Michelle Chen is editor of CultureStrike Magazine.
If you were ever dazzled by the Magic of Disney as a kid, you were probably secretly enchanted by the quiet genius of Tyrus Wong. At a time when Disney studios were peddling crass ethnic caricatures, the virtually anonymous young artist infused Disney with misty woodland skylines and sweeping hilltops in brilliant color. He gave Disney a third dimension, beyond the cinematic vanguard of the time, drawing from his hybrid heritage as a migrant, skilled painter, and descendant of the Chinese diaspora.
The original refugee story of the holiday season was the nativity, with the migration of a young family in search of a place of sanctuary. Today's holiday refugee story begins with a similar quest to a destination unknown, but it started the day after Christmas, not in a ramshackle manger by the roadside in Bethlehem but at a retired airport in Berlin. A group of activists gathered at Templehof Airport to start a similarly perilous journey--a pilgrimage to the ancient city of Aleppo, marching back into a biblical land overtaken by humanitarian crisis.
Although the tiny island territory faces a perilous tide of disastrous financial debt, Puerto Rico’s political saga is getting a new twist with an unconventional hero. She’s neither a bird nor a plane, but rather, a brilliant new comic icon for an embattled land who hopes to lead her people to victory with courage, street smarts, and an unshakeable belief in justice.
Hurricane Matthew has cut through Haiti and left destruction in its wake. The level of devastation, not seen since the massive earthquake hit in 2010, is difficult to put into words. Yet despite Haiti's singular suffering and unique history of struggle over the decades, the island nation is also one of the most outward facing places in the Western hemisphere. The fate of Haiti is intricately connected to its diaspora, and the networks that have been built over the years with the help of Haiti's migrants working abroad have had a complex and instrumental relationship to the motherland.
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