Could we not say that our migrations, from time to time, lead us to a home, to our home?...

Undoubtedly. However, it is not always the case. Quite often, our migrations, at first, sometimes for good, take us away from "our home". But this exit from the familiar or from our families can also become a self-discovery, a discovery of the other, of another society.

In this way, in Brussels, the Josefa House invites people to think and experience the relationship between the "House and I".

To be dispossessed of one’s original "home" for various reasons and to find oneself confronted with a new experience, another House, calls us to question the meaning of our migrations. Why me? Why you? And what part of me, of you, is subject to "migration"?

In a house or home, if the space allows it, a meeting with oneself can develop mysteriously: if the place does not exist solely for the purposes of integration into a society (which would then be very closed), but instead, first and foremost, as an experience between a "house" and oneself.

The Josefa proposal is a little like this: when the house begins to look more and more like me.

Josefa is about daring to rebuild one’s self or to "reveal" one’s self, as one chooses and in a safe place.

In a way, Josefa is about taking the time, if the need or desire exist, to review, to look at what our migrations are, what they offer us, despite the tragedy; to enjoy what is still possible for oneself, with others, in the fundamental sense that, from time immemorial, we were born migrant, in order to become an even better migrant and without having to, at all costs, end up in a forced "integration". Because the road does not stop where some people would want it to… for others.

You and I are migrants in a common "house" and, paradoxically and mysteriously, beyond that common universality.

19

Sep

Born a migrant

At a time, in Europe, in particular, when the subject of "migration" is on every politician’s lips, and when, leading up to Morocco, the Global Compact for Migration continues its preparations, it seems that, with every passing day, "migration" is more and more "sacred"...

It's as if everybody was trying to voice their opinion on "the subject" without really getting to the heart of the issue.

Certainly, some of us, at some point in time, will experience a migration said to be "forced", an exile, in which one’s freedom will be greatly restricted; certainly, some of us seem to have or to give themselves the authority to speak about "it", but, in the end, who, better than I, can speak about my journey, about my migration?

Actually, wasn’t I born a migrant, the product of a migration which preceded me up to the day of my birth? I entered into a history of humanity where my journey and my life can only be "migration".

Therefore, to varying degrees, you, like me, are experiencing this fact, this reality of being born a migrant.

And, besides, radically, too often tragically, our migrations make our births real.

Then, without further delay, without an academic or political explanation, I will be able to be in tune with our migrant condition, yours and mine, without excessive hospitality, but simply recognising, like you, that I was born a migrant.

Gilbert

From the beginning, humans have always been curious about themselves, as well as the world which surrounds them...

The answers which fill philosophical works are innumerable and have evolved throughout the history of mankind: "political animal", Aristotle; reasoning animal, Descartes; "thinking reed", Pascal; God’s image, the Bible; broken image, Saint Augustine; self-awareness, awareness of others, awareness of death; emergence of the "I"; freedom and responsibility; talking animal; endowed with laughter… And, to be fair, we must also mention the wisdoms and religions of the entire planet that have also wondered about human nature and have brought their own answers.

To this wide array of approaches and definitions of the human being, the Josefa Foundation has added a new one, one that is undoubtedly unexpected, but that it proposes nevertheless, with a certain boldness, as the foundation upon which all the others rest: "we are all migrants"; the human being defined as a migrant animal/being. What are the arguments for this?

Firstly, human history and even prehistory indisputably provide evidence of uncountable movements of populations throughout the ages: from the first peoples who ceaselessly moved about searching or hunting for their daily food, the nomadic shepherds following their herds, to the big migrations and invasions that came about due to various factors, which swept whole territories and caused further migrations. So, migration is first defined by its most obvious trait: movement in space.

But migration is not limited to the realm of geography: it is also practiced in time. The word "evolution", for example, connotes modifications which can take place in various domains. Everybody has heard about Darwin’s theory of evolution of the species, which shows the genesis of humans among animals, of which they are a member, which comes about at the end of a long process – that is, of a movement – called the struggle for existence.

The word "evolution" can also apply to one’s personal life as well as to the life of societies: throughout our existence, we go through various phases, from birth to old age, via youth and adulthood. It's a whole life journey which gets modified year by year, affecting our body as well as our spirit and our emotions. Freud taught us to descend (another movement) beyond consciousness, into the depths of the subconscious.

Our societies also change, and in a more and more accelerated way, under the combined effect of scientific progress and the techniques which follow it, markets and media as well as currents of thoughts. Trends come and go, with respect to clothes, ideas, behaviours or ways of living. Even institutions, a hallmark of permanence, evolve.

Our interpersonal relations are also evolving: we meet, separate, meet again, unite…: it is a constant movement. Dialogue and debate also develop our behaviour, as well as our thoughts or our ways of seeing things.

International relations between countries are constantly moving: some treaties are signed, others are broken; conflicts or natural disasters occur, causing populations to move and the discriminatory creation of this "migrant" category, for whom media, politics or socioeconomic actors mobilise their attention for variably justifiable purposes.

But why is the Josefa Foundation proposing a new definition? By considering every human being, whether a man, woman or child, fundamentally as a "migrant being", the reasons for which have been shown briefly above, the Josefa Foundation prevents people from being confined to more or less discriminatory categories: "migrants", just like we used to identify Jews, Blacks, slaves, women, immigrants… in order to treat them as different beings, and, most of the time, with a lower rank, in society… Calling a human being a migrant being directly leads us to another way of looking at our journeys: going beyond our hesitations or our fears, it’s about thinking, freely, about welcoming each other as a sister, a brother, in humanity where we bring our uniqueness, our stories, our languages, our cultures, and trying to share together, in a perfect horizontality, our mutual resources. Without underestimating the concrete challenges of this "cohabitation", which involves planning and organisation, this radical behaviour leads us migrant beings to a new way of making society and of building together our common destiny.

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