Humans have always emigrated. From the beginning of the history of our species, human beings have had the need or desire to move to other territories (nearby or far away) in order to survive. Looking for a better climate, fertile soil, raw materials, water, other humans, peace, love,…
Opportunities. We are animals, and, like them, we are always looking for a better life, that’s natural. If we observe the recent past, we can see how during our modern history people have moved in masse to find a more welcoming and hopeful place.
Recent history of migration waves
For example, in the nineteenth century, a modern form of mass migration emerged that was made possible by new means of transportation, colonial settlements and the expansion of the United States (USA). Between 1846 and 1914, more than 30 million migrants left from Europe to America. For decades this migration was mainly free and the most important document that the immigrant had to take with him was not a passport or an identity document but a boat ticket.
But that first human wave was eclipsed by the wave of misery that occurred during World War II and after it. During the first four years of war, Germany and the USSR “uprooted, transplanted, expelled, deported and dispersed” some 30 million people. In May 1945 there were more than 40 million refugees in Europe, homeless, uprooted and fleeing, looking for a place where they are not persecuted for their race, their culture, their religion or their ideology.
Unfortunately, the total number of displaced people in the world over the last years is higher than the other two human waves. This current wave of forced displacements is equivalent to the populations of Spain, Portugal and Austria combined. More than 65.6 million people have moved in search of better living conditions.
This 65.6 million includes three important components. First, the figures for refugees, which with 22.5 million are the highest recorded. The conflict in Syria is still the one that generates the most refugees worldwide (5.5 million), although in 2016 the main factor of this increase was South Sudan, where the disastrous rupture of the peace efforts in July of that year contributed to the departure of 739,900 people until the end of December 2016 (currently, 1.87 million).
Second, the displacement of people within their own country, whose number was 40.3 million at the end of 2016, compared to 40.8 million a year earlier. Syria, Iraq and the still very considerable displacement within Colombia were the main situations of internal displacement. However, internal displacement is a global problem and represents almost two-thirds of total forced displacement in the world.
Third, asylum seekers, people who have fled their country and apply for international protection as refugees. At the end of 2016, the number of people who had requested asylum in the world was 2.8 million.
This exacerbates the immense human cost of war and persecution in the world: 65.6 million means that, on average, one out of every 113 people in the world is in a situation of displacement, that is, a population larger than the population of the United Kingdom, 21st country in the world in number of inhabitants.
It means that every minute, about 24 people are moving in a forced way. Most of them are fleeing from being persecuted for their race, religion, nationality, political ideology or belonging to a social group, seeking in another country a safe place to live.
As you know, behind these crazy and inhuman numbers there are dreams, struggles, love, faces, sufferings, fears, personal projects, spectacular talents, babes, old people and family stories that you cannot imagine.
And, in front of that, the question is: What are our leaders of European states doing in this alarming situation?
To face the situation, our borders are closed just when all of these people need more solidarity and empathy. We have already seen that Europe is not an example of good reception of people in an extremely vulnerable situation.
Most people who applied for protection at the height of the refugee crisis in 2015 had to wait months or years in refugee camps in a really really bad conditions. Illnesses without treatment, hunger, cold, fear, insecurity, despair, families separated by thousands of kilometers away,… This is how Europe treats people who are not rich and who flees from alarming situations.
Imagine that you are a person who are fighting for a new and better live. If you try to cross the border illegally to survive, there are some possible consequences:
One of them is that you do not spend too much time in the dream country; the border police expel you immediately and by force (prohibited by the European Court of Human Rights) without any care. If you manage to stay in the country of destination without being expelled, you will encounter a large number of bureaucratic impediments.
If you are of low social class, you will have to live clandestinely and without the possibility of finding a job with a contract because now they are not interested in exploiting only the illegal immigrant people, there is a whole population willing to work and you are the last one in the line.
You will have to live as you can, living with other people who are in a similar situation and who speak your language, or you will have to look for space in refugee camps or reception centers of unfortunate conditions. But once you are surviving as you can, the police may register you for your appearance and color and take you to a detention center for illegal immigrants until they return you to your country of origin, a process that may change depending on the Immigration Law of the country where you are.
You can also see how society discriminates you because you are “different”. With the European extreme right on the rise, you may have some unpleasant encounter with someone who sees you as an enemy.
In front of this situation… What can we do? Fight against our states and their laws? To weave a network of solidarity and support for immigrants? Help them in the burocratic processes? Become aware of our privileges..?
With Nòmad we want to work about this. We want to create a space of reflexion, of debate, where the participants can feel free to express anything about the nomadic / migrations theme. It will be an experiment where participants will have the opportunity to delve into the subject and empathize with those people who day by day continue to move and fight around the world in search of a better life.
We are searching for a creative and artistic process, where with the contemporary arts perspective and five different artistic techniques, the participants can explore and show things that no one know yet. A beautiful surprise!
This project will make each participant being more aware of the situation of migrations? It will change something? The world will be better after this intercultural experience..?
Who knows? Nobody knows what can be and nobody know how far can it go.
Go ahead. Com’on people, without any fear. Yallah!