Sunday, June 28, 2015

Migrants only want what you want. Why is that so frightening?

Chibundu Onuzo The Guardian June 26, 2015
My cousin aspires to a better life. He doesn’t have the privilege of a western passport, but there are no oceans wide enough to stop us from dreaming
I have a cousin who walked across the Sahara desert to get to Europe. In another age and with another skin, he might have been a celebrated explorer: a Mungo Park or a Mary Kingsley or even a David Livingstone. In the 21st century he was just another black immigrant trying to make it over the fence.
There was swashbuckling danger, treachery in the sand dunes and comrades buried just before they sighted the straits of Gibraltar. It was a yarn worthy of Robert Louis Stevenson, an epic befitting of Homer, but the Italian immigration officer who deported him had no interest in the tale. He was sent back to Nigeria, flying over the desert he had crossed on foot, a journey of weeks reduced to hours.
When I met my cousin, he was planning to do the trip again. He was neatly dressed; in possession of a mobile phone and polished leather shoes. He was not an African who could be used for any charity appeals. His cheeks and clothing were too prosperous to elicit pity. My cousin was not fleeing from a war or persecution. Neither was he a displaced person nor was he starving. There are many who flee to Europe for these reasons but these were not my cousin’s problems………

European leaders scrap plans for migrant quota system
There has been a lot of speculation about the man who fell from the sky a few days ago, his corpse plummeting through the clouds and crashing on to a suburban London rooftop. Maybe he was running from a war. Maybe he wasn’t. Maybe he was fleeing religious persecution. Maybe he wasn’t. For centuries, it’s been a part of life. If you don’t like where you live, you don’t like your neighbours, if you’re bored of your small town and desperate for adventure; you want the gold of Eldorado or the tea in China or the spices of India or the humans of West Africa; or you’ve just always wanted to know the source of the Nile, you roll up your backpack, step out of your kraal, your arrondissement or your burgh and you set off into the unknown.
There are no fences high enough to stop humans from aspiring……………..
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