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Christina W.
user 3986671
London, GB
Post #: 37
A Conflated Duality

By kind permission of author: Claudia Megele

Last Monday marked the first day of the Jewish festival of Passover (Pesach) which is one of the most widely celebrated festivities in Jewish year, while, next week begins with Easter Monday, one of the most important Christian festivities. Easter commemorates the rise of Jesus from death and his assent to heaven, while, Passover marks the biblical event of exodus from Egypt. It is a celebration of the Jews journey from Egypt of tyranny to the promised land of freedom and equality.

However, regardless of religious beliefs it is the powerful socio-cultural symbolisms enwrapped in these festivities, namely: renewal, freedom and equality that merit our attention and pondered reflection.

Freedom and equality are closely related and rather convoluted concepts in our society. However, in spite of their practical complexity, borne of profound structural disparities, equality is a foundational prerequisite for a civil and free society. Unfortunately, however, in the context of an increasingly confrontational politics, the political and politicising binaries of haves and have nots, deserving and undeserving, citizen and migrant and so on, only exacerbate the pains and exploit the wounds of a divided and fatigued society.

Cameron states: “I see it like this: immigration and welfare reform are two sides of the same coin. Put simply, we will never tackle immigration properly, unless we tackle welfare dependency. So we can control both legal and illegal immigration as I hope I have demonstrated. What is required is the political will to make sure that this agenda runs right across government.”

Conflating the need for welfare reform with immigration policy further confounds an already confused and evolving landscape. This financialisation of society and monetisation of individual value based on economic return and productivity is a one-dimensional reductionism of our dynamic and multi-coloured experience and sociality and will only result in a more impoverished humanity.

The U.S. does not have anything similar to U.K.’s welfare system, yet, the country has had continually high numbers of illegal immigrants, and still struggles to establish a fair, effective and balanced immigration policy.

Therefore, Mr. Cameron’s claimed causality seems rather facile. Conjugating “U.K.’s welfare system” and “immigration” seems a far fetched generalisation based on dubious observations and exaggerated tenuous correlations.

In practice, the drivers and dynamics of migration are much more diverse and complex and escape such simplistic categorisations. Unfortunately, however, such conflated rationalisations confuse the public’s perception and cloud our judgement.

As presented in my analysis elsewhere, migration is a profound and complex human experience driven by a multiplicity of factors. Even economists, for whom the government seems to have a particular penchant, suggest that economic and productivity differentials between migrants’ countries of origin and destination are the main drivers of migration.

Therefore, if we wish to counter illegal immigration then we must combat its underlying drivers, commencing with the great social inequities both in our society and the societies of migrants’ originating countries.

We must adopt a more ethical approach in our decision making both at home and in our international partnerships. We must stop our instrumental judgementalism and politics of convenience which categorise the rulers of less friendly nations as “dictators”, while, “friendly dictators” and their pharaonic kingdoms and dynasties are supported by our Dollars, Pounds and Euros and left unrestrained to continue their atrocities against their “subjects” and even against their neighbours.
We must not forget our responsibility for migration flows, as most migrants of today, are the children of globalised hegemonies that seek exodus from “neo-pharaonic” autocracies. Sacrificing life and limb in search of the “promised land” of equality and prosperity.

Criminalising migration and migrants, labelling those who do not work as idle, division of society into deserving and undeserving, and purposeful manipulations of social psyche are the hallmarks of a reactionary politics that will only lead to an ideological regimentation of society.

Freedom may mean different things at different times and to different people, however, for most migrants freedom signifies a “dream” and a “hope”, a dream of the “promised land” of peace and prosperity, and the hope of an equal and equitable society.

So for those celebrating over the coming days/week, be it Passover, Easter or the Spring Solstice, or simply celebrating the joys of Spring, I wish you renewal, freedom, peace and equality.
Happy Festivities…

About the author:
Claudia Megele is an author, researcher, consultant and lecturer. She is the Service Director of “A Sense Of Self”; Associate Lecturer at The Open University; Vice Chair of Tower Hamlets Police and Community Safety Board; a member of the editorial board of the Race/Ethnicity Journal, produced by Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity and the Office of Minority Affairs at Ohio State University; Elected Individual Members’ Representative to NCB Forum (The advisory body to NCB’s Board of Trustees); a Trustee of MIND (Hammersmith and Fulham Foundation for Mental Health); advisory board member of the Journal of Sociological Imagination as well as several other boards and organisations.

Her studies include sociology, psychology and social work, and her doctorate study is in Psychotherapy. Her diverse research interests include: interpersonal communication, psychological capital and emotional literacy and resilience, social networking, study of violence, migration and intercultural studies, critical and reflective practice, liminality and hyper-reality, management and governance, and social and economic policy/regeneration.

Among other publications Claudia is the co-author of the chapter “Reflections on the 21st Century Migrant: Impact of Social Networking and Hyper-reality on the Lived Experience of Global Migration” published by the Center for International Global Studies, St. Charles, Missouri, in the reader entitled “Migration, Technology and Transculturation: A Global Perspective”.
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