Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on email

Looking at migration in the face

The Gordian: sign up and get our monthly magazine.

It has not been a good week for refugees; but then again, it never is… 

Today’s The Guardian reports how the Lebanese government forced 5,000 refugee families to demolish their own home in order to induce them to return to Syria. 

Yesterday, the captain of rescue ship Sea-Watch 3, Carola Rackete, was arrested after she forcefully docked her ship in the Italian island of  Lampedusa. Having rescued 53 migrants drifting off the coast of Libya on June 12, the Sea-Watch 3 was left stranded while the Italian authorities kept refusing to let her dock.

Last Sunday a Salvadoran young man drowned with his two-year-old daughter while trying to swim across the Rio Grande to US territory. The photo of their corpses was sprawled across the world press for much of the week.

Migrants and refugees

Refugees and migrants are people seeking a better life in a country other than their own. Refugees may have more obvious reasons to flee their country, such as war or persecution, but it would be fair to say that the reasons for a person to “up and go” are never trivial. I say “their” country, but many of these displaced people are actually stateless. These people do not have a country at all and there are about 12,000,000 of them. All migrants have one thing in common: they are often demonised. Why?

Why the animosity?

Well the arguments are generally the same. On the one hand we accuse them of trying to steal our  jobs, while on the other we slate them for being ignorant, lazy and offensive. If the latter accusation were true, it is hardly likely that the former would follow. 

Of course, there are countless other criticisms and these are sometimes levied at the way particular governments deal with immigration. Some citizens accuse their governments of spoiling immigrants and giving them all they want on a silver platter, while they have to struggle for every penny they earn. In certain cases, this may be true, though perhaps more so in the past. Nowadays, with nationalism on the rise, even leftist governments are careful not to ruffle the sensitivities of the electorate.

The root of the problem

Migrants are people; and like all people they have good and bad qualities. Indeed, they will have additional problems, such as those linked to traumatic experiences, language and adjusting to different customs. These issues may make them more difficult to deal with. A shortage of jobs and resources will make immigrants even less welcome. However, these challenges are not the point, as they are challenges that can be resolved. The root of the problem is, rather, whether we believe that these people have rights; that is, the same human rights as citizens. 

For many people, migrants do not have rights and their very safety can be compromised. The policies of Trump and Salvini are not the only ones that are jeopardising the lives of migrants. But life is just the last straw. Before that migrants are treated with dehumanising contempt. We would not allow our dogs to be treated the way we allow our governments to treat immigrants. Deep down, we know that the problems relating to migration are not insurmountable. Yet, we pretend they are, as solving them might put us out, somewhat. We are no different to the caricature of Marie Antoinette dismissing the problem with a shake of the hand: “Let them eat cake!”

Sitting on the fence.

As Ken Saro-Wiwa stated referring to the plight of the Ogoni people: “Silence would be treason.” By pretending not to notice, we are actually taking the sides of the oppressors. Every little helps and we must do whatever it is we can to proclaim and safeguard the dignity of humanity. The bell tolls for all of us.

UN-aligned campaigning for a fairer world. Learn more about our mission and what you can do to help: here.

Take ownership of UN-aligned

Unlike most organisations, UN-aligned is, primarily, its members. We are the New United Nations and though just a drop in the ocean, for now, we will carry on growing until we will become a force to be reckoned with! The more of us there are, the more chance we have of achieving our aims. Help us by promoting membership to you friends or to people you think have similar values. If every member added another, membership would snowball and we would be unstoppable! We also need active members: people who roll up their sleeves and contribute to the work of the organisation. Some already have, for instance, by writing articles for The Gordian, or offering to help with proofreading.

No matter what you can do, we want you. Write to us with your talents and we’ll make it work. 
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on email
Share on whatsapp


Meet The New Lady Justice

Welcome to the first issue of the 6 volume of The Gordian. It is largely accepted that Lady Justice’s blindfold symbolises impartiality, however, one cannot help comparing the blindfold to that of “blind” Fortune, whose largess is purely random. How else can there be so much injustice in the world? We say no more: Meet our new Lady Justice. This issue offers the usual mix of politics, interviews, culture, and galleries by our UN-aligneders across the world, including Ruby Goldenberg, Carla Pietrobattista, Katharina Wüstnienhaus, Atika Harba, Kaitlyn Rivera, Anahita Ahmadi, Partho Pratim Chatterjee, Sailaja S.P and Aryan Yekrangi. The editors are Adrian Liberto and Ariana Yekrangi.

Subscribe to the The Gordian magazine and more...

The Gordian is the official UN-aligned magazine. It is a round-up of global news, opinions and long reads accompanied by striking photography. It also keeps you updated about UN-aligned’s progress and impact in the real word.

We promise not to spam your inbox.  Find how we use your information.

Or become a free member.

Get The Gordian sent right to your email...
UN-aligned magazine is a round-up of global news, opinions and long reads accompanied by striking photography and insightful companion pieces.
We respect your privacy. You can unsubscribe at anytime.

UN-aligned uses cookies to make this website better.