Europe to the migration challenge
These days I’ve seen a film based on real events called “The Butler” (2013) that tells the story of a father who has to move with his family to Washington, with the intention of offering a better life To his family. The father starts to work as a steward in the White House and everything goes better because he becomes a well respected and beloved butler for the seven Presidents he serves during his long and stable period of work until he retires. So much the fact of going from one city to another to have better job opportunities is something that has occurred in many families nearby. But if we add to this that the father of the family we speak of is black and that he not only tries to offer a life to his children with more academic and work opportunities but also wants to move them away and protect them from the problems Racials that lived in their place of origin, the situation already changes because the story is perhaps different from the one that, perhaps, one of our family members could have lived at some time. We must also bear in mind that the film narrates the events that took place in the United States between the 50s and 60s until the beginning of the 70s, with the demands of the black working class who claimed the same rights and equalities as the people of the white race. An equality that they finally achieved, we talked about 50 years ago and in a society as classist and traditional as the American was at that time.
The funny thing is that watching this movie that talks about the 50s in North America, I realize that the same thing is happening to us in Europe now, 50 years later.
Although it happened to us in Spain and in some areas of Europe during the Franco regime, many families migrated from one place to another in the path of more labor and economic opportunities, but they always met people of the same religion or race.
On the other hand, since a decade ago, more or less, and with the war problems of other areas, Europe has the social responsibility to integrate and host a series of migratory movements coming mainly from troubled areas of Arab origin.
I think the problem is not the integration of these newly arrived people with desire and desire to rebuild their lives in a land that can offer them various opportunities for improvement or, at least, survival, since, although the avalanche of people in danger Social exclusion is massive, if we work with enough effort and desire from the public administrations to carry out these integration plans you can get a good job, as is happening in some European cities.
The problem is when the same governments that should be helped, even if only with a warm welcome, are totally denied entry into the country. This is what has happened, for example, in Italy, that Mr. Salvini, Minister of the Interior of the Italian Republic and Vice-President of the Italian Government, has taken a position of rejection towards a clear situation in which human rights must be applied to persons whom they need help from societies that are in a better situation than they come from, and that, after all, are people like us, but due to the fact that they are suffering serious problems on a personal level due to the consequences of their efforts, societies and their governments. The level of rejection of this man, who did not have enough to deny humanitarian aid and seize the boats of two rescue NGOs, Proactiva Open Arms and Jugend Rette this past summer, has demanded a lot of attention, but even these last days has decreed Domenico Lucano, mayor of Riace (Calabria), a house arrest for facilitating the reception of immigrants and asylum seekers in his small town in Southern Italy. Let us remember that Italy, and, more specifically, Southern Italy, where Mr. Salvini is also from, has always been, especially since the 50s-60s until now, a land of people who have had the need to immigrate in order to find new work and life opportunities.
Italy could well be a very similar area as Spain, despite the small cultural differences between countries. The same Southern Italy of which I speak is a land very similar to Andalusia: a land full of cultivated areas and which are being cultivated right now by immigrant workers from African countries, as is the case here in Spain, where immigrants usually perform jobs that are paid less or are normally rejected by the local inhabitant because of their hardness, for example, the agricultural sector is a sector where this migrant population usually works, in the collection of tomatoes, strawberries …
My reflection does not want to focus on the Italian case only, but also on what is coming up in Europe. Are we in the same situation as America was 50 years ago with regard to the integration of social races?
Perhaps, we should rethink many things, both with the reception of people who come from countries still recovering from conflicts, such as people who come from the Yugoslav war zones of the 90s, eastern Ukraine since 2014, or from of the most well-known conflicts such as Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Egypt, Nigeria, or those that unfortunately are still at war like Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan.
I think we should memorize the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, from a very young age, and understand some articles well, such as article 13.1: “Everyone has the right to move freely and to choose his residence in the territory of a State.” or 14.1 “In case of persecution, every person has the right to seek asylum, and to enjoy it.“.
Maybe we have to rethink, that not all immigrants are bad people or terrorists wanting for Jihad, I think we should remember that we are all immigrants at one time or another of our lives, we all have had to move at some point to another country to work or we have a son, a father, a couple or ourselves that we have had to move away from our origins to have better life opportunities or simply because we want to start a new life in another country different from ours. We must understand that the world is increasingly global, and therefore with more interaction and confluence of languages, countries of origin and cultures, and that borders may no longer be necessary as before, and as was already done in North – America 50 years ago, we should rethink many realities of our society at European level and work them to make them our own, and consider them, as an enrichment of our own culture rather than a threat.
* Journal article published in the Opinion Column of Cristina Redondo: Il dolce far niente, section Tribuna del Diari de Sant Quirze on 10/04/2018