December 27, 2015

Day 158: The Refugee Crisis: A Wake Up Call to the Devaluation of Life

A few years ago, I took the decision to voluntarily leave my family and study for a year in France. Later on, I chose again to move and work in the United Kingdom. Within the European Union, such mobility is promoted and there is no need to justify your decision or to have a visa to do so - as an European citizen and within the EU it is my right to establish wherever assists me to develop to my utmost potential, to keep growing, to know a different culture, to speak new languages, and to be financially stable. This makes absolute sense to my generation, however 30 years ago (before the Schengen Agreement) this process would have been much harder to achieve and probably older generations couldn't imagine such openness. When looking at the refugee situation, the resistance to embrace the newcomers is the resistance to a new reality that needs to be as flexible as the one granted to Europeans. The difference is that this is not a voluntary migration but rather imposed unto people for not having a choice: they either flee or they risk their lives by staying in a war-zone (or becoming the fighters themselves). What would you choose? 

Since reaching its media attention this year, I see that the refugee crisis comes down to a crisis of priorities that began long time ago in our world and is affecting our sense of humanity. The shocking images that flooded the big screen in the past months, along with xenophobic comments from the far-right are symptoms of a bigger problem, that is: The Devaluation of Life. 

The belief that one's life has more value based on where one was born reminds me some medieval-like-wars in a Game-of-Thrones-land, almost unthinkable in World Wide Web times. However, this year's events showed a darker side of Europe where countries started closing doors to those in desperate need, in a clear reflection of barbaric attitude against the "others". The main difference is that before speed-of-light communications we would not understand how wars happening in the other side could be interlinked with the people on this side of the world.

In today's reality, in developing nations we have the support of real-time analysis, people's reports, factual testimonials, whistle-blowers, bloggers and documentaries raising awareness to the needs of the few being paid at the expense of the many. Further down I briefly clarify how the war in Syria and in other countries in the Middle East are directly related to the lifestyle European/Western citizens enjoy. For the moment, let's look at the mental barriers that hinder us to know the "other side". Any attempt to blame the "other" for not being able to take care of its own people is a sign that we haven't yet grasped the interdependency that all countries coexist in, or how world politics and economics really work. The idea that borders separate us from other humans is another illusion but is simply showing the success of economic and political interests in diminishing our inherent value as equal beings sharing this planet.

Similarly to the manifestation of solidarity with the French events, first with the Charlie Hebdo attacks and then with the 13/11 terrorist acts in Paris, it is time to stand equal and one with refugees, reminding ourselves that many of our ancestors have also escaped from war-zones and that we must not accept further wars to break the lives of future generations. Only by standing in solidarity with refugees will be able to demand political action to prevent such atrocities again. That is why I state: I am a refugee / Je suis un réfugié - whatever is happening in this moment in time I am part of it and, as Martin Luther King said "No one is free until we are all free".

The destructive wars that people in the Middle East are fleeing from are not only killing them from the inside, but also limiting any chances of survival. I have been asking myself: what would I do if I was caught in such a hostile environment? I would most likely do what they are doing to find a peaceful place to live and begin the healing process.

I am originally from Portugal, a country within the European Union that has been under a tough financial crisis and where there has been a devaluation of Life too. I have been seeing the slow-death of joy in many people's hearts struggling to survive. Economically speaking, the education, people's work and the resources in the country aren't enough to cope the hardships that the economic war imposes unto them, so many decided to emigrate to find a better environment to grow-up, to learn from and to create a better life for themselves.

In a recent interview I run independently in the centre of Lisbon, I asked the Portuguese people how the country could help the current migrants and refugees. There is a common tendency to think that we first need to help "our people" before we can help others. Another perspective was that migrants and refugees wouldn't be happy in Portugal either because of the poor life standards that the majority of the people have now. Nevertheless, many agree that we must be able to stand as an example and offer as much help as possible, since our problems are far less than the ones that the people from war-zones are experiencing.
By looking at the statement that we can only help "others" after we help the nationals of a given country, we see that the migration crisis is a mirror of what is happening already within one's borders, where poverty and homeless people have been difficult social problems to tackle. This is an opportunity to finally address the social and economic issues that are preventing EVERYONE from creating their own destinies, and the refugee crisis is simply enhancing the existing non-sustainable social structures where poverty and inequality are still a reality for many Europeans.

If the European countries were all stable and all their citizens lived well, would people embrace refugees, or would there be cultural clashes, fears and other mental limitations used to justify the lack of funding, infrastructure or social support? Systematic changes take time to be understood and accepted by people, especially when people have been educated (brainwashed) to define themselves as the national symbols, and feel threatened by multiculturalism and diversity. But as with the principle of mobility within the EU, global mobility from the East to the West, from the South to the North are a reality that must be welcomed and taken into consideration, not suppressed or punished.

In relation to the interdependence we all live in, we can easily look at our western lifestyles and wonder where prime resources come from to keep us warm, to enable transportation, industries and to essentially make society run. As with any other war, the root of the problem is related to the control and dominion of land and natural resources in specific areas of the world. According to Oil & Gas Journal, Syria was estimated to possess proved reserves of oil at 2.5 billion barrels as of January 1, 2015 and shale oil resources, with estimates of reserves in 2010 ranging as high as 50 billion tons  (see This is what is the ultimate justification for the destruction that is causing people to flee from war zones. Therefore, in the name of our own comfort but also in the name of the comfort of all the other human beings, it is our responsibility to find solutions that consider what is best for all. We don't need to wait for further revenge or terrorist demands that will perpetuate the perceptions of separation. We all know that the only solution is to mature international relations toward a new level of cooperation, responding to everyone's needs and fostering peaceful living.

In my perspective, the biggest lesson to learn from the migration crisis is the consequences of our Devaluation of Life. Despite all technological advancements, we haven't yet been able to come with plans and actions to manage world resources fairly and equally, and to apply political will to consider all peoples of the world. It is also a red flag about the false perceptions we have of "other people" based on specific religious or cultural differences that are deliberately shown by the media as the problem, instead of educating that differences are sources of diversity and expansion.
Additionally, I suggest that this becomes an opportunity to challenge that narrow-minded belief that we can either help "our people" or "the others", and instead we adopt the possibility of "having both" - this can be possible by creating the funds to address the social-economic priorities of nationals through solutions such as the Living Income Guaranteed, while at the same time fund the immediate needs of refugees through the profits we are making in exploiting local resources, and finally to establish a common ground for the West and the Middle Eastern societies to benefit from shared resources in a sustainable way through fair diplomatic negotiations based on the principle of valuing Life.

Why do we continue to play musical chairs with people's lives, knowing that this world and our species has plenty of solutions to offer?

I also recommend watching the open discussion on the Refugee crisis organised by the Living Income Guaranteed, where you will hear first-hand experiences about the integration process of refugees in Sweden, Denmark and in Germany. As Anna Brix Thomsen demystifies, we fear that which we don't know and that is also why many people have resistance to accept refugees in Europe - but once the mental barrier is transcended, a whole new world of opportunities, of personal growth and understanding is available toward a better future for our humanity.


Post a Comment

Please type your message

Popular Posts


"1984 book" "Brian Haw" "Council of the European Union" "duty free" alcohol "Equal Money Sistem" "Equal Money System" "equal money" "equal money" life Einstein developing children "European Union" "heaven on earth" "Joana Ferreira" "mindful blindness" "North Africa" "north London" "Osama Bin Laden" "Robbie Williams" "She's the one" "Sistema de Igualdade Monetária" "South London" "Stephen Hawking" "Structural Resonance Alignment" 2012 80-20 Rule 9/11 abuse acceptances accidents achievement action activists Adamastor addiction adolescente advertising African trypanosomiasis agreement airplane airport alarm Alcohol Amanda Seyfried anger anger management Animals Anna Brix Thomsen anticipation Anu anxiety anxiety. pressure Apple argos arguments ashes atomic bomb attack attention seeker awareness baby steps backchat bacteria bank barbie basic income beauty bed behavior belief beliefs Bernard Poolman best for all BIG bike theft bills bipolarity birds blame blaming blindness blog boardgame body body fat explained born boss brands breath breathe breathing bribery bully bus buy callosity callousness cancer capitalism capitalismo Car accident career cats change change the world change yourself childish children China chocolate chocolates choices chronic stress comfort zone commitment common sense common-sense communication communication fear comparison competition conflict conflict resolution consequence consumerism cook corruption countries couple creation crise curiosity cycle cycling deadlines death debt deception decision decision-making decisions definitions dehumanisation Denmark dentist depression desemprego desire despair Desteni Desteni I Process desteni i process lite desteniiprocess Destonians developing nations dinheiro DIP DIP lite diplomacy Direction Disagreements disappointment diseases without cure disempowerment dissatisfaction distraction doctors documentary doomsday drunk earth economic system educate oneself education ego Einstein elevator elite embarrassment emotions empowerment emprego endodontic energy English Enola Gay enslavement entertainment entrepreneurship eqafe Equal Life Foundation Equal Money Equal Money System Equal Money System; North Africa equal-money equality equalmoney Esquizofrenia Esteni EU euromilhões Europe European Union evolution exams excuses exhaustion expansion expectation expectations experience eyes fail failure fairy story fame family FAO farm fashion fashion week Fatima Fear fear of accidents fear of cats fear of death fear of failing fear of failure fear of flying fear of loss Fear week Fears feelings feet females fight figthing flight freedom frente-a-frente Friday friend friendship frustration fulfilled full time job future gaivota gangs getting sick on holiday giving up God gods grades guilt guns habit habits hangout hapiness happiness headache headstand healthcare heaven heaven on earth Heavily Indebted Poor Countries hell help here hereafter History HIV holding back holiday hollywood Holocaust Memorial Day homeopathy hope horse racing horseback riding horses How to be patient how to live well human human behaviour human beings Human Rights Humanity humbleness I'm not good enough IAEA ignorance ikea illusion Image Images imagination impulse In time indecision inferiority inflation inner fight inner world intentions interdependence International Migrants Day International relations interviews invention jealousy Joana Ferreira Joana Jesus job job uncertainty jobs Journey to Life judgments justice justification Justin Timberlake ken know thyself knowledge knowtheother knowthyself Krugman lame language learning leave partner legs let go let it go liberty lie Lies Life Life earth stress mind equalmoney society self-honesty life path lightning limitation listen to me liver Liverpool Living living application living income guaranteed London Londres look loss love MA males manifesto manipulation marriage materials MatterFreeMan media memories memory memory. Fears men mente migration mind mind consciousness system mind Construct mindshift mirror of the world misinterpretation misunderstood mobile models money morning mortgage mother Motivation movie movie industry movies muerte mundo music music star nature neck need negative new year news night Obama occupy old olympics Oneness organised others ownership pain parenting Parents Pareto parfum Parliament partner past path patience patterns peace people perdão próprio perfection persona personalities personality Physical physical body pigeons plan plane plane crash planning plans play plays pobreza polarity política political will politicians politics Portugal Portuguese positive possession postponement posture potential poverty power powerlessness pre-programme pre-programmed present presentation pressure primary school Principles priorities problem problem solving process procrastination profession profissão profit progress projection projections protests psychology public public relations public speaking punctuality punishment purpose Pursuit of Happiness Quantum suicide Questions RapeLay Rastani reactions realisation reality reconciliation refugees rejection relationship relationships religion Remembrance remembrance day reputation rescue Research and Development resistance resources righteousness Rights riots Robot Virgins root canal roots routine Rozelle de Lange RT news rules rupture rush rush hour rush. stress Saturday schedule schedules secrets Self self help self honesty self judgement self stability self-awareness self-change self-confidence self-correction self-definition self-direction self-distrust self-expression Self-Forgiveness self-fulfilment self-honesty self-judgment self-limitation self-perfection self-realisation self-respect self-responsibility self-stability self-trust self-trust. stress self-worth self. principles separation separation from others ser humano series sexomania Shakespeare shame sharing sickness SIM Sistema de Igualdad Monetaria slavery sleeping sickness smoking snooze society society. self-honesty soldier solution solutions space shuttle Spain spitefulness sports Stability stage stand up start the day starvation Starve step by step Steve Jobs stop the mind street stress stressless stuckness study success Sunette Sunette Spies sunshine superficiality superiority support suppression survival survival. rich system taking things personally technological evolution technology teenagers The Act of Killing the perfect girlfriend the unexpected thinking too much Third Contact thoughts time time management toblerone tourist trust Truth Tsetse Tsetse fly Tv TV series Twin Towers UK understanding unkown unponctuality unpunctuality unsecure urges vaccine valentine's valentine's day gifts value victimisation violence virus vlog wake up walk walk the talk wall street war war on terror warfare weak weakness wealth distribution weekend weight White lies Who Am I WikiLeaks woman women words Work workaholic World World Events World Health Organization world peace worry worry wart worthiness writing yoga practice yogini young young pigeon youth

Blog Archive

joana jesus, 2015. Powered by Blogger.
Copyright © Joana's Journey to Life | Powered by Blogger
Design by Blog Oh! Blog | Blogger Theme by