The predicament of exiles

Exiles are permanentThere is a very large nation that is permanently within another nation’s borders – a migration nation.

About 200 million migrants from different countries are scattered across the globe, supporting a population back home that is as big or bigger….

While some migrants go abroad with Ph.D.’s, most travel … with modest skills but fearsome motivation.

Migrants worldwide circulated an estimated $300 billion last year — nearly three times the world’s foreign-aid budgets combined.

We ought to perhaps regard our interactions with migrants as the best opportunity we have for global diplomacy and sustainable development.

Alex Steffen at WorldChanging clearly points out that, “Immigration is not only beneficial to most developed nations, it’s necessary.”

Moris Farhi, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, argues that we must quit the “emotional fascism” against migrant people,
the menacing image,
the psychotic fiction,
the shrewd soundbite,
and the “credible falsehood” that migrants are barbarians mounting a siege at our gates in order to invade us, steal our wealth, and ravage our women.

Migration and exile have characterised the world since the beginning of time. And for most of that time, the ambivalent presence of The Other has aroused extremes of sentiment within the host community.

Farhi suggests that migrants are a caste, …”surely the largest in the world”,

“…the caste of “the other”: of exiles, refugees, immigrants, displaced people, outsiders, outcasts, strangers, untouchables – and, of course, artists and writers.

“…to struggle against the depression of exile, the harsh realities of exclusion, the longings for home, the free-floating angst of feeling worthless because of the difficulties of integration and acceptance.

Migration is not only a condition that rules much of the animal kingdom but also much of humanity.

Those “caught in the sand” – the perfect representation of this caste. He said we were creatures facing death with a much greater awareness of the frailty of life and thus with an enhanced compulsion to survive; creatures that could not – or did not get the chance to – live in their native matrix and, consequently, desperately sought to make a new life in unknown lands and under harsh conditions; creatures that often became fodder for the people in power in their new environments, thus providing the hosts with good nourishment.

There is a duality in every human endeavour.

The same is true of the history of migration.

It has two selves.

The first – we could call it “official” or “partisan” history – narrates and repeatedly glorifies war, conquests, occupation, colonisation, the subjugation of indigenous peoples, the marginalisation of their cultures, the vilification of their religions, and, at its most extreme, the purge of “lives unworthy of life”.

The second – which can only be read between the interstices of “partisan history” and which I shall boldly declare to be “true history” – gives accounts of the lives of the innumerable men, women, and children, “the countless millions of unknown Jesuses” – if I may paraphrase François Mauriac – who lived and died, often with dignity, despite the brutality and humiliation that ruled their lives.”

All history is the history of migration

They have vivified a literature that was increasingly neglecting the ambitions of its grand heritage.

They have enlarged the horizons of a country self-righteously clinging to its insularity and shown it the world at large, a world much of which it had colonised, but seldom enhanced and often betrayed in proud insolence.

They have brought back the idealism that the present materialistic world order has so very nearly killed.

They have defied the soulless worshippers of the abacus.

And they have grappled with narcissism, cynicism, complacency, bigotry, and limitless greed.

They have brought new visions of truths, colours, depths, spectrums, insights, and compassion. They have brought new horizons.

They have enriched us with neglected or ignored cultures.

They have reignited in us such universal concepts as the struggle for love, liberty, equality, and universal welfare.

They have reminded us – and stirred up those of us who did not want to know – that the differences between peoples are superficial; that irrespective of ethnicity, colour, or creed, we laugh or weep in the same way and for the same reasons.

from Michael Parekh, On The Fate Of Boomers and Immigrants

Tied At The Hip
Fascinating article in the Wall Street Journal, titled “Boomers’ Good Life Tied to Better Life for Immigrants“.

It makes a point not very well understood by mainstream Americans on how the quality of life for them and/or their senior loved ones is intricately tied to the fate of immigrants going forward. Here’s the introduction:

“The quality of life for some 80 million graying baby boomers in the U.S. may depend in large part on the fortunes of another high-profile demographic group: millions of mostly Hispanic immigrants and their children.