How to return to the nobility of the term « migration » is a great question that should haunt each of us.
From the time when « migration » was a distinguished term, respectful and witnessing natural and cyclical phenomena, whether it was to evoke human or animal migrations, to the time when our newspapers evoke « four migrants discovered dead between the Polish and Belorussian border ». A pithy, cold, technical, distant, insensitive, even imperceptible phrase, removing all humanity from these four people whose lives were trapped in a game of borders with political stakes.
Four anonymous « migrants », neutralized by the language of journalism and the media: not four people but four « migrants » have left us. Isn't this terminology questioning, doesn't it hurt us?
How can I relate to these « migrants » who are nobody, not even one person? How can I connect to « migrants », how can I pray for those who are only migrants, reduced to being migrants. But what is a migrant?
Who defines a migrant and what is the definition?
Wikipedia: « a person who moves abroad for economic reasons ». Once dead, is the person still a migrant in the process of expatriation for economic reasons?
United Nations definition: « a person who resides in a foreign country for more than one year... ». Did these four people who died between two borders reside abroad for more than a year? Certainly not. What is the legitimacy of using the term « migrant » to describe people; a name that has become barbaric, degrading, making feel inferior and, in fact, shamefully disrespectful of the human person?
How can we talk about the rights of migrants without first perceiving that only a human person, whose fundamental rights are no different from those of the migrants that we all are, can be described as a « migrant »? What specific rights do migrants who die between borders have? Funerals of migrants by an administration for migrants?
The whole thing is abject and far from the nobility of the old days when the foreigner, the migrant was the first guest, the unexpected guest, expected and always welcomed. A plate for the one we were not expecting remained set for the one who might pass by.
Migratory birds, penguins or other species, still have their letters of nobility up there in the skies where borders are not yet inscribed, although ...
May these four people rest in peace in their eternal migration.
Their time is no longer counted but our language is and will remain irreverent.
It is high time that we all recognize ourselves as migrants; in fraternal and cross-border communion.