Between Everything and Nothing: The Journey of Seidu Mohammed and Razak Iyal and the Quest for Asylum

Counterpoint. Jun. 2020. 336p. ISBN 9781640093140. $26. SOC SCI
Fiction writer Meno (Star Witness; Office Girl) offers a nonfiction account of the harrowing and dangerous journeys of two Ghanaian refugees: Seidu Mohammed and Razak Iyal. He follows his subjects from their homeland, through South and Central America, across Mexico, to the United States, and eventually to the Canadian border. Originally from the same neighborhood in Accra, the men left Ghana for distinct reasons in the mid-2010s and did not know each other until a chance meeting in Minneapolis after enduring the labyrinthian American refugee process. Razak fled after a violent dispute over inheritance; Seidu fled because bisexuality was both severely stigmatized and illegal in Ghana. The similarities of their desperate journeys become obvious, providing stark examples of the experiences of refugees. These devout Muslims relied on faith, hope, and the help and friendship of people along the way to survive intense physical, economic, criminal, and mental challenges and abuse during their travels. Meno particularly condemns their treatment during detention in the United States.
VERDICT Based heavily on the refugees’ own accounts and supplemented by the author’s research, this work will be valued by general readers interested in the stories of recent refugees.

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