Migrants: a subject that smells of sulfur, complex and essential - Between fears and humanism

Migrants, climatic, economic, political, is it possible to talk about them with lucidity and calm in order to reach peaceful answers?
With the values of our Republic, we have the resources to integrate differences and co-construct tomorrow in peace and lucidity. Let us become an example of societal innovation for the world.

We all come from Africa

Talking about migrants is very quickly a controversial subject that stirs up public opinion and revives our fears and archaisms.
Yet, let us remember, we are all migrants from Africa. The cradle of humanity is in East Africa. [1] for all the hominids and then, in successive waves, we colonized the world and each time we entered an ecosystem we contributed to a significant decrease in the biodiversity of the environment. [2].
The will to serialize human differences into races to validate the supremacy of "whites" is a mental representation widely developed in the 19th century on abusive arguments of social Darwinism (Darwin's misused arguments). The idea was not new since during the Valladolid Controversy [3] we were already wondering about the souls of the indigenous peoples of South America. But it was the 19th century which, based on the paradigm of the Enlightenment - for which technical progress is a factor in the evolution of civilizations - fabricated the notion of race and ignored the social complexity of the first peoples and the natural diversity of our societies. [4]. This by developing in particular the measurement of skulls in order to distinguish the "civilized" from the "savages" with evolutionary anthropology. [5].
It was during this same century that, as a result of explorations, European nations colonised a large part of the planet and built their wealth on those of countries with multiple resources favourable to our economic development.

A misinterpretation

To the technical progress of "civilizations", "early" societies provide the answer to the great richness and complexity of social ties that anthropology cannot manage to account for since these elements have left no written trace. The "first" peoples - supposed to be the descendants of Palaeolithic practices - demonstrate a great diversity of social ties, the nuances of which are brought about by their languages, which are mostly oral in nature.
The mistake, for our written civilizations, is to have ignored their social complexity and to have appreciated them through the sole filter of technical progress and assets (objects, possessions...). We build bridges and trains and our civilizations collapse; they create weaves of relationships that last and have lasted for millennia.

We participate in the imbalances

Today our unlimited growth leads to participate in a climate change of which the earth is accustomed, however we are contemporaries of this evolution and our excesses accelerate the process. The anthropocene [6] is turning against us. We're experiencing climatic disturbances [7] which encourage people who have lost their country of existence to migrate to more welcoming areas and Europe then appears as a El Dorado desirable. In addition to these climatic migrations, there are also economic and political migrations. [8]We are also involved, directly or indirectly, in making certain countries in the world unviable (arms sales, geopolitical and economic agreements).

Migration has always existed

Thus, migrations are first natural, then they have always existed, Homo Sapiens s colonised the land by exploring all the territories accessible by land or by way of land reclamation.[9].
And they have contributed, most recently, to the development of our country. Moreover, our model of liberal economic growth is based on the wealth of other countries, some of which are weakened by the systemic effects of our own decisions. Their inhabitants then come to the West to shelter from the consequences of political, economic and climatic dangers.
Second, the aging of our populations means "new blood"...[10] and brings us to welcome younger people and people coming de facto other countries to contribute their labour and resources to facilitate our evolution. Successive waves of immigration have enriched our country with talent and human resources. [11].

Clash of Civilizations: Myth or Reality?

When Samuel Huntington published his book... Clash of Civilizations [12] It has been the subject of much controversy, yet it is indisputable that our world is made up of civilizations with very different values, norms and customs. And if we fail to harmonize them, then they will clash in conflicts that could turn into war, the one "against" IA is one of them.
If Western culture, now in the majority and spread worldwide through television first, then mobile phones and then the Internet, smoothes consumer behaviour, this is not necessarily the case for relations between human beings. The economy and finance have homogenized the world, however, the cultural fundamentals have not evolved on the same basis. Crucial differences persist and some models are head-on opposites.
Thus, Pierre Bourdieu, following Germaine Tillon [13]in his book Male DominationThe report, which was published in the first edition of the World Heritage List, has demonstrated in great detail the cultural basis of the peoples of the Mediterranean rim, the majority of whom are now peoples of Muslim religious tradition.
By highlighting the construction of identity of the peoples of North Africa, he expressed how for certain cultures male domination is taken to extremes and constitutes the frame of reference for behaviour for men and women whose equal rights and place do not exist.
When cultural references, reinforced by religion, a rather radical Islam in this case, it is very difficult to reconcile two cultures, that of France, secular (in the sense of recognition and acceptance of all religions) in which the ostentatious non-manifestation of one's faith and beliefs prevails, and which places the values of Equality, Liberty, Fraternity, as the common basis of our Republic and that of an Islam which validates differences and conditions differentiated behaviours of access rights to the public sphere... Equality of rights and space, in particular for men and women and freedom of expression and behaviour, as opposed to behaviour codified by gender.
How can we reconcile, within the same territory, those for whom men and women are not equal by nature, with those for whom equality is a founding principle of law of our Republic?
This leads to two main extremes: the impossibility to talk about it under penalty of being labelled racist, conservative or supporter of the National Front and thus establishes a "political correctness" that prevents discussing differences or, on the contrary, a racism that points the finger at any difference and aims to stigmatize, exclude and reinforce archaic patterns.
And meanwhile the differences are becoming entrenched and the conflicts linked to these cultural paradoxes cannot be dealt with lucidly and by looking for a mature solution that values both cultural models and seeks overlapping areas that facilitate intercultural construction.

Breaking down the divides: daring to talk about differences

Brave philosophers like Abdennour Bidar [14] and others before him seek to bring a critical look at Islam [15] and demonstrate how a moderate Islam is compatible with the French Republic and its values. Conversely, allowing the rise of fundamentalism to take its toll on society reinforces Daech's conservatism at the Front National. Everyone plays on the terrain of fears and radicalism and demonstrates, in physical or verbal violence, that cohabitation is impossible.
In the face of radicalism, our Republic must mobilize to co-create a national identity. [16] that allows everyone to find sa and a satisfactory place for himself and contributory to society. We can dialogue our differences, because without taboos and excessive "political correctness" we manage to find the words to create the necessary weaves for our national kaleidoscope and federate our diversity to make it a source of richness.

Lobbies rely on fears

We have just named fears as the driving force behind the exclusion of others. The whole of our society is built on them because they allow everything to be sold, under the pretext of security, insurance, data, all security measures, medicines, alarms, weapons, etc., to be sold. And the main media relays the enviable catastrophism and feeling of insecurity to contribute to this economy which has gone from promoting desire to responding to security. Naomie Klein in her book The strategy of the shock [17] reminds us that this is even a deliberate strategy.
Of course, in this imagination fuelled by fear and collapse, echoing that of the apocalyptic and the end of the world, we must find scapegoats so that daily life remains stable and coherent. The foreigner then wins the prize as the representative of the victim-scapegoat function. Thus, at a time when immigration will only increase, rejection and exclusion become high-risk practices. In the medium term, they will undoubtedly contribute to the increase in violence, first at the borders and then eventually in the countries themselves.

Embodying Our Republican Values

However, our values enacted since the French Revolution are a fabulous basis for co-developing a society in which diversity and difference can take their place and flourish. This is certainly the option that could prevent us from violent conflicts. It is through peace that we will foster inclusion and lively versaThrough successful inclusion we will encourage peace.
The postulate of Equality places us all, as equals, before the law and thus allows us to respond to disparaging and racist behaviour. However, this implies a education for othernessThe aim is to ensure that the other person is recognized in his or her difference, that his or her uniqueness is appreciated and valued and that a fruitful weave is made with the values of the host country. This enriches the programmes for receiving migrants.
The freedom is a delicate value that is always debated between total freedom of expression, which sometimes harms some people and reinforces Islamophobic or anti-Semitic racism in particular. The question is eminently philosophical: do we choose total freedom and/or how to avoid anarchist excesses? Because for it to be full and complete, it requires, as the saying goes, that "the freedom of each one stops where the freedom of the other begins". A question of boundaries - symbolic this time - which, without collegial discussion, will remain a subjective appreciation and a source of potential conflict.
On the other hand, from primary school onwards [18]The discipline of philosophy in the sense of wisdom in practice, of the ability to ask questions and develop one's critical mind, makes it possible to move from a moral order (the law that governs a group) to the development of an ethic (internalized morality) that is both shared and internalized. Ethics that leads to giving oneself rules for "living together" and co-deciding what freedom means for our society at the beginning of the 21st century with all these societal, economic, political and especially scientific challenges.
And we could anticipate, for what will be our freedom when Artificial Intelligence becomes dominant? [19]
As for the fraternityIt could be the concrete translation of the two previous values. It appears to be essential in our era, which will see a significant increase in climate, economic and political migration.
The art of living together, in peace, becomes crucial.
Very soon, the issues of water, access to the energies that feed our system, natural resources (land, wood, materials) to mention only those, will become sources of armed conflict, even war. And the recent tensions between the United States and Korea, and now with Iran, show that the nuclear issue remains a real and burning threat.
Consequently, our country, as the foundation of Human and Citizen Rights, could have the ambition to be exemplary in the embodiment of our republican values.

A mature co-creation

Manifesting Equality, Freedom and Fraternity no longer becomes an ideological coquetry, but a vital ethical necessity. We could be exemplary if we decide together to make it a national political project.
It is not a question of standardizing the values of the peoples of the Earth, but of demonstrating that we can achieve reconciliations so that, in an applied secular logic, everyone can practice their religious beliefs in the privacy of their own homes and so that public lands are the expression of the republican values embodied. Then living together becomes tasty because of tolerance, which does not mean laxity.
With our three values, we must also progress in governance maturity. Given the diversity of the French population, it is becoming essential to learn how to weave the foundation of our "living together".
This implies knowing how to cooperate, to listen to each other, to understand each other, to find the wheels of true dialogue, the one that enables us to build together a plural and sustainable society..
More and more citizen associations are taking over the fraternity... [20] to highlight the importance of composing together the plural symphony of the future. Now it remains to "embark" the rulers. Indeed, for several years now, political innovation has been among the citizens who have taken up the issues of the City and brought concrete, thoughtful, tested solutions, which are often, after the fact, taken up by the dominant parties to get elected, not always to implement them. Institutional red tape makes large-scale paradigm shifts difficult, except for technological innovations.
For social transitions and territories, local action is paramount. And citizens are implementing a wide variety of solutions, all of which are based on active cooperation, in terms of policy (see the achievements of Saillans town council [21]) and from other town halls involved, in terms of living together.
So, tomorrow will we have the audacity to embody our republican values and to be at the level of Human and Citizen Rights, which are the pride and the DNA of our French culture? History gives us the opportunity to become an inspiring model for composing, together, a decisive turning point in the face of the major systemic risks of our civilization. Let's be there!
[2]Yva Noah Harari, Sapiens, Albin Michel, 2015.

[3]Bartolomé de las Casas defended the souls of the Indians and their dignity against the theologian Juan Ginès de Sepulveda.

[4]Alain Testard, Avant l'Histoire, L'évolution des sociétés de Lascaux à Carnac, Nrf, Editions Gallimard, 2012.



[8]The threshold of 68 million migrants worldwide, crossed in one year. Diversity of situations and motivations, but the flows are significant: http://decouverte.challenges.fr/monde/nouveau-record-de-refugies-et-deplaces-dans-le-monde-avec-68-5-millions-de-migrants_595298#xtor=CS1-93-20180619&xts=562191

[9]Dates colonization of Australia 60,000 years before our era and America.

[12]Philippe Barbé, Samuel Huntington, The Clash of Civilizations, Odile Jacob, 2000. L'antichoc des civilisations : Médiations méditerranéennes, L'aube, 2006.

[13]Germaine Tillon, Le Harem et les cousins, Points Essais, 2015.

[15]Abdennour Bidar, Open Letter to the Muslim World, Les Liens qui Libèrent, 2015; Quelles valeurs partager et transmettre aujourd'hui, Albin Michel, 2016.

[16]This is what the widely criticized Universal National Service is trying to do. http://www.ledauphine.com/defense/2018/03/05/le-service-national-universel-en-ligne-de-mire It is once again a great contempt for human functionings. We detest the notion of national identity, which is unquestionably composite, yet we have no problem recognising the identity of a football or rugby club. Identity, a basic principle of social psychology, is what enables an individual or group to define itself and which has singular characteristics that distinguish it from another. https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Identité_(social_sciences) It is therefore a fundamental concept that needs to be clarified in order to allow the reception of new arrivals, migrants in this case. And this requires that our values should not just be mentioned on the frontispieces of town halls, but should be embodied in everyday life.

[17]Naomi Klein, La stratégie du choc, Actes Sud, 2013.

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[18]Hummingbird School, Caminando...


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Header photo Migrants in distress off the coast of Libya - Photo Malta-based NGO Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS)

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