Migrants, all of us

As we return to our autumn schedules, Josefa invites us once again to think carefully about our relationship with our migrant humanity, our relationship with our fundamentally migrant nature. It is not about stating an abstract truth, nor about creating a new supercategory called "migrant", but, more simply, more radically, about being open to the possibility of a closer look on "my migration".

By drawing closer to my migration, recognising it as mine, as unique, whether it be free or forced, temporal or spiritual, physical or psychological, in space or in time, I too become part of it: "we are all migrants".

Why should we exclude, discriminate, or categorise a segment of our humanity, those who may be more "migrant" than me?

Why should we claim mobility rights and freedom of movement for ourselves, or even, generously, for others (if at least these "others" have expressed the desire and delegated the request for it), when it concerns that part of our humanity that allows it to move and to evolve? How limiting would my own identity be if it could only be defined or determined for me by others: parents, friends, society, social welfare bodies, defenders of "minorities", politicians, media, enemies, etc.?

Migration is the foundation of our human condition. It concerns all of us, as migrants; it is our destiny. If I am not moving or have stopped moving, if I deny or am denied my "migrant being", by being prevented from migrating, then I am dead to myself and to others, today and tomorrow.

We should, of course, be careful not to mix up everything: not all of us are migrants who have been exiled, forced to flee the land of our birth, of our residence, our land by choice or by preference.

But all of us are potentially, capably, invited to look at ourselves, to discover that we are migrants, which is an essential element of our human condition, our human expression, our human construction.

Challenges or realities: migrants, all of us.





Am I a migrant?

This question can in no way be answered for you or for anyone else. And that is precisely the challenge that Josefa has attempted to take on in the last few years.

To stop thinking on behalf of others is a massive "political" challenge; but, at the same time, it is not so difficult if we first think about our own identity as "migrants" before judging others and placing that label on them. "Migrant", "refugee, "asylum seeker"; what about me, am I a migrant? Identities, affiliations, categories, any of these can be targeted.

In fact, the question is revolutionarily simple: "am I not, as well, a part of this migration that everyone is called to experience?" Thus, "migrant" is no longer an attribute, to migrate is no longer a right; but, much more radically, the term "migrant" is connected to my human condition: to migrate constitutes my "humanity".

Of course, we have to be careful not to mix everything up and create a disrespectful confusion. There are (spatial, temporal, intellectual, spiritual) migrations which appear or are experienced under duress; others seem voluntary; but most migrations are genuinely a manifestation of our vulnerabilities.

Nevertheless, for Josefa, we cannot be satisfied with watching the train of history and its exiles go by, but, forced or free, we need to be on that train, because, inevitably, I am a part of it, in a unique way, or, simply, in a human way.

Am I a migrant? We all have to be bold enough to ask that question.


To accept the meaning, the entire meaning, all the meanings of our migrations, even those that do not come to mind or that we cannot yet conceptualise.

What meaning remains of our "home", when it is no longer visible, when the distance, sometimes irreversible, is too great? When our memory of it has been affected by mutations, exile, fighting...

Admittedly, we do not follow just one path or move in one direction; our life journey includes return trips and even no-return trips.

But embracing the meaning of our migrations is to allow ourselves, to some extent, to be overwhelmed in our own identity by an unexpected, subversive, even dramatic innovation, to the point where sometimes freedom even seems to no longer be exercised.

Migration can be more than just choosing a direction, precipitating the journey, or taking the plunge; it can also be a celebration, an inspiration, across generations or in one’s personal life, which can lead to a new meaning, a renewal of the traditional meaning, perhaps even result in a society that is less and less closed.

So that the other, human or human experience, becomes potentially meaningful, at any time or place, as if we were, would be and remained migrants in every sense of the word, whatever happens: migration in every sense, in the ultimate sense of an eternal dwelling that would reveal its meaning. Migration and our home would be the two sides of the same humanity, ours, for us, adventurers in every sense, in search of an ark still a little veiled in our eyes blinded by a meaning too often only human, too human.


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