Identities in search of refuge: who are we? People who, sometimes, often, or too often, willingly or under duress, and for various reasons, leave their country, creating or causing changes in their identity: traveller, exiled, displaced, asylum seeker, stateless, refugee...

There is now an umbrella term for people who are on the move, having left their "home" and crossed various political, social, economic, cultural, ethnic, religious… borders: the "migrant". In this context, the "migrant" is characterized by a transnational and multicultural identity, and it is the term circulating in news reports.

But this identity, as defined above, is also a bridge between those who have left their country and those who have not (yet) moved by way of a spatial migration.

Because of the new proximity, or even the hospitality, experienced or planned, with people coming from elsewhere, the "sedentary" person is compelled to discover that they too are, somewhere, in their history or deep within themselves, migrants. Perhaps their plight calls us to ignore borders, which seek to demarcate and protect a territory, to break down walls, however high, which shelter us, and barriers and fences which separate us from others. Willingly or unwillingly, human life is played out in an open space, in exchanges and relationships.

Going beyond the reciprocal exchanges, we come together as migrants, all of us, to build and enrich a renewed culture at a crossroads, according to each of our individual freedoms, between assimilation, which tends to limit the newcomer, forcing him to adopt fully the host culture, leaving aside his own, and a communalistic grouping that wants to firmly keep its "own" culture, rejecting any external input. In order to promote a path of co-insertion and the journeying together, everyone is asked to contribute, on behalf of their migrant, unique, special or indeed universal humanity.

On June 20, 2016, World Refugee Day, let’s remember, among other things, our collective human history as free or forced migrants. "Man is a refugee to man." Together, as migrants, let’s accept our migrations.

Gilbert

You have asked me to write a few words about the space that will be the heart of the Josefa House, namely the place of prayer and meditation…

Today, Europe is experiencing a crisis as hundreds of thousands of migrants are arriving at its doorstep with no place else to go. Certainly, they will be taken care of, somehow or other, but the European states are not prepared. Europe is not prepared, either to share its resources or to recall its collective historical memory. The current chaotic attitude is undoubtedly a result of the traditionally protectionist policies of the European Union member states, towards the rest of the world, reflecting the fear that one has of the violence of others (different from oneself: foreign)… 

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