Sami Naïr, the multi-ethnic challenge
One must not only understand globalization in its economic context because it is a process that conditions our life. We are in front of a new civilization. The cultural model used to be the American Way of Life, now substituted by The new standard, in which homologation affects public opinion, “like a self-image that we have of ourselves given that nobody knows his own identity but rather the self representation of this image, but the numbers are necessary because we pay the bills,” said Sami Naïr.
This lucid French political scientist with Algerian heritage, professor in the University of Paris, member of the European Parliament and French politician Lionel Jospin’s advisor, launches a challenge to the conscience of Europe in the face of the transformation of our societies that will become multi-ethnic. “One can dominate cultures, but not the skin’s color.” His enthusiasm and argumentative strength belong to a singularly organized mind and to a sensitivity richened by the inter-cultural experience.
“The Northern, old, rich, small and white world has reached maximum power but it is exhausted and the young, poor, big and colored South knows no borders and will take the position that belongs to it,” he said. “It’s not an invasion, but rather a natural historical process, but there is a lack of perspective to understand it.” This is the mission of intellectuals, artists, and of politicians if they knew how to distinguish the signals of time.
Wealth concentrates in the “First World”, while the traditional Southern societies are destroyed and the mobility of their populations increments. Seventy-five percent of investment takes place in “developed countries” and only 8 percent in Africa, where Western consuming criteria are exported.
“Spain, for example, is the European country with the smallest emigration, but it seems as if it wanted to break with its past and become more European as soon as possible. It pretends to break with Africa, the Magreb in particular, and with Latin America.” As if the rich roots that configure its personality and its cultures variety hurt. “We mustn’t forget, a secular past shaped in the border is from where identity is defined,” he adds.
It’s the community’s problem; it has the right to defend its own identity while respecting and accepting the other one’s. The conquest concept to civilize communities or to impose on them a cannibalistic mono-culturality that creates uprooting, alienation and desperation it’s over.
Sami Naïr claims, “migratory fluxes that will change the world cannot be accepted in a disorderly way. Solidarity with immigrants would be to make them understand that they are entering a community to which they will have to adapt, respecting it and contributing with their immense cultural caudal.” That is why long-term policies with the countries from where they come are needed, along with the promotion of temporary contracts and to really integrate the ones who are already here through schools, culture and citizen participation. Immigrants cannot be treated as mere labor force because the best-educated people are the ones who tend to emigrate, creating irreparable losses for their countries. There are 4,000 Algerian doctors in France who are trying to homologue their titles while Algeria needs them.
The biggest expert in migratory politics proposes that we prepare for that transformation through the education of the communities involved and that we don’t absurdly trust the markets. Immigrants are not soulless products without desire and without a culture. They are our best tomorrow and with whom we must build a humane and habitable future. “We must pay a tax to the inequalities of the world because what counts is not the ethnic background, but rather the participation in a common project.”
Carlos Gª Fajardo
Translated by Carlos Miguélez