From Planet 221

by Emily Trahair

Last year, as the plight of Syrian refugees broke through into popular consciousness, the drawbridge of Fortress Europe was graciously lowered to allow a fraction more in, while millions flowed into Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon. During this period I visited two museums whose exhibitions challenged an age-old image of Europe as being exceptionally progressive: an aloof, sometimes besieged outcrop of rationality and peace in a barbarous world; a notion which is often marshalled to keep those of other cultures from entering the gates, but which is as flimsy and fantastical as a toy Rapunzel castle.

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