It’s hard to miss the last few weeks of current affairs on immigration. Whether or not you watch the news, you’ve probably heard about the recent migrant crisis and have probably also seen the stark reality of it in the news, watching people risk their live desperate for some peace and safety.
Well the thing is that I’m African and migrated to the UK with the rest of my family 26 years ago. I came from Nigeria, a nation vast, wealthy, and beautiful in landscape as well as culture. Sadly although still the case these days there’s so much corruption, greed and crime that it’s near impossible to avoid the devastating results. The gap between the rich and the poor is so vast that sheer desperation has led to regular street muggings, house burglaries and senseless killings. Corruption right up to government level means that unless you’re rich and can afford to pay bribes or are even a part of the corruption system, life is just tough.
My parents left Nigeria in order to give us a better chance at life. They started out in the UK right after getting married, with very little money and a baby on the way. Both worked and then after my mum had her first baby, she started training as a nurse. My dad did various jobs to get by, with previous training as a school teacher. Later on they went back to Nigeria and a few years on my mum came to the UK again, with just me at the age of 4. I desperately missed my 3 sisters and 2 brothers and after 6 months of complaining, while my mum went to work in the day and came home to me at night sobbing that I missed my siblings; she relented and sent me back to be with them and my father. She was heartbroken as I was so young. But she was able to earn money as a nurse and send most of it back home. After 3 years, she’d saved up enough to be able look after all of us in the UK. Yes we were free to move to the UK as we lived in a country that allowed such migration; when the laws were different. We didn’t receive benefits at any point while growing up. Both my parents worked all day and night seemingly, and made sure we never went without. They provided for all of our needs until the point at which we could do it ourselves. We are all well-educated and independent adults and I’m so grateful for the choices that these wonderful parents made for me and my siblings.
This is my view of immigration. It’s not the same as the bleak view that the media seem to be portraying. People are in my view just looking for a chance to improve their circumstances. Civil wars, poverty and abuse are not things that we should just live with. As human beings we should have the opportunity to reach our potentials and we should be able to live anywhere on this God-given Earth.
Now I do understand that the recent influx of migrants around Europe is worrying for the countries that are receiving the most requests for entry and asylum. I also understand the burden for the governments in providing a home and new life for these people is quite significant. However not all migrants come to live on benefits. Many people who have suffered and have been through horrendous experiences in their lives that we can’t even imagine. They don’t want to be a burden, they want to live normal lives, feel safe and be happy. They want their children not to live in a war zone nor be oppressed. Most of all they just want some peace.
I understand those reading may feel my views are biased as a result of my upbringing but what would I be if not a product of my environment. It saddens me to see the pain that people are suffering and I can feel their desperation.
We all need to fight for better human rights; help to foster peace and not discourse. This applies to our actions in our day-to-day lives, our relationships with people who cross our paths and our general perception of migration . There are plenty of non-migrants living off the state. Let’s put the issue of real concern at the forefront; lets concentrate on helping those who really need it, regardless of who they are or where the come from.
Finally, my hope for the future is that the general sense of unrest I hear of in many countries around the world including Syria, Palestine, Israel, Iraq, Iran, to name a few; be put to rest and instead have peace, order, calm and prosperity. We really do need peace and desperately.
**credits to Google for the image showing the definition of a migrant.