I just noticed now you know? Don't know why you don't want fit, able-bodied men but only poor old women & children in “your” country?
Do they deserve your compassion more? Do you want to look after the sick and the poor because you care, or do you want it so that you can feel good about yourself, so that it boosts your ego?
Our Twisted Sight
“Once again, able-bodied and fit men land on European shores...”
When I read this caption on a news, it just struck me as so ridiculous. Of course, it was an attack on “migrants”. People were claiming these men coming into “their” territory i.e. Europe, were economic migrants and not refugees. I know the discourse and the arguments of the opposition. Yet... I still could not grasp how perturbed that logic was. I mean I wouldn't want sick-old women and children in my house. Sorry, that came out bad and wrong. Of course I'd look after the sick and old if there be a need. What I mean is I'd rather have able-bodied and fit men who can give me a hand with work in the house instead of having to look after the sick. So apparently, people want the opposite!
I am not stupid. I know what they mean. They are trying to say that these men do not have a “right” to be here in Europe, they are not refugees.
When you look at things through the legal lens, you lose track of sense and sensibility. It's like the immigration lawyer who said “Good! Tell me the details, the more sordid the better,” when the child he was looking after said she was raped. The lawyer realized in horror how he stopped guarding the well-being of children and became a part of the system. He didn't say this because he was a horrible and senseless person, he said it because then the child and her family could earn the right for asylum. So something as horrifying as child rape is transformed into something positive. Just for the sake of fitting into laws to get what you want...
It works also vice versa. When you don't want something or someone, you find a ground to claim it is against the law. I repeat because I believe it is very important:
When you look at things through the legal lens, you lose track of sense and sensibility.
Debunking the Arguments
Of course, I know all the other arguments too. The assumption is, able-bodied and fit men coming to Europe are parasites and they're here to fleece the system or to rape women. I'm amazed how much trust or faith people have on the people born within the same border as they. Or how little trust they have on those born outside a line they believe in. I wonder how the results would turn up if there could be done a research on the goodness and badness of people in every country.
We are really suffering from a disorder. Wrong Classification Syndrome, it is a Blindness caused by the artificial construct of Borders.
I made a list of the arguments against migrants, against people being
#Free2RoamTheWorldWeAreBornIn and my answers to them. Here we go:
For the “Why don't they stay and fight?” argument please refer here.
For the “They're here for the freebies, “ I'm so surprised at the mind-reading, divination capabilities of such people. Or is it again a distrust of anybody born outside the imaginary line one is born in?
For the “They are economic migrants”, please refer here.
For the “They are terrorists here to attack us” argument, please refer here.
For the “Invasion of culture” argument, please answer me what is McDonald's doing in Africa or China? Why is Africa, as a continent, dotted with Coca-Cola or Pepsi umbrellas? Or Vodafone signs? Why is almost every country invaded by Hollywood movies? Why are so many Hollywood merchandise sold to kids everywhere around the world? Why is there no Pimpa (an Italian cartoon dog that my 4 year-old loves) merchandise in Italy but Elsa and Frozen are everywhere I turn around?
I'll take your arguments seriously and consider them only after you give an answer to all the above questions. Also refer to my article on horse vision.
While you are at it, have a look at Injustice At Birth and To The Selectionists.
So you want to select who can travel within the imaginary border you happened to be born in? Fine. Fair enough. But you cannot select who is born within the same imaginary border as you. You don't see anything wrong here?
If you have any other arguments against people moving around, please write to me and I'll try to answer and ease your concerns.
No, Justice cannot be given up even if it is impractical.
Let's not fail the basic test of humanity.
The article “Activists Condemn Turkey Over Polygamy Upsurge” condemns polygamy too.
You might be surprised but I support polygamy.
Aren't there many polygamic marriages and/or relationships in the modern world? Why not make polygamy legal and end hypocrisy?
Of course I'm totally against child marriages, or any forced marriage. However, if all parties involved are aware of the situation and accept it, I believe it's none of governments' business to interfere.
The article claims “Even when the authorities can identify people engaged in polygamy, they say their hands are tied because marriage is seen as a private issue despite the law.”
Well... It should not be only “seen as” a private issue, marriage is a private issue. As someone who has been forced to go to Las Vegas to get married, I believe the government should take its hands off personal affairs!
Sure, laws are there to protect women. But which women? Can the poor, uneducated women make use of any of those laws that are there to protect her? No. They are not even aware of their rights. Even if they were, they are not in a position to use those rights. Because in Turkey, unfortunately, getting your basic right requires you to pay up a huge amount of money upfront, then enduring lots of stressful and unmeaningful court cases taking way too long. And in the end, what do you get? Disappointment, even when you win your case.
As the article states:
"Recently on Kanal A TV, conservative commentator Hasan Acikalin complained that Turkish Muslims are being forced to choose between their religious values and their home country. Muslims “can’t get married according to Islamic rules,” he said. “There is monogamy. Second or third spouses don’t have legal rights.”"
I tend to agree with Acikalin, not on religious grounds but on logical and functional grounds. Marriage is a way for women to have legal rights. Why take that away from them if they are the second or third spouses?
“Marriage was a way for Kinda to ensure her and her son’s security.”
Yes, unfortunately, it is so for many women. Why should you be taking away that security, why don't you protect the legal rights of those second wives and their children?
"Women’s rights activists worry that their efforts to fight practices like polygamy will be jeopardized by a stronger Islamist government."
Please stop putting your efforts on polygamy, but go after the root cause. Polygamy can work out fine. It can provide the support some women need. The problem is not that. The problem is again mentioned in the article, but put in the wrong logic order.
"According to Nur Burhan, a Syrian gender researcher with the Center for Civil Society and Democracy, the majority of second wives are child brides sold to Turkish and Syrian men by their own families.
“These families don’t want the responsibility of their daughters anymore. They’re just thinking of putting food on the table,” Burhan said in her office in Gaziantep, another southeastern Turkish city grappling with the issue."
This is the real problem. Families not being able to put food on the table. I don't know why people go after the “effect” instead of the “cause.” The polygamy you are fighting against is only the effect. You should be banging on the head of the cause.
"Frustrated by what they see as the government’s failure to protect the victims of polygamy, aid organizations are focusing on increasing awareness about the issue. Letting people know, for example, that if an underage girl can prove her family forced her into marrying an already married man, she has the right to get the union annulled."
Sure, it's good to let people know their rights. But these people you are talking about, the underage girls, how do you, how can you expect them to have their union annulled even if they know they have the right? With which power, with which money, with which awareness, with which capability??
We don't need laws, we need a more just society which protects women and provides their basic needs. We need a society, not just for Turkey, but all over the world, which recognizes the work women do which goes unpaid and unappreciated. We need a society where men are taught to respect women, a society where women are not seen as objects men can exercise violence on. We need a society that values women. It's not only the men, we need to raise the new generation of women respecting themselves in the first place. And for that, we need to empower women.
We need more freedoms for women. We need more praise and tribute to women. We need more examples of women. We need to overthrow the male dominance seen everywhere in every field. We need to make visible the women who are made invisible. (The world is so male dominant that even the make-believe world of cinema ignores women. For detailed information, listen to the TED talk of Christopher Bell: Bring on the female superheroes! I am not in favor of this kind of merchandise for children; however, it is a good example how the world is set on ignoring women.)
We need a more just society which will not have to use women, girls, children as a commodity. That's what we need. Leave polygamy aside and focus on the real problem, fight the real monster.
There is everything wrong with child marriages, with forced marriages, -In fact, there is everything wrong with coercion of any kind.- but there is nothing especially wrong with polygamy. There is everything wrong with a society pushing people towards hypocrisy. As long as men's nature stays the same, they will be going after bodily pleasures, they will be leading double lives. As long as women do not have the means to stand alone on their feet in this world, their abuse will go on the way it is.
Don't condemn polygamy, condemn the unjust world where some people do not know what to do with all the money they have whereas other people have to worry about putting food on the table and the solution they find is selling their daughters.
Don't stand up for monogamy, stand up for a just world where everyone is provided his/her basic needs.
Enforcing monogamy is not the solution, empowering WOMEN is!
It is obvious that I am for a borderless world, but I have always avoided using that term. I go for "removal of borders as barriers of movement," #Free2RoamTheWorldWeAreBornIn, "abolish visas," #EndBirthplaceRacism and #EndGlobalApartheid #EndInjusticeAtBirth
Because to me, borders are not the main problem and “open borders” does not represent the heart of the problem. But as everyone uses these terms and there are hashtag pages, I decided to use #OpenBorders and #WorldWithoutBorders. Nobody in favor turned up. But I got an attack. SaxonShieldWall quoted some biblical text. “#WorldWithoutBorders and #WorldWithoutNations You mean like in the plot from Deuteronomy 7:16-24 and 32:28-35?”
I didn't have a clue what he was talking about. Instead of asking him, I got into the internet and searched. I still didn't get what those verses were supposed to mean. But I was sure what I was talking about had nothing to do what he meant.
“Not at all!” I said. “Borders and nations formed by consent is just fine. But being born into a nation is not. I agree there has to be boundaries. I respect borders, just not artificial ones.”
So we started an exchange with this SaxonShieldWall:
“If you neighbour moved the fence 3 feet further into your garden would you mind? Or took it down so he could use your land? Removing boundaries creates problems. Respecting other countries and peoples right to their own space would reduce them,” he said.
“Peoples right to their own space should be respected. But countries are NOT homes of nations. People are a concrete entity. We exist physically, we are not just defined like countries. Sovereignty is for people, not governments. I mean that's how it should be, I know it's the other way around now,” I replied.
“Problem here is you don't respect national self identity & seek to have it destroyed. Ultimately through violent means. Not nice,” he said.
“No, I don't have national self-identity, if that's a problem, it's your problem. &Who says through violent means? Where did you get that? Governments are the ones employing violence on people because they were born somewhere outside the imaginary line they drew.”
“Governments are employing violence inside and out because they need to destabalise the world to get rid of nations.”
"And who says through violent means? Where did you get that?" I repeated.
“What do you think happens in a societal collapse and revolution?”
“There doesn't have to be societal collapse or revolution. Things might change by seeds and enlightenment of the next generation.”
He mocked me asking “What is this enlightenment? The dawn of reality? Or another dangerous fantasy cobbled onto the end of the last one? You are helping get millions of people killed. That is the fact of it,”
“It is seeing things clearly, the way they are. The injustice and ridiculousness. And mind your words! What is 'dangerous fantasy cobbled onto the end of the last one?' Keep your judgements to yourself please,” I retorted.
Instead, I should have said “Oh the irony!” As this person, who obviously had one fantasy cobbled onto another was accusing me of such a thing.
“Yes yes, it is a FACT that I am helping get millions killed. Woow! I didn't know how monstrous I was! Thanks for warning me,” I went on.
He sent me a link for me to read... Riversofblood.uk He claimed “If you read that you might understand how your position can be exploited by others with very different ideas.”
“I don't care about others with very different ideas. I have my own ideas and stand by them. Everything is exploited anyway,” I said.
I had asked who his people were and he had not answered. So I repeated my question again:
“By the way did you tell me who YOUR people are? Why those born within the same imaginary line as you?”
“And you love every single one of your Saxons?? You don't have any problems with them? You never travelled or met anyone else you liked? And where do you recognize your people, these Saxons, from? They have beaks? They have protruding ears? They smile nicer?”
“Don't be silly:-)”
“Don't be silly about what? Then what's the problem with other people? I prefer other people over my family I was born into.”
SaxonShieldWall sent me the same link again and said “Can I refer you back to this because I know you didn't read it:-)”
“Yes yes you KNOW I didn't. That was such an enlightening piece but maybe I didn't get it. Did you read anything I wrote?” I asked. “See? I ask, I am not a seer like you who claims to know what other people are doing and stating Facts which are not Facts!”
“I'm sorry reality is not what you want it to be.”
“Ah! So your reality is the REAL one? Just like the Fact I'm helping millions die? I see... That's a fact and one & only reality. &You know this reality just like you knew I didn't read the piece you sent? I see... Problem is I'm not a seer like you, sorry for my incapacity :(“
“So your not a seer and you want to impose a radically different future on the world with no idea as to how it will pan out?”
“What makes you think I want to impose anything on anybody? And you think this political world is panning out so nicely? Yeah, I'd rather try another one, a just one & give it a try rather than go along with what we have.”
“? so you're not after a #WorldWithoutBorders? Panning out nicely? Apparently my country and people don't have a right to exist!”
“The way it is, yes I am. Borders can only be drawn where groups are formed by consent not by birth within a certain region. Where's it apparent from that your country and people have no right to exist?? Please answer my questions if you want to continue the conversation.”
“So in the end it will have to come to killing? Which you always knew anyway because that is how it has always ended.”
“?? Why does it have to come to killing? Plus, it cannot come to killing as we are already killing, we have to leave killing first,” I said. That was a ridiculous argument.
At which point SSW said something that made me laugh out loud so much!
“You are Jewish aren't you?”
“That was nice,” I typed in the computer after I was done laughing. “Your mind cannot conceive anything different, right? And I was wondering if you were 18 or 60? :)”
Even though I didn't feel his presumptuous question deserved an answer, I wanted him to understand how wrong he was. “Well, you make so many assumptions &until now, all of them have been wrong :)” I said. But that had ignited a sympathy in me. I realized he had fears and wrong notions, he was living in this scary world he made up, or others made up and he believed.
“Even though you seem like you are so in opposition to my ideas, I've grown a strange liking to you you know?” I said.
“You can like people and still fight on different sides in a war. It's a very weak bond unlike group survival as you know:-)”
“I do not know. I do not have a concept of group. &I don't think I'll fight a war against people I like. I don't think I'll fight a war against people, I fight against ideas.”
“But your ideas threaten world stability and people's very existence.”
“That's what YOU think. I wouldn't have hold such ideas if I thought it was so. Why do YOU feel so threatened?”
“This is mental torture for a start,” he answered.
“What's the mental torture? And what's the continuation if that's the start? :)” I asked.
He didn't answer these questions. I had gone on with other questions:
“Another question.. Who would you save in case of danger? One of your people that you don't like or one outside your group that you like? I might be saving you instead of my father for example. Is that bad? Is it strange? How can you identify with a group you didn't choose?”
“A Marxist & an Arab nationalist in burning building. Save Arab Nationalist... More in common. Marxist wants to destroy us both.”
At which I gave another hearty laugh.
“:)) You are funny... You know that, right?”
“Thanks:-) But nationalism is about respect not hate. Destroying borders, races and nations is disrespectful & an act of hatred. Actually you do have to laugh but according to British law a hate crime is whatever the "victim" perceives it to be. Subversion is where you want something that doesn't happen and create the conditions that make it happen.”
“Destroying what borders is disrespectful & an act of hatred? If you destroy my border with the world, the walls of my house, yes it is. If you are talking about destroying the imaginary lines drawn by a literally bloody war or by metaphorically bloody politics, no, it is not,” I said and went on. “As for destroying race... What's hate got to do with it? Even if there is such a thing as race, Intermarriage is destroying it, it's only people's choice and has to be respected. As for destroying nations... I don't know if you mean as race or nation-states. But both are disappearing anyway in the globalized world, and again, I don't think there's anything you can do about it. It has nothing to do with disrespect & hatred, it's a natural process.”
“The only way to create racial problems where they don't exist is by exploiting immigrants & using them to play divide and conquer. It is the most subversive and unnatural thing in the world.”
“Good point. So don't fall into their trap!”
“Which trap? Blaming the immigrants? Or imagining this is a normal natural process?”
“Divide & rule trap. What's not natural about a Turkish marrying a Kurdish? Or a French a Zimbabwean? Anything against nature for them to have sex or children? Anything that prohibits their having sex or having children?” I asked. “Races and nations you claim are being destroyed are destroyed because of inter-marriages not by movement of people!”
“What's natural about bringing people here from thousands of miles away and brainwashing everyone into thinking its normal?”
“What bringing people? What's unnatural about one who is bombed or simply unsatisfied with life moving around to find a better life? What's natural about drawing imaginary lines grouping people who DID NOT CHOOSE to be together and putting guns & walls at those lines?
Of course there is no answer to that question. So SSW did what people who feel trapped in a corner do.
“This is too stupid. You will lose. The end.”
“What's too stupid, what will I lose?” I asked and said. “I believe you've already lost as you put an End because you couldn't answer my questions.”
And I thanked him for the discussion. Even though I'm sure that was not his intention he had made me refine my arguments and made my belief in it stronger.
“Okay then read this. Then let me know if you think I've lost the argument,” he said sending the same link to me for the third time. Rivers of Blood!
“I've read it,” I said. “If you wish, be it, you win. I'm not after winning.”
“If you'd read it you wouldn't be at me here trying to defend your position. Especially as all you have is pure drivel.”
“I don't go for insults. Look in the mirror for drivel. Have a nice day and life...”
End of conversation.
I criticized Barack Obama for his nice words.
As Fadi Halisso also writes in his article “Another U.N. Summit and More Nice Words – but No Concrete Action” in NewsDeeply:
“Many critics have stated that the U.N. system has failed and argued that it is time to create a new international institution. Is this the best course of action? I don’t have a definitive answer, but what I am sure of is that the member states, especially the members of the Security Council and the U.N. bureaucrats, are responsible for proving this wrong. It is on them to show us real results and progress that go beyond the same two-minute emotional speech given at every global summit and General Assembly.”
I have a definitive answer. Yes, the best course of action is to dismantle all the system (little by little, otherwise it can lead to chaos), get rid of all the clogged wheels (as soon as and as quickly as possible), toss away all the two-minute emotional speeches (right away, click, gone!)
Okay... "Then what?" you may ask. Criticizing is easy, offering solutions is the essential thing.
I have some ideas for that too...
Then of course we need to set the wheels back on their tracks by redefining all our terms:
First, we #EndInjusticeAtBirth
Second, we #ChangeTheTaxSystem – where We, as the ones paying the piper, play the tune.
Third, we #EndStatehood
Fourth, we #RedefineCitizenship
Fifth, we #ChangeWhereTheMoneyGoes
Sixth, we get rid of security the way it is, and #Go4REALSecurity
Seventh, we start making plans to #ProvideBasicIncome
Well... Let's get these accomplished first. I'll tell you the next step afterwards.
It's so cheesy... So so cheesy... The story of this boy, Alex, who wrote a letter to Obama offering a place in his family to Syrian boy. And Obama reading the letter...
The fact that Alex will be waiting for them with “flags, flowers and balloons...” Flowers and balloons are fine of course. It's just that he will be waiting with flags too! He will be filling with pride over the generosity of his “big” country.
“He teaches us a lot...” said Obama. Really? “The humanity that a young child can display, who hasn't learned to be cynical, or suspicious, or fearful of other people because of where they're from, or how they look, or how they pray. We can all learn from Alex.”
So why don't we, why don't you learn from Alex? Why don't you just put into effect, put into general practice what Alex wants to do? Allow anybody to select people or families, be they refugees or migrants, from a list like orphaned children.
Even if you don't open up... Sorry I take that back, because “open up” is not the right word, because borders as barriers of movement are unjust and shouldn't have been there in the first place. The right word is “remove” borders as barriers of movement... At least, you may allow people to “adopt” refugees or migrants or whoever else they wish to. Give people sovereignty instead of claiming all sovereignty to yourself. I hold you to your word. I believe I have the right to hold the president of arguably the biggest country in the world to his word. If politicians are just there to speak and not take action, they shouldn't be occupying that place. I mean I may even prefer Trump if he does what he preaches.: even though I am all against what he preaches.
In short: Don't preach if you are not going to practice what you Preach. Cheesy politics, empty rhetoric sucks. One boy writes a letter, "Ah how nice, how cute..." and politics exploits it. Then what? What's the good of it to the people on the run? What is the concrete action?
If you say "We can all learn from Alex", first you, as the president of America, start and learn from Alex, and show what you have learnt!
While we/you are at it, let's learn from Lars too... The Swedish architect Lars Asklund who asked only three questions to a Syrian man to take him into his house.
I understand it is difficult to do such things, to take radical steps as a president... You need to stay where you are, keep your position. However, at least go a bit further, take another step after saying "We can all learn from Alex." Ask people, even if rhetorically, "I have an idea... What if we bring such an adoption practice? An easy procedure where everybody in the world can take in anybody they wish? That allows people to move around without going through such a thorough vetting process to prove they are refugees?"
Just let this question sit there and sink in; let your words start a discussion. A discussion that may change something in this mad world.
PS: What do you call being able to learn but not learning? As is the case for Obama...
PPS: What is to be done?
The Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie gave a speech “Nobody is Just a Refugee” for United Nation’s World Humanitarian day. After recounting her own family's run from shelling and acceptance in a house that was already full of people, Adichie said:
“I'm not making the simplistic suggestion that all borders be open. Because that's impractical.”
Ah! So it's impractical. Sorry??!!! We cannot give up justice just because it is impractical! Or can we?
Learning to Bear the Burden of Doing the Just Thing
Blocking huge areas of the earth to babies just because they were born somewhere else is the biggest injustice of our times. It is injustice at birth.
So whatever the cost, that injustice needs to be removed. I understand... The burden of that cost is going to be on us. If it is so, be it. We need to do the right and just thing. If doing the right and just thing has a bad consequence for us, I'm sorry, we bear it. We face the consequences.
You deal with migration. We deal with it. We are not the masters of the universe even though we believe we are the most wonderful animal on earth because we have built skyscrapers, we have built metal birds that fly, we understand a bit how nature works and we know how to split the atom... Still, we deal with it. We have the resources and the capacity to deal with it. I know, some people do not believe that. If we cannot deal with it, we live with it. We learn to live with it. (Haven't you heard of “If it doesn't kill you, it just makes you stronger.” Oh I know, now some people will claim we're going to be flooded with terrorists and then wiped out. Someone with the nickname Suchindranath, commenting on The Economist said “Mark my words.” So here I am, marking his words. He wrote: “Turkey will stem the Islamic invasion until it becomes part of the EU and then take over Europe with 75 Millions Sunni Terrorists!” I'd find this appalling and take it as an insult if it wasn't so ridiculously funny. First of all, not everybody in Turkey is Sunni. Second of all, not every Sunni is a believer even if it writes so on our IDs. Third of all, not every believer is a practicing Muslim. Fourth of all, the vast majority of believers and practicing Muslims are not terrorists. Fifth of all, I came from Turkey into the EU by way of marriage. There are many other Turkish already in Europe. Just like there are millions of Muslims from other countries already in the EU. As far as I know, we haven't blown anybody up. And no, we don't plan to. And those who plan such acts would have many methods to go around the barriers you erect, you can be sure of that. For further analysis please see "On Going Down the Gutter." If you want to argue about Cologne and other news, please refer to the following paragraphs.)
We are humans, we learn to live with everything. We learn to live with the pain of losing our child; we learn to live with cancer and all other types of diseases; we learn to live not only with the symptoms of these diseases but also with the setbacks, the inconveniences that their treatment brings into our lives; we learn to live with big accidents and their consequences; we learn to live with natural disasters and their consequences; we learn to live with bullies in our lives; we learn to live in wartimes, in warzones, in camps, in makeshift huts, in the mud, under the scourging sun, under the soaking rain, under the freezing snow. These people have learnt to live with being driven out of their homes, with being treated as dirt or as inferior... We either learn to live with all the things life throws at us, or simply live with them. We are human beings, yes, some do not learn to live with some things, some cannot cope with living with the cards life deals them and give up, but we are mostly resilient and have a strong will to survive and live even under very dire conditions.
We deal with mass migration the way we deal with life and whatever life throws at us. The migrants - whom you expose to every type of hardship, whom you cannot decide how to torture - they say "We will find a way," and we/you, sitting in y/our nice couches, cannot say "We will deal with mass migration"?! Shame on you, shame on us. It's a crying shame.: such leaders.
The caption under this photo reads:
“How many days does poverty last father?”
“40 days my son.”
“Would we be rich after 40 days?”
“No son. We'd get used to it...”
We'd get used to mass migration too. If necessary, we learn to live with it. We live with impossible family members for God's sake! We may choose not to talk to them, but there is always the blood connection whether we like it or not. So we may choose to ignore the migrants, but we may live in proximity with them whether we like it or not.
I don't believe in the doomsday scenarios of Middle Easterners flooding Europe and turning the wealthy developed Western way of life into a shithole. All the while, I believe every fear is valid and legitimate; fears being fears, they do not need to be grounded. Even if it is to be so, even if the fears of some people turn into reality with the removal of visas... The bottom line is this:
We should not have, we do not have the right to, make the weak suffer unnecessarily because of our fears and just because we have the power and we can. Yes, we have the possibility to shirk our fears by devising visa practices, by building walls, by police force, by paying bribes to other countries etc. but we shouldn't be doing it. Because it puts a very unjust burden and leads to unacceptable suffering of those whose only “crime” is having been born in a certain geographical part of the world. Just because it's not our lives, we cannot shut our eyes to these wasted lives. Migrants are not the ones who should be learning to live or having to live with the consequences of unjust decisions and political maneuvers of governing bodies. If there is to be a price to pay, if there is to be a burden to bear at all... It should be on us. We should be the ones learning to live with the consequences of doing the right and just thing.
Simplistic suggestion?? Is it? Opening all borders at the click of a finger may be impractical... Even if not, it is probably not something that can happen overnight either. At least, not all around the world in synchronization. However, Adichie's deduction from the story is wrong! It is her example that is simplistic. It was the home of a person, a concrete being, that they entered. The analogy doesn't work. Countries are not the homes of governments! Countries are not flesh and blood like people, countries are defined by us. We can just as easily redefine our political concepts.
My husband has warned me several times that if I do not acknowledge the complexity of removing barriers and the difficulties that would arise in practice, people would think “Oh, another dreamer.” He was going on “And it's good to be a dreamer...”
I interrupted him. “I'm not a dreamer. To the contrary, I am very realistic. I know very well that this is not going to be happening. Not now, probably not even in my lifetime. But I'd like to stretch the minds of people. Otherwise, if everybody keeps on talking at this level, there is no way, no hope of things changing. Ever!”
He added that my discourse would be interpreted like saying “Let's love each other and everything's going to be fine.” To the contrary... I loath people. To the point that I call myself a misanthrope. Or let's say borderline misanthrope. But that doesn't give me the right to treat people bad, to harm them. Or even to treat them unjustly for my own sake.
My husband also says what I advocate, i.e. removing borders as barriers of movement, is all good in theory. He understands the philosophizing part, but he thinks of the practical situation. (Ring a bell with Adichie's “impractical” comment?) “People scared of migrants probably need some answers on how to handle the whole issue,” said my husband. “You have to deal with the migrants coming into your country somehow. They cannot come to your neighborhood and live on the streets, they need a place to stay, they need food, otherwise you'll have dead bodies around you, here, instead of the beach in Bodrum. That is not much different.” Then he came to the real point. “And you need money for these things.”
“There are already many people, many organizations working on helping migrants, there is already a huge amount of money being poured in!” I cried out. “Instead of this, you can just spend the money on something beneficial, on integrating these people. What's more, you make these people spend or to put it better waste money. Instead of using their money to pay smugglers, migrants could use it to live properly in the place they migrate to. If things didn't work out in the first place they went, they could even decide to move somewhere else since they would not have depleted all their resources. You first create this totally unnecessary and totally unacceptable situation, then prefer to spend money and energy trying to sort it out or put patches on the problem. You add to the problem and try to solve a double problem rather than solving the only existent problem. Are you stupid? I mean is every politician so stupid?”
The very situation we are living right now, spending all this money to block people, making people spend money to overcome those blocks, is very Impractical.
You know what is also soo very impractical??
It is very impractical to leave your home, leave all your belongings behind and try to get through borders full of walls and fences and guns pointed at you not to enter. It is very impractical to set up a new life for yourself somewhere else where everything is unfamiliar. That's what's VERY impractical.
But people do it. So we can do some impractical things, too. Better to do the impractical thing that is just than to go on doing the unjust impractical thing.
Humanity and Injustice
“Our humanity is that glowing center in all of us, it is what makes us speak up against an injustice even when that injustice does not personally affect us,” said Adichie in her speech.
Then why didn't she say it? I'll be repeating myself but... Blocking huge areas of the earth to babies just because they were born somewhere is the biggest injustice of our times. It's injustice at birth.
Adichie couldn't say it. She couldn't bring herself to say that borders are unjust. Her 2009 TED talk "The Danger of a Single Story" was among my favorite talks. I was a single story person. I fell in love with a man for one single nice behavior. Then it didn't last. No wonder... I had a single story for people I broke up with too. Somebody did one unacceptable thing, it was over. So Adichie's TED talk resonated with me, but her UN talk was just unbearable even though it sounded so refined. (Would you say I learnt to overcome the single story?!)
Adichie, at the conclusion of her speech said:
“Today, in this world that has been scarred by so much suffering, creating room for people is not only doable, it is a moral imperative. It is the moral imperative of our time. ”
I'd like to re-quote her:
“Today, in this world that has been scarred by so much suffering, realizing the injustice of borders and if necessary, giving up our privileges, is not only doable, it is a moral imperative. It is the moral imperative of our time. ”
It may be impractical, but it is a moral imperative.
Opening up borders, acknowledging everyone's right to move around and live anywhere on the planet they were born is the moral imperative of our time.
In “The Origins of Totalitarianism” (1951), the political theorist Hannah Arendt wrote:
“The conception of human rights based upon the assumed existence of a human being as such broke down at the very moment when those who professed to believe in it were for the first time confronted with people who had indeed lost all other qualities and specific relationships – except that they were still human. The world found nothing sacred in the abstract nakedness of being human. .... (Refugees knew) that the abstract nakedness of being human was their greatest danger.”
Sadly true... Isn't it ridiculous to argue that a sovereign nation-state has a right to control its borders and decide who can get in but a human, any human does not have a right to go anywhere s/he wishes on the planet s/he was born by the mere fact that s/he is a human.
We have rights as citizens, and we have more rights if we are a citizen of a “great” country. We do not have rights as humans.
As Joe Humphreys writes in the article "Stop Kidding Yourself, You Have No Human Rights" in the Irish Times:
“Arendt witnessed how those without a state were “expelled from humanity”, and the same applies today.
Slavery is better than being stateless, she wrote, as “to be a slave was after all to have a distinctive character, a place in society more than the abstract nakedness of being human and nothing but human”.
Think about that the next time you bleat about your right to something. Think about what’s being done to refugees in your name. Their vulnerability is ours.”
Yes. Their vulnerability is ours. And deep inside, we all know that. That's why the resistance not to accept a basic human right: the right of movement. And while we are at it, the extension of that, i.e. the right of settlement, the right to choose where you want to live and work. Why not?
Just because some people were not born within the imaginary boundary that you dictate is not an answer. Just because people speak a different language or follow a different religion is not an answer either. Security, or rather the "feeling of security" is not an answer either. Actually, I don't know of any logical answer to that question. The ridiculuous irrational stupidity of politics, of dividing and generalizing people according to the spot they were born on earth has to be done away with.
If not?... As long as the political arena stays the way it is, i.e. As long as we see countries as on a political map, as long as there are countries, "sovereign" nation-states and its "not so sovereign" citizens, as long as there is the belief in a government to protect us and to defend our rights, as long as we keep the status quo of states, we have no chance to a better world.
To me, the best message would be... To break down the artificial barriers between people. Our goal should be to install a new world software where man does not fear man. Only when it dawns on us that real security can only be achieved through solidarity with humanity, we have no chance of any improvement in the world. A shot at -not total but a decent amount of- peace is only possible through ending statehood.
What's the biggest problem that needs to be done away with in the world?
It's the irrational politics, it's states and statehood stupid!