Thursday, November 5, 2015

The Tragedy of Forced Migration

It is currently estimated that approximately 60 million human beings have been forced to leave their homeland propelled by the ravages of war, extreme poverty and hunger.  This is said to be the greatest mass migration in human history even when compared to World War II and its aftermath. 

The media is being inundated with images of the desperate acts made daily by men, woman, children and the elderly in order to find a new home – a place where they might find some stability and chance for the future.  These individuals and families are so determined that they are willing to risk their lives and accept unimaginable hardship rather than endure the daily terror they face remaining in the place where are all their ethnic and cultural ties lie.  It is a profoundly traumatic decision that they feel compelled to make in the hope of finding some degree of peace and security.

The predominant motivation that is driving these remarkably desperate acts is the horrific consequences of violence and war.  They are fleeing from what have become so-called “Failed States” that include the countries of Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Libya, Yemen, the Sudan and a list of countries with increasing instability that include Nigeria and the Congo, for example.

For the most part, these States and their boundaries were created as a direct result of the occupation and economic exploitation by the colonial empires of the past – British, Dutch and French for example. These areas of the globe possess important resources for the developed world and are of immense geopolitical importance as demonstrated by the military and economic involvement and intervention of current day superpowers such as the United States and Russia.

The current state of unrest in these countries reflects severe and seemingly intractable religious, ethnic and cultural differences that reside within national borders that were previously held in check either by a powerful colonial presence or a strong and autocratic leader or both.  Once these factors were no longer present, it left a power vacuum and its inevitable chaos.

This situation is no longer contained within the boundaries of the countries involved but is spilling over into the developed world – it has become a worldwide problem of immense proportions. If peace and social justice is to ever be attained, the world community needs to find creative and imaginative ways to bring warring factions together with the aim of establishing some kind of dialog to help diminish the level of violence so that human suffering can be abated.  This is a daunting problem with no easy solution; for, it requires that the peoples of this planet begin to think and act globally.  The human species on plant earth is becoming more and more tenuous; this state of being is also being threatened by the looming consequences of climate change.  It is the choices we make now that will profoundly influence the future.