MAPPING MIGRATION: THE DECOSTRUCTION OF A MYTH
[Read by E. Puyuelo]
Africa. The continent of wilderness, power and freedom. The invisible land of native cultures and pure art. A voiceless home. A silenced paradise. African emigration nowadays seems to be constantly increasing. Although the presence of African people has always been palpable in Europe, the number of emigrants leaving their homeland is eventually outnumbering that of people who stay in the continent. Over 0.44 million of African population are estimated to emigrate every year, fact that arises multiple questions related to Africa’s ethical politics, diaspora, economy, culture and, above all, to its chances to succeed in an emerging modern and functional society.
[Read by I. Flaquer]
Africa has always been described taking into account its darkness, its lack of goods and moral beliefs and its violence. Mass media is constantly reminding us of how dangerous and inaccessible African society is, and it directly affects the creation of clichés and stereotypes that withdraw Africa in a marginal position in the universal scenario. First-hand information, directly obtained from the Migration Policy Institute, confirms that among the determinant factors that prompt emigration, we should highlight “seasonal patterns and flight from ecological disasters or civil conflict”. Although family and ethnic ties seem to retain people in their homeland, the constant state of warfare and the drowning economy are key points to understand migratory movements in Africa. Most of African emigrants leave to industrial, middle-income countries, and thus Germany, Canada, the UK and the US are the places that receive a wider number of immigrants. We should not forget, though, that false documents are obtained in order for emigrants to be accepted ads residents in their country of destination. This forces them to stop in places such as Cape Verde or New Guinea, which really problematizes their journey towards an actual hopeless future in Europe.
AN UNWELCOMING DESTINATION
[Read by A. Guiteras]
However, and taking into account the ethics that characterize our generation, we should not forget the barriers emigrants are forced to overcome when they get to the place of destination. Racism is palpable everywhere. In Europe, Australia. Even in the US, although having fought against it for many centuries and having a black president, many situations in which racism has been exploited have ended with death. This opens new questions as to the extent to which an African emigrant may be welcomed in a place that is not his own. Does having a job really suffocate the loss of one’s identity? Is it worth leaving your homeland?
[Read by S. Pérez]
Although most migratory movements take place within Africa, there is prominent migration to Europe. Actually, approximately 7 million African people left Europe in 2007. France remains as the country that receives more African emigrants, with an estimated stock of 4.5 million in 2011. United Kingdom, as previously stated, welcomed almost 3 million Africans in that same year. Italy, Germany and Spain directly follow the aforementioned countries. Thus, 5.3% of the population in North Africa emigrated during those days. But what happens to the rest of the people?
WILL AFRICA BE EVENTUALLY EMPTY?
[Read by M. Trejo]
Mawuna Remarque Koutonin affirmed that “contrary to what you see on the BBC, CNN and RFI, Africans are not desperate folks seeking prosperity in Europe” Recent polls compiled from Peoplemov.in show that, actually, most Africans emigrate to other African countries rather than elsewhere. Cote d’Ivoire features as the place that receives more African emigrants. Over its 21.058.798 inhabitants, 2.406.713 are actually African immigrants from Burkina Faso, Mali or New Guinea, seeking for prosperity without leaving the continent. Nigeria also has quite a high number of immigrants, 1.127.668, stock that, again, demolishes the early theory of African people abandoning the beauty, the purity, the innocence of a harshly portrayed country.
[Read by A. Guiteras]
Taking everything into consideration, it seems like mass media directly intervenes in describing Africa as a country full of violence, war, poverty and hunger. This unfair characterization of Africans deeply influences the emergence of racism and, all in all, the decay of moral values in Western societies. We should not forget, though, that we only receive a 1% of what is really going on in Africa. We are allowed to see only the tip of a huge iceberg. There are possibilities to live there, chances to work, chances to succeed. We only need to value who can speak for whom. And we should listen more to the silences that hide constant truths, than to the voices that yell futile lies.