intended to inspire international policymakers to act, though any readers with an interest in human rights and the law of nations will find it both compelling and sobering.
Easily navigated, this well-made e-book is a model of reasonable, yet impassioned, advocacy journalism on the fraught situation of people without documents.