"Why should my gratitude be any more explicit than yours?"

Dina Nayeri, author of The Ungrateful Refugee, on everything newcomers keep from the native-born

Isabelle Roughol
Isabelle Roughol

🎧  Refugees are today's Scheherazades. They trade their story for another chance at life. They must be convincing. The sultan is an asylum officer conditioned to doubt, a well-meaning but gauche charity worker or a hostile native citizen demanding gratitude and meekness. So much truth goes untold. In her memoir The Ungrateful Refugee,  weaving her personal story with reporting in Greek refugee camps, Iranian American novelist Dina Nayeri lifts the veil. She talked to me on the podcast in a wide-ranging conversation that is still bringing up new things for me, and I must be on my sixth listen by now. (Click through to the Web to listen, emails don't like embeds. Or better yet: subscribe to the podcast feed in your favorite app.)

House news

👔 Do you never want to go back to the office? Join Lauren Razavi and me TODAY at 1pm BST live on LinkedIn and on Youtube. We'll talk about how to make hybrid, remote and distributed work actually work for you and your organization. (Yes, we'll define those terms too.) Together, Lauren and I have a couple decades of experience working with teams spread across the globe. We knew Zoom fatigue before there was a word for it. We'll be taking questions.

👋 My weekly office hours for Borderline members are today. Come say hi, now on our Discord server, 5pm BST. It's not too late to subscribe and catch up one last time before holidays (see bottom of the email). Details are here once you join.

🙏 Welcome and thank you to new members Anne-Sophie Bolon, Matt Hilton and Lawrence Wood. Couldn't do it without you.

⚽️ If you haven't had enough, I'll be live on Cognizant's LinkedIn page on Thursday, 3.30pm BST to moderate a panel on technology enabling grassroots football. This is pay-the-bills work and not Borderline-related, but Daniel James will be there and I'm told by England fans that that's kinda cool.

News from the global citizenry

😄 Hygge and fika won't save us. (The Atlantic) We are learning the wrong lessons from the world's happiest countries, Joe Pinsker writes. The answer isn't in lifestyle, it's in equality. Read it all and absorb, this is important.

Taking forest walks and foraging for berries do sound delightful, but a focus on activities and habits reduces entire cultures to individual lifestyle trends and obscures the structural forces that make people satisfied with their lives.

🇬🇧 The UK government introduced a new Nationality and Borders Bill yesterday. Friend of the pod Colin Yeo analyzed it. (Freemovement.org) tl;dr: it's various shades of unnecessary and/or nasty.

🌊 He saved 31 people at sea. Then got a 142-year prison sentence. (NYT) Migrants are caught between gangs that force them to steer the boats they put them on and a justice system that considers them willing accomplices.

☁️ How Superstore got it right. (Slate) One of the sitcom characters finds out as an adult that he's been undocumented his whole life. His story is inspired by Jose Antonio Vargas, a journalist to whom this really happened. (Recently binged it on Netflix, strong recommend?)

🤦‍♀️ I think they call this Schadenfreude. The entrepreneur who complained about his visa situation then suggested a commenter who struggled with the UK immigration system "maybe didn't add value." See, even immigrants buy into this hierarchization of immigrants. Listen to Dina Nayeri on this at the 26:40 mark.

PS: The investor also is an immigrant himself.

It seems obscene to talk about how refugees contribute to our economy. These are people whose lives are in danger. Why are we asking them to show résumés or to tell us what they can do for us?

🏝 That's right, I'm off. This is the last episode of the podcast season, so savour it. This time next week, I'll be home in France. I haven't been able to shake this feeling that travel rules are going to change again and not for the better so I'm escaping quickly. Family time. I'll be signing off properly for a bit, then I'll be working on building up the right infrastructure to go big with Borderline in the autumn. There will still be sporadic content over the newsletter this summer so don't go away. Wherever you are, I hope you have a good Northern hemisphere summer, that you manage to find your way to friends, family and a good time and that you find joy in the small things. Talk to you very soon.


Isabelle Roughol Twitter

Journalist, podcaster, media consultant. Telling stories & building better newsrooms. Writes The Lede. Ex- LinkedIn News, Le Figaro, The Cambodia Daily. 🎓 Mizzou '08, Birkbeck '25.