Friday, August 20, 2004

Migration - The Grass Is Not Always Greener

I ran across an article about an illeagal immigrant from Uganda living and working in London today which brought up all kinds of memories and thoughts about my own experiences with migrants from Africa living in Europe that I wanted to say something on this subject. This is a very hot, hot subject between peoples in developing countries and the people in the lands of "Milk and Honey".

To my young adult readers in Africa and elsewhere who may be contemplating giving money to some stranger, friend, or relative for a visa or pass or failsafe transport and entry into Europe or North America or Australia or any country for that matter, don't even think about being that stupid! It would be safer to jump into a lake or river filled with hungry crocodiles and other maneating critters!

I will never forget my first experience many moons ago when I observed a group of African "asylum seekers" stranded in a backwater, north German town. Their living conditions were terrible and their chances for the "good life" weren't much better. I became friends with these young men and shared many a joyful day and evening with them, but in no way could I resolve all the new problems they faced here in Europe. There is so much that I and others here in Europe could say on this subject that it would require a 1000 new blogs just on this subject.

It is important to travel and see the world if you have the chance in life to do so, and you should take every opportunity to do it. However, there is the right way to do things and lots of wrong ways to do things which in the end can cost you your future or your life, dashing the hopes and dreams of your people and your country.

So before you strike out with less than savory types for the "promised land" read these online articles and resource sites on Migration carefully, and follow the instructions on the package!

BBC Talking Point Special Report June 2004:

Billy's Journey:
Crossing the Sahara and Europe at Last
Gao's (Mali)
Deadly Migrant Trade
Unstoppable Exodous
Global Migration
Global Village Voices

Some of the saddest memories I will have of my experiences in Europe over the past 24 years will be those memories of the people in search of a better life from faraway lands who ended up in a worse condition than what they left behind. I know that such a statement could draw some vehement fire from those who disagree, but I know what I've seen and have been told by many of the migrants and refugees fleeing Africa and other regions of the world.

If you can, stay in your own country or on the African continent, work hard to get a good education, and build a better future for yourselves and for your people. If you can do that successfully, the world will beat a path to your door. Thereafter, almost everywhere in the world that you may travel you will be made to feel welcome, and you yourself will feel like a queen or king in a foreign land.

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