Migrations to kinder shores

What is this desire to go to a better place? The will to conquer all the challenges before you so that a better life may be made for your kin. We live in times where mass migrations are very visible and people have been clamouring to move out of dysfunctional countries and societies to gentler shores.

It has always been so but the rush of time and the obviousness of such a desire did not mark them as very visible events. Some migrations caused enormous upheavals and are still debated. Take the migration of the Aryans into India. The word is usually termed as an invasion among most historians. Here were a group of pastoralists moved from around the caucus and made their way into the fertile lands in Indus and Gangetic plains. Perhaps it was an invasion, mayhap not. However, the heat is felt these days in India because the Hindu right-wing cannot abide by being somehow related to “foreigners”. They don’t want to be clubbed with Muslims, Christians and Jews who came later.

Take another example which still lives in people’s mind. That of Alaric and the Visigoths sack of Rome. It was inevitable that the empire fall into ruin at some point. No empire will ever last for eternity. In modern times, the fate of the British Empire’s fall has been quite keenly felt by Britons. Churchill’s attempt to hold it together during and after the second world war are well documented. Getting back to the sack of Rome. The Gothic migrations on the frontier into the Roman empire due to the depredations of the Huns, and the subsequent ill treatment at the hands of the romans caused the same Goths to rise up and defeat Valens at the battle of Adrianople. From then onwards, the prize of Rome was there to be taken. I do hope we don’t read too much into this history and equate the migrations into Europe from Syria and Africa with those.

Let’s look at a still later example where the migration was the culmination of a dream for jews: the establishment of the independent state of Israel. During the first world war, the Balfour declaration had overwhelming support in Great Britain and Europe at large; not only because of the sympathy felt for jews but also in a perverse antipathy for their presence in “Christian lands”. ¬†After the horrors of the holocaust, sympathy predominated and most European states agreed to an establishment within the Palestine mandate of two different states: Israel and Palestine. Of course, as was the wont of Imperialist powers at that time, nobody thought to seriously engage with the people already living in the land. Of course, calamity ensued…and it is still unfolding.

Migrations need to be very carefully managed, particularly by host countries, otherwise there is hell to pay. In modern times there are very few such instances. One very satisfying instance is the resettlement of refugees from Pakistan in India after the horrors of partition. Many families in Delhi can trace their lineage back to Pakistan within a couple of generations. The good news is that assimilation was quick, relatively speaking, and no one even talks about it as an issue.

The other migration, which is now causing a lot of upheaval is the one from colonized countries from Asia and Africa into the colonizing countries of Europe and Americas. Overall, it has resulted in the betterment of both the migrants and the local population. However, it has to be recognized that to get to this point, lots of effort has been put in by the host countries too. Multiculturalism has been targeted by a lot of xenophobes but it generally work well. Much better that the alternative of denying those entry who would die otherwise.

I have migrated twice to the United States and both times the support systems in place have warmed my heart and made my life very easy. From healthcare to free utilities like libraries, schools and financial support, there is a lot of giving in these societies. A lot of heart goes into putting together these programs and i think that is why a lot of people are seeking out the West.

Migration to kinder shores can work for the betterment of all concerned and is the natural order of our species. Let’s embrace it and each other.

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