Let the new barbarians come

In many European countries, many immigrants suffer from social exclusion. Many donít have access to education, neither count with necessary sanitary services, and are exploited in the workplace without a contract or are threatened by innocuous entrepreneurs. Not to mention those who are mistreated because of their skinís color or those who fall into the nets of inhumane traffic, or those who are forced and inducted to commit crime, taking advantage of their poverty. Human Rights associations in many European countries work against those xenophobe attitudes.

Some consider immigrants as marginalized, along with the homeless, the drug addicts or prisoners. However, immigrants are people with a normalized life in their countries and the only thing they are after is a job to improve their living conditions.

NGOís provide many assistance services that should be demanded from public administrations. The role of humanitarian organizations should focus on the promotion of cultural exchange values. Volunteers are asked for an attitude of comprehension and respect, and that they sensitize and help people look at the immigrant without prejudice.

Itís just that each country organizes its legal structures to regulate immigration and adapt it to its social, political and economic circumstances. But it is not fair to look at the new barbarians to threaten the limes (frontier in the Roman Empire) of this expired European Empire as a threat rather than as an incentive. We should get closer to them to listen to them, respect them and to share their knowledge without imposing on them a cultural model that makes them quit their own or, even worse, to try to absorb them.

The emigrant always has powerful reasons to leave his land. Itís convenient to remember why millions of Europeans and raids of Spaniards left, of which almost two millions still live outside.

Whatever is not recognized to immigrants in justice will be taken away from us forcefully in the name of that same justice. Neocolonialism and paternalist aids are not welcome anymore, nor the pretended salvation of their souls while we sep their riches. It will soon be necessary to question de concept of ďaid for developmentĒ to focus problems from the necessary reparation and from the commercial relations between equals. Solidarity is necessary as a firm and persevering determination to work for everybodyís web being. Also for the well being of us old European mestizos.

Josť Carlos Gª Fajardo
Translated by Carlos Miguélez

This article was published in the Center of Collaborations for Solidarity (CCS) on 05/17/2004