Journalist Matthieu Aikins had been covering the war in Afghanistan for seven years when his friend and translator Omar, denied a Special Immigrant Visa for the U.S., decided to flee the country as a refugee. Aikins chooses to leave his own passport behind and go with him. What results is The Naked Don’t Fear the Water, a volatile odyssey across the refugee trail.
Aikins forces readers to confront the experience of migration and its dangers. The work turns on psychological realism and therefore depth. Written with clarity and skill, this is a story of precarity, desperation, and human connection. And Aikins, practicing empathy, demands it in return. He has presented us with a portrait of those at the heart of the refugee crisis: What must we do now in order to not look away?
Matthieu Aikins has reported from Afghanistan and the Middle East since 2008 for magazines such as The New Yorker, Harper’s, and GQ. He is a contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine, a contributing editor at Rolling Stone, and a winner of the Polk and Livingston Awards.
Matthieu is a frequent guest commentator and analyst on national radio and television programs, including MSNBC, the BBC, the CBC, and National Public Radio. His work was featured in the anthology The Best American Magazine Writing 2012.