At the time of this publication, nearly 70,000 refugees from Syria, Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan have settled in the ancient city of Smyrna, now known as Izmir . This summer, however, the city’s Basmane neighbourhood saw a mass inflow of transient refugees – a stopover for those pursuing the treacherous sea journey to various Greek islands in the hopes for a better life in the EU. Izmir was one of many cities and villages that hosted the nomad-like migrants, and is still doing so, but the numbers are dwindling as the weather becomes increasingly brisk and the sea angrier. Some locals offer a helping hand: food, clothes and supplies – organisations such as Halkların Köprüsü have done substantial work in this regard. Others remind the passerby of passages from The Stranger, the commoner and the hostile view of the Arab. Perhaps this fuels the transit towards Europe, of which for most of the summer comprised of 100 boats leaving the “(…) Turkish shoreline every night, carrying up to 5,000 refugees” . Risks were high, and as the media frenzy exploded with reports of drownings, smuggling and death, so were the costs.
Last night’s opening of the “Borders and Refugees” International Cartoon Exhibition was one of celebration and distress, of humour and misery. Hosted by the İzmir Karikatür Müzesi (Izmir Caricature Museum), in association with Multeci-Der (Association for Solidarity with Refugees), Konak Belediyesi and Don Qichotte e-humour magazine, the exhibition assembled heart-wrenching pieces from dozens of artists around the world. Uncommon to regular interactions with cartoons of which typically sit neatly within blocs of news text, having them as the centre-piece provided an intimate opportunity to speculate on symbolism and find meaning between the lines of fine pen strokes. For those living abroad, below is a glimpse of the exhibition. For those living in Izmir, the exhibition will be on until November 27th and is well worth your time.
 Personal communication, Multeci-Der, August 2015.
 Kingsley, P. (2015) ‘Lifejackets going cheap: People smugglers of Izmir, Turkey, predict drop in business’, The Guardian, 24 September; available online at: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/sep/24/refugee-crisis-people-smugglers-izmir-turkey-predict-drop-business.