Woe is me…

An outdated saying popped into my head during the music concert given by three refugees at the Josefa House…

For one hour, I let myself be carried along by fascinating, almost haunting, exotic sounds, which call for interiority, produced by three instruments: an oud, a violin and a drum, sometimes with vocal accompaniment.

From there, my thoughts turned to the bigger issue of migratory movements and the difficulties that they are posing to Europeans and how the majority of governments and populations are mobilizing against them. It is at that point that I thought: "woe is me, woe are we…", that is, "how we are to be pitied". Secure in our rich cultural heritage and our history, too often we close our borders, raise walls, put up fences, we lock ourselves up in our smugness, in order to defend ourselves from dreaded "invaders" to whom we even sometimes ascribe warlike intentions.

Blind and deaf, we fail to recognize the contribution of refugees, who have often risked their lives to get here and who ask for hospitality, that is, who ask us to provide a place for them and to share our respective wealth: music, songs and cinema, food and drink, health and medicine, various techniques and skills, languages, literature, poetry… we have so many things to share. Unfortunately, for a large number of us, walled up in our western narcissism and holding on to a morbid nostalgia, cut off from our future, we run the risk of losing out.

For those who have not yet felt or experienced it, even if we remain sedentary and do not leave our country, may we discover that we are all migrants or refugees, for example through the history of our forefathers, for we are in permanent movement, and our common, individual and collective interest is in the diversity of our encounters, as long as we recognize our common history as migrants.