Our migrations, mirrors of our humanity

A mirror aims to reflect the image presented to it. Thus, from a society’s standpoint, semantic categories allow, according to the vision of certain individuals or institutions, to represent, signify, even limit some "identities", like that of "migrant"…

The risk is to rely heavily on the connotation and thus, a group, often a minority, gives itself the right, the power, to play with its own mirror. And, therefore, some of us, in the name of a well-informed, "European" view, if any, decide to represent others according to a predetermined group: "migrants". This "mirror" model thus reveals a tendentious approach, with two sides: the first, an objective, humanistic one that qualifies a group, an individual, according to particularly "significant" characteristics; the second, a more subjective, more tendentious, communitarian approach, which removes a "problematic" category, according to the vision of a supposedly ideal development.

"Migrants", like other social categories in the past, blacks, Jews or... slaves (everyone here can use his own mirror) seem to present, reflect a flaw, a lack, a problem and should be kept at a distance, be trained, integrated, or even assimilated to so-called humanist virtues, worse, so-called universal virtues, that these same "migrants" would have lost and which should be inculcated in them. Hasn’t Europe already had such "experiences" in the past?

Then appears another mirror effect. The "good society" host (a Europe that would be hit hard by these so-called "migrants") sees itself in a positive light, full of empathy, compassion, to help a so-called "vulnerable" population; and, indeed, often, people who experience forced migration expect to receive help in order to live, to survive. But this "good Western society", enriched by its model, curiously forgets about its own programs that keep people out or away and that reinforce border controls, preventing the mobility of populations. Could it be in the name of the same humanistic values ​​so dear to the Enlightenment?

Another questionable example: some really strive hard to think about the "integration of refugees". A legitimate approach, some would say. But, these same people or institutions do it "for what", why, or for whom? If they were to emigrate, to go into exile, would they agree to be forced to integrate values ​​as worthy as theirs, in the name of a universal humanism, which would share noble aspects of traditions, cultures, religions that many denounce as obscurantist in our Western countries?

The question is simple: who decides what is "good" for others, for oneself? Myself or someone else. Admittedly, the (political) decision is hypothetically admissible (legitimate?); but, in the case of our free or forced migrations, what universal foundation do we refer to unanimously and in the long term?

In short, are we not all, singularly, mirrors of our humanity, equal and complex, for ourselves, according to our migrations, in time and in space?

Who am I to judge another as simply a "migrant" for when the mirror is turned towards me, I see the best image of myself, yet when that same mirror is turned towards vulnerable, unfortunate "migrants", the image is bleak.

Well, in the New Year 2018, Josefa simply invites us to mirror our migrations and have a universal view of the migrant that I am and that others are with me: we are all migrants.