Tag Archives: Migration

It’ s not me. It’s the monster

Globalization and neoliberalism. They’ve become the explanations du jour for the decimation of industries and the devastation of lives, for falling wages and slashed public spending. And there is, of course, truth to the claim. But capitalism was chewing up and spitting out its victims long before the market was globalised or liberalism became neo’d.

One of the great novels of the Great Depression, of the wretchedness of poverty in 1930s America, was written half a century before those words were invented. John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath.  It tells the story of one family, the Joads, tenant farmers from Oklahoma, who are forced off their land by the banks, pushed into migrating to the promised land of California, and the even greater wretchedness they find in their Utopia. It is a story of the pitilessness of capitalism, the dignity of work, the horrors of migration, the disintegration of a family. It is in turns angry and tender, polemical and poetic, allegorical and melodramatic. Steinbeck does not ignore the history of the land and how it was acquired (‘Grampa took up the land, and he had to kill the Indians and drive them away’), but he unquestioningly stands with the farmers in their bewilderments and in their battles. There are times, especially in the second half of the book, where the anger seems to overwhelm the writing. But, given the subject, and given what Steinbeck set out to do – to ‘rip a reader’s nerves to rags ‘, as he himself put it – that is, perhaps, both inevitable and necessary.

– Kenan Malik

This is an extract from Chapter 5, that tells of how those responsible for evicting the farmers justified their actions. ‘We have to do it. We don’t like to do it. But the monster’s sick. Something’s happened to the monster’. A passage and a book that feels as meaningful and vital today as it did when first published almost a century ago.


From The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck,
Chapter 5

John Steinbeck The Grapes of Wrath

The owners of the land came onto the land, or more often a spokesman for the owners came. They came in closed cars, and they felt the dry earth with their fingers, and sometimes they drove big earth augers into the ground for soil tests. The tenants, from their sun-beaten dooryards, watched uneasily when the closed cars drove along the fields. And at last the owner men drove into the dooryards and sat in their cars to talk out of the windows. The tenant men stood beside the cars for a while, and then squatted on their hams and found sticks with which to mark the dust.

In the open doors the women stood looking out, and behind them the children – corn-headed children, with wide eyes, one bare foot on top of the other bare foot, and the toes working. The women and the children watched their men talking to the owner men. They were silent.

Some of the owner men were kind because they hated what they had to do, and some of them were angry because they hated to be cruel, and some of them were cold because they had long ago found that one could not be an owner unless one were cold. And all of them were caught in something larger than themselves. Some of them hated the mathematics that drove them, and some were afraid, and some worshiped the mathematics because it provided a refuge from thought and from feeling. If a bank or a finance company owned the land, the owner man said, The Bank – or the Company – needs – wants – insists – must have – as though the Bank or the Company were a monster, with thought and feeling, which had ensnared them. These last would take no responsibility for the banks or the companies because they were men and slaves, while the banks were machines and masters all at the same time. Some of the owner men were a little proud to be slaves to such cold and powerful masters. The owner men sat in the cars and explained. You know the land is poor. You’ve scrabbled at it long enough, God knows.

The squatting tenant men nodded and wondered and drew figures in the dust, and yes, they knew, God knows. If the dust only wouldn’t fly. If the top would only stay on the soil, it might not be so bad.

The owner men went on leading to their point: You know the land’s getting poorer. You know what cotton does to the land; robs it, sucks all the blood out of it.

The squatters nodded – they knew, God knew. If they could only rotate the crops they might pump blood back into the land.

Well, it’s too late. And the owner men explained the workings and the thinkings of the monster that was stronger than they were. A man can hold land if he can just eat and pay taxes; he can do that.

Yes, he can do that until his crops fail one day and he has to borrow money from the bank.

But – you see, a bank or a company can’t do that, because those creatures don’t breathe air, don’t eat side-meat. They breathe profits; they eat the interest on money. If they don’t get it, they die the way you die without air, without side-meat. It is a sad thing, but it is so. It is just so.

Alexandre Hogue The Crucified Land

The squatting men raised their eyes to understand. Can’t we just hang on? Maybe the next year will be a good year. God knows how much cotton next year. And with all the wars – God knows what price cotton will bring. Don’t they make explosives out of cotton? And uniforms? Get enough wars and cotton’ll hit the ceiling. Next year, maybe. They looked up questioningly.

We can’t depend on it. The bank – the monster has to have profits all the time. It can’t wait. It’ll die. No, taxes go on. When the monster stops growing, it dies. It can’t stay one size.

Soft fingers began to tap the sill of the car window, and hard fingers tightened on the restless drawing sticks. In the doorways of the sun-beaten tenant houses, women sighed and then shifted feet so that the one that had been down was now on top, and the toes working. Dogs came sniffing near the owner cars and wetted on all four tires one after another. And chickens lay in the sunny dust and fluffed their feathers to get the cleansing dust down to the skin. In the little sties the pigs grunted inquiringly over the muddy remnants of the slops.

The squatting men looked down again. What do you want us to do? We can’t take less share of the crop – we’re half starved now. The kids are hungry all the time. We got no clothes, torn an’ ragged. If all the neighbors weren’t the same, we’d be ashamed to go to meeting.

And at last the owner men came to the point. The tenant system won’t work any more. One man on a tractor can take the place of twelve or fourteen families. Pay him a wage and take all the crop. We have to do it. We don’t like to do it. But the monster’s sick. Something’s happened to the monster.

But you’ll kill the land with cotton.

We know. We’ve got to take cotton quick before the land dies. Then we’ll sell the land. Lots of families in the East would like to own a piece of land.

The tenant men looked up alarmed. But what’ll happen to us? How’ll we eat?

You’ll have to get off the land. The plows’ll go through the dooryard.

Clyfford Styll Gleaners

And now the squatting men stood up angrily. Grampa took up the land, and he had to kill the Indians and drive them away. And Pa was born here, and he killed weeds and snakes. Then a bad year came and he had to borrow a little money. An’ we was born here. There in the door – our children born here. And Pa had to borrow money. The bank owned the land then, but we stayed and we got a little bit of what we raised.

We know that – all that. It’s not us, it’s the bank. A bank isn’t like a man. Or an owner with fifty thousand acres, he isn’t like a man either. That’s the monster.

Sure, cried the tenant men, but it’s our land. We measured it and broke it up. We were born on it, and we got killed on it, died on it. Even if it’s no good, it’s still ours. That’s what makes it ours – being born on it, working it, dying on it. That makes ownership, not a paper with numbers on it.

We’re sorry. It’s not us. It’s the monster. The bank isn’t like a man.

Yes, but the bank is only made of men.

No, you’re wrong there – quite wrong there. The bank is something else than men. It happens that every man in a bank hates what the bank does, and yet the bank does it. The bank is something more than men, I tell you. It’s the monster. Men made it, but they can’t control it.

The tenants cried, Grampa killed Indians, Pa killed snakes for the land. Maybe we can kill banks – they’re worse than Indians and snakes. Maybe we got to fight to keep our land, like Pa and Grampa did.

And now the owner men grew angry. You’ll have to go.

But it’s ours, the tenant men cried. We –

No. The bank, the monster owns it. You’ll have to go.

We’ll get our guns, like Grampa when the Indians came. What then?

Well – first the sheriff, and then the troops. You’ll be stealing if you try to stay, you’ll be murderers if you kill to stay. The monster isn’t men, but it can make men do what it wants.

But if we go, where’ll we go? How’ll we go? We got no money.

We’re sorry, said the owner men. The bank, the fifty-thousand-acre owner can’t be responsible. You’re on land that isn’t yours. Once over the line maybe you can pick cotton in the fall. Maybe you can go on relief. Why don’t you go on west to California? There’s work there, and it never gets cold. Why, you can reach out anywhere and pick an orange. Why, there’s always some kind of crop to work in. Why don’t you go there? And the owner men started their cars and rolled away.

James Edward Allen Praying for Rain

The tenant men squatted down on their hams again to mark the dust with a stick, to figure, to wonder. Their sunburned faces were dark, and their sun-whipped eyes were light. The women moved cautiously out of the doorways toward their men, and the children crept behind the women, cautiously, ready to run. The bigger boys squatted beside their fathers, because that made them men. After a time the women asked, What did he want?

And the men looked up for a second, and the smolder of pain was in their eyes. We got to get off. A tractor and a superintendent. Like factories.

Where’ll we go? the women asked.

We don’t know. We don’t know.

And the women went quickly, quietly back into the houses and herded the children ahead of them. They knew that a man so hurt and so perplexed may turn in anger, even on people he loves. They left the men alone to figure and to wonder in the dust.

After a time perhaps the tenant man looked about – at the pump put in ten years ago, with a goose-neck handle and iron flowers on the spout, at the chopping block where a thousand chickens had been killed, at the hand plow lying in the shed, and the patent crib hanging in the rafters over it.

The children crowded about the women in the houses. What we going to do, Ma? Where we going to go?

The women said, We don’t know, yet. Go out and play. But don’t go near your father. He might whale you if you go near him. And the women went on with the work, but all the time they watched the men squatting in the dust – perplexed and figuring.

Georgia O'Keeffe Bones and Red Hills

The tractors came over the roads and into the fields, great crawlers moving like insects, having the incredible strength of insects. They crawled over the ground, laying the track and rolling on it and picking it up. Diesel tractors, puttering while they stood idle; they thundered when they moved, and then settled down to a droning roar.

Snubnosed monsters, raising the dust and sticking their snouts into it, straight down the country, across the country, through fences, through dooryards, in and out of gullies in straight lines. They did not run on the ground, but on their own roadbeds. They ignored hills and gulches, water courses, fences, houses.

The man sitting in the iron seat did not look like a man; gloved, goggled, rubber dust mask over nose and mouth, he was a part of the monster, a robot in the seat. The thunder of the cylinders sounded through the country, became one with the air and the earth, so that earth and air muttered in sympathetic vibration. The driver could not control it – straight across country it went, cutting through a dozen farms and straight back. A twitch at the controls could swerve the cat’, but the driver’s hands could not twitch because the monster that built the tractors, the monster that sent the tractor out, had somehow got into the driver’s hands, into his brain and muscle, had goggled him and muzzled him – goggled his mind, muzzled his speech, goggled his perception, muzzled his protest. He could not see the land as it was, he could not smell the land as it smelled; his feet did not stamp the clods or feel the warmth and power of the earth. He sat in an iron seat and stepped on iron pedals. He could not cheer or beat or curse or encourage the extension of his power, and because of this he could not cheer or whip or curse or encourage himself. He did not know or own or trust or beseech the land. If a seed dropped did not germinate, it was nothing. If the young thrusting plant withered in drought or drowned in a flood of rain, it was no more to the driver than to the tractor.

He loved the land no more than the bank loved the land. He could admire the tractor – its machined surfaces, its surge of power, the roar of its detonating cylinders; but it was not his tractor. Behind the tractor rolled the shining disks, cutting the earth with blades – not plowing but surgery, pushing the cut earth to the right where the second row of disks cut it and pushed it to the left; slicing blades shining, polished by the cut earth. And pulled behind the disks, the harrows combing with iron teeth so that the little clods broke up and the earth lay smooth. Behind the harrows, the long seeders – twelve curved iron penes erected in the foundry, orgasms set by gears, raping methodically, raping without passion. The driver sat in his iron seat and he was proud of the straight lines he did not will, proud of the tractor he did not own or love, proud of the power he could not control. And when that crop grew, and was harvested, no man had crumbled a hot clod in his fingers and let the earth sift past his fingertips. No man had touched the seed, or lusted for the growth. Men ate what they had not raised, had no connection with the bread. The land bore under iron, and under iron gradually died; for it was not loved or hated, it had no prayers or curses.

At noon the tractor driver stopped sometimes near a tenant house and opened his lunch: sandwiches wrapped in waxed paper, white bread, pickle, cheese, Spam, a piece of pie branded like an engine part. He ate without relish. And tenants not yet moved away came out to see him, looked curiously while the goggles were taken off, and the rubber dust mask, leaving white circles around the eyes and a large white circle around nose and mouth. The exhaust of the tractor puttered on, for fuel is so cheap it is more efficient to leave the engine running than to heat the Diesel nose for a new start. Curious children crowded close, ragged children who ate their fried dough as they watched. They watched hungrily the unwrapping of the sandwiches, and their hunger- sharpened noses smelled the pickle, cheese, and Spam. They didn’t speak to the driver. They watched his hand as it carried food to his mouth. They did not watch him chewing; their eyes followed the hand that held the sandwich. After a while the tenant who could not leave the place came out and squatted in the shade beside the tractor.

Mervin Jules Dispossessed

‘Why, you’re Joe Davis’s boy!’

‘Sure’, the driver said.

‘Well, what you doing this kind of work for – against your own people?’

‘Three dollars a day. I got damn sick of creeping for my dinner – and not getting it. I got a wife and kids. We got to eat. Three dollars a day, and it comes every day.’

‘That’s right,’ the tenant said. ‘But for your three dollars a day fifteen or twenty families can’t eat at all. Nearly a hundred people have to go out and wander on the roads for your three dollars a day. Is that right?’

And the driver said, ‘Can’t think of that. Got to think of my own kids. Three dollars a day, and it comes every day. Times are changing, mister, don’t you know? Can’t make a living on the land unless you’ve got two, five, ten thousand acres and a tractor. Crop land isn’t for little guys like us any more. You don’t kick up a howl because you can’t make Fords, or because you’re not the telephone company. Well, crops are like that now. Nothing to do about it. You try to get three dollars a day someplace. That’s the only way.’

The tenant pondered. ‘Funny thing how it is. If a man owns a little property, that property is him, it’s part of him, and it’s like him. If he owns property only so he can walk on it and handle it and be sad when it isn’t doing well, and feel fine when the rain falls on it, that property is him, and some way he’s bigger because he owns it. Even if he isn’t successful he’s big with his property. That is so.’

And the tenant pondered more. ‘But let a man get property he doesn’t see, or can’t take time to get his fingers in, or can’t be there to walk on it – why, then the property is the man. He can’t do what he wants, he can’t think what he wants. The property is the man, stronger than he is. And he is small, not big. Only his possessions are big—and he’s the servant of his property. That is so, too.’

The driver munched the branded pie and threw the crust away. ‘Times are changed, don’t you know? Thinking about stuff like that don’t feed the kids. Get your three dollars a day, feed your kids. You got no call to worry about anybody’s kids but your own. You get a reputation for talking like that, and you’ll never get three dollars a day. Big shots won’t give you three dollars a day if you worry about anything but your three dollars a day.’

‘Nearly a hundred people on the road for your three dollars. Where will we go?’

‘And that reminds me’, the driver said, ‘you better get out soon. I’m going through the dooryard after dinner.’

‘You filled in the well this morning.’

‘I know. Had to keep the line straight. But I’m going through the dooryard after dinner. Got to keep the lines straight. And – well, you know Joe Davis, my old man, so I’ll tell you this. I got orders wherever there’s a family not moved out – if I have an accident – you know, get too close and cave the house in a little – well, I might get a couple of dollars. And my youngest kid never had no shoes yet.’

Clare Leighton Bread Line

‘I built it with my hands. Straightened old nails to put the sheathing on. Rafters are wired to the stringers with baling wire. It’s mine. I built it. You bump it down—I’ll be in the window with a rifle. You even come too close and I’ll pot you like a rabbit.’

‘It’s not me. There’s nothing I can do. I’ll lose my job if I don’t do it. And look – suppose you kill me? They’ll just hang you, but long before you’re hung there’ll be another guy on the tractor, and he’ll bump the house down. You’re not killing the right guy.’

‘That’s so’, the tenant said. ‘Who gave you orders? I’ll go after him. He’s the one to kill.’

‘You’re wrong. He got his orders from the bank. The bank told him, ‘Clear those people out or it’s your job.’

‘Well, there’s a president of the bank. There’s a board of directors. I’ll fill up the magazine of the rifle and go into the bank.’

The driver said, ‘Fellow was telling me the bank gets orders from the East. The orders were, ‘Make the land show profit or we’ll close you up.’‘

‘But where does it stop? Who can we shoot? I don’t aim to starve to death before I kill the man that’s starving me.’

‘I don’t know. Maybe there’s nobody to shoot. Maybe the thing isn’t men at all. Maybe like you said, the property’s doing it. Anyway I told you my orders.’

‘I got to figure’, the tenant said. ‘We all got to figure. There’s some way to stop this. It’s not like lightning or earthquakes. We’ve got a bad thing made by men, and by God that’s something we can change.’ The tenant sat in his doorway, and the driver thundered his engine and started off, tracks falling and curving, harrows combing, and the phalli of the seeder slipping into the ground. Across the dooryard the tractor cut, and the hard, foot-beaten ground was seeded field, and the tractor cut through again; the uncut space was ten feet wide. And back he came. The iron guard bit into the house-corner, crumbled the wall, and wrenched the little house from its foundation so that it fell sideways, crushed like a bug. And the driver was goggled and a rubber mask covered his nose and mouth. The tractor cut a straight line on, and the air and the ground vibrated with its thunder. The tenant man stared after it, his rifle in his hand. His wife was beside him, and the quiet children behind. And all of them stared after the tractor.

The images are all paintings and etchings from, and of, the Great Depression in America. They are from top down, Maynard Dixon, ‘Shapes of Fear’ (1930-32); Alexandre Hogue, ‘The Crucified Land’ (1939); Clyfford Still, ‘Gleaners’ (1936);  James Allen Lane, ‘Prayer for Rain’ (1938); Georgia O’Keefe, ‘Red Hills and Bones’ (1941); Mervin Jules, ‘Dispossessed’ (1938); Clare Leighton, ‘Bread Line’, (1932).

The image of The Grapes of Wrath is of the first edition in 1939.

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Grounded

Daily we are surrounded by bad news-stories via the media (television and social media). All those terrible stories can weaken us and manage to bring fear to many (for no obvious reason, because they live far away from the trouble).

Often it is better to detach because it is not possible to live day to day if you spiral into all in the grief in the world. We have to be conscious about it, but may not close our eyes and ears for the beauties that are around us. And for sure there can be found a lot of beauty, even in the smallest thing.

Each of us can help to give others a feeling of safety and comfort in their own surroundings, accepting the wide variety of cultures that can go together anyway.
A person can not love the others without loving himself first and without wanting to share with others.

Today we can see that the fear for the unknown brings many to choose for extreme right wing political groups, which make use of the fear for other people and cultures, and bring the immigration in a wrong exaggerated light. Immigration, by the way, has been there for ages. It is nothing new. Every generation has come to know about some migration.

When we are willing to learn more about the world we and others live in we shall understand the different positions better and come to accept certain things much easier.

When each person is willing to come closer to the other, and is willing to open his mind to come to understand the other better, by willingness of openness of mind and heart the little environment we live in can change, but like a domino falling can bring something bigger changing too.

Let us always remember that a spiritual shaking is always safer than a real earth shaking.

*

To remember

All through life when times get tough, when things start to run away with us or when things start to get too much we often hear the advice

“stay grounded.”

  • to balance us, to remind of something solid, something steady

how exactly do we stay grounded when we can’t even trust the ground we walk on?

  • on a little Greek island = best + worst moments of humanity play out on a daily basis => difficult to stay grounded

Facebook safety check icon > pictures of Parliament + London Bridge > horrors + pictures of frantic families trying to trace their missing children

  • a family connected by love
  • memories of places we love
  • distract ourselves from terrorism on our doorsteps with the escalating rhetoric of nuclear war between North Korea and the US?
  • watch white supremacists march the streets
  • ongoing refugee crisis on shores of Italy + Greece
  • hundreds of lives still lost in the Mediterranean
  • hundreds of lives trapped in camps + detention facilities > endless wait for asylum in Europe.

=> pretty hard to stay grounded

=> have become so desensitized

= not go to denial but keep our heads?

  • most important thing = not buy into all the hate.
  • majority of people = kind + loving
  • fear + when we are really scared => ignorance can lead to some pretty extreme standpoints on issues we never really felt too strongly about before.

== to stay grounded we need to start learning more about the world we live in + we need to discover how we can make change.

Stand together, show love where you find hate and don’t let fear win.

+

Preceding

Going on holiday is… silence in your head

Summer holiday time to knock and ask, and time to share

++

Additional reading

  1. Uncertainty, shame and no time for vacillation
  2. What is life?
  3. Immigration consternation
  4. Would you run
  5. Mountains of information, disinformation and breaking away
  6. Fearmongering succeeded and got the bugaboo a victory
  7. Fear of failure, and fear of the unknown
  8. I Am Not Alone – By: Kari Jobe
  9. Emotional pain and emotional deadness
  10. The soul has no rainbow if the eyes have no tears
  11. Not fear or dread or blind compulsion
  12. Can We Pay The Price To Free Humanity?
  13. The chosen ones to fear or not to fear
  14. Whom Shall I Fear (God of Angel Armies) by Chris Tomlin
  15. Prayer has comforted us in sorrow

+++

Further reading

  1. What Makes Me Bern about Fear
  2. Fear
  3. “… Fears…”
  4. Worry and Fear
  5. Fear, Surprise, Relief, What’s Next?
  6. Courage is not an absence of fear…
  7. What Fear Can Do To You.
  8. The Power Fear Holds Over Us
  9. Overwhelmed
  10. Anxious And Worried? Pray!
  11. Celebrate Victories Daily
  12. Change
  13. Face Your Fears | Choose Joys
  14. Italy: Migrants from Riace are to be resettled
  15. Criminalization of aid puts migrant lives at further risk
  16. Migration: 416,000 more people moved to Germany than emigrated
  17. After the Crisis? Reflections on Migration Governance
  18. Turkey slams developed nations over migration issue
  19. The migration which is changing the demography of India : The illegal migrants of Bangladesh
  20. The Year of Immigration theme seeks to create a renewed sense of community in College Park
  21. Szijjarto rejects the UN Migration compact
  22. Thousands flee due to crisis, Brazil deploys army to Venezuela border
  23. Parliament condemns the Sargentini Report
  24. Crosses Erected For Thousands Of Dead Immigrants Who Never Reached American Dream – Desert Graves

From Greece With Love

All through life when times get tough, when things start to run away with us or when things start to get too much we often hear the advice “stay grounded.” We are told to “keep our feet on the ground” to balance us, to remind of something solid, something steady that can help bring us down from those dizzying heights that challenging times can take us to. But what happens when that safety net fails, when you can no longer trust the earth to keep you steady?

Recently I experienced a rather nasty earthquake which has left this question playing on my mind. When we live in a world of such uncertainty, how exactly do we stay grounded when we can’t even trust the ground we walk on?

But this idea of losing trust in your surroundings goes further than a shift in tectonic plates, for me personally anyway. Over…

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Migration not something to fear

With the terrorist attacks in Paris last weekend, the European Union was shocked again and the social media went as a roller-coaster shouting love and hate messages.

In most messages which tried to bring fear and hate against non-Caucasians and people of an other faith than Christendom we noticed that that’s a gross of given numbers was overestimated a lot. Many overestimate the amount of illegal citizens as well as the amount of refugees.

What does “fair” migration look like? Does protecting citizens’ rights depend upon limiting migrants’ freedoms? Or is migration actually one of the best weapons we have in the fight against poverty, injustice and social immobility – on both sides of our border?

Lets look at real ciphers:

Ten years ago, developing countries hosted 70% of the world’s refugees. In 2014 it could reach 86% of the amount of which those who reached Europe were just a very tiny percentage 4 à 5 %  of the total population of Europe.

The 49 least-developed countries – places like Chad, Malawi, and Yemen – provide asylum to 2.4 million exiles. By whatever measure you choose, the idea that the West is under siege from would-be refugees flies in the face of statistical evidence. In Pakistan, there are 552 refugees for every dollar per capita GDP; that number is 303 in Ethiopia, and 301 in Kenya. For the US, UK and Australia, the equivalent numbers are 5.4, 4.7 and 0.9.

In certain developed states we can see that people move around quite a lot to find work opportunities. This might not be so much in Belgium and Holland, but for France and other countries the locals often have to emigrate to an other place to be able to survive. Spanish, Greek and Portuguese we may find looking for work in Germany.

Most of us, if we move at all, do so within the borders of our own country – from Manchester to London, or from New York to California. In fact, we are at least six times more likely to migrate across a country (from one region to another) than we are to move across a border. There are at least 740 million domestic migrants. Few today would suggest we should restrict these migrations – in fact, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights explicitly prohibits such restrictions. But however obvious this may seem to us, your right to move within the borders of your own is relatively recent. The US Supreme Court, for instance, only definitely confirmed US citizens’ ‘fundamental’ right to ‘move at will from place to place’ across state lines in 1920.

English: Stamp of Moldova: 50th anniversary of...

Stamp of Moldova: 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In 2013, according to the World Bank, there were 232 million people living outside the country of their birth. This is a significant number: but it isn’t overwhelming. It means that just 3% of the world’s 7 billion inhabitants are international migrants. The real puzzle about the age of global mobility is arguably not why so many people are moving across borders, but why so many are not.

Lots of people are afraid to loose their jobs when refugees come to live and work in their country. they must see that when more people are coming to live here, there shall be a need of more housing facilities, more products to be made for the growing amount of consumers, and those coming to work here shall also contribute to the social security providing enough money to pay for the older generation which shall be able to do more in their retirement.

Until 2008, Swedish labour migration was among the most restrictive system in the developed world: trade unions ‘had, and used, an informal veto on recruitment’. Today, its labour migration system is one of the most liberal. Employers – having first advertised the job to the local EU market for 10 days – can effectively recruit any worker, for any job, from anywhere. The result? Swedish workers working for firms recruiting labour migrants earn on average 10.5% more than those working in firms that don’t. The recent rise of the far-right Swedish Democrats risks pulling apart this liberal – and successful – model for labour migration

When it comes to inequality, birthplace is destiny. In 2012, researchers at the World Bank determined that no less than 50% of our lifetime income is determined solely by the country we live in — which, for 97% of us, is also the country we were born in.  It’s a citizenship lottery – and those of us lucky enough to be born in wealthy states are automatic winners.

This means international migration is one of the only ways in which individuals can redress the arbitrary inequalities of citizenship assigned at birth. And it works – a migrant who moves from a low-income to a high-income country can expect, on average, a 15-fold increase in income — and a 16-fold decrease in child mortality rates.

Emigration is not a one-way flow: Western citizens leave their home countries too.

In 2014, at least 5.6 million British citizens lived permanently abroad. And while some of them may prefer to call themselves “expatriates”, 40% of these emigrants – an estimated 2.2 million UK citizens – are EU migrants by any other name.  That balances neatly with the 2.3 million EU migrants from other states who have come to the UK.

Did those ex-pats bring problems to the countries they moved to? Did those migrating people bring more criminality in those visited countries?

The US has experienced a 45% drop in violent crime rates since 1990. During the same period, the number of unauthorised migrants climbed from 3.5 to 11 million, and the percentage of the population who were foreign born rose from 8 to 13%. Correlation, of course, is not causation.  But it is a good indication that more migration does not translate into more crime.  And in fact, researchers from the US have similarly concluded that ‘broad reductions in violent crime during recent years are partially attributable to increases in immigration’. In the UK, immigrant “enclaves” – defined as neighbourhoods where at least 30% of the residents are immigrants – have lower levels of crime and victimisation than similar socio-economic areas without a large immigrant presence.

We must be honest and we must be sincerely looking at the reality of the migration issue.

Perhaps it would be better if more people would consider how a migration could keep a certain balance and how the refugees of today perhaps can be the solution for the problems we shall have to face when the boomchildren are going to retire.

Remember also what @Shaimaakhalil by mobilitymuse twittered today

Refugees are not the cause of violence,they are the people trying to flee it. Hope EU leaders remember that as they deal with
  • With thanks for the text-material to “Migrants and Citizens” which poses the big questions we need to be asking about immigration and inequality.

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Preceding:

What we don’t say about the refugee crisis?

Human tragedy need to be addressed at source

Real progress leaves nobody behind

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Additional reading:

  1. Built on or Belonging to Jewish tradition #3 Of the earth or of God
  2. Welfare state and Poverty in Flanders #3 Right to Human dignity
  3. Welfare state and Poverty in Flanders #8 Work
  4. Economic crisis danger for the rise of political extremism
  5. Refugee crisis, terrorist attacks and created fear
  6. Europe’s refugees just follow the ancient routes for the peopling of Europe in the Neolithic
  7. Is ISIS a product of American in-action or a product of direct action
  8. Islamophobic hate crimes rise in UK following terror attacks
  9. Paris attacks darkning the world
  10. Trump brand of migrant demonization #1
  11. Trump brand of migrant demonization #2
  12. Europe and much-vaunted bastions of multiculturalism becoming No God Zones
  13. Wrong ideas about religious terrorism
  14. State and attitude of certain people to blame for radicalisation
  15. The world Having to face a collective failure
  16. Can We Pay The Price To Free Humanity?
  17. Bringing into safety from Iraq and Iran

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Further reading

  1. Welcoming the Refugee – Choosing to Walk Away from Fear
  2. Feelings on Refugees, Post-Paris Attacks
  3. The other side
  4. So many women stand waiting behind fences…
  5. The Migration of the Irish to Newport in the 1800’s.
  6. America, the Not So Promised Land – The New York Times
  7. Walter Noteboom’s Emigration Record from the Netherlands
  8. San Marino and Paris
  9. Beach Bound
  10. Poll: Third of Jewish Israelis favor urging Arab Israeli emigration
  11. The Feld family – part two
  12. Dithane and Doodlebugs
  13. Jews Leave Europe as Arab-Muslims arrive
  14. Armenia’s independence generation
  15. Leaving on a jet plane, don’t know when I’ll be back again!
  16. Moving Home, Moving On
  17. Looking for emigrants from the Rhineland?
  18. I Need to share…
  19. Hello from the other side…

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