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Migration – More Than Just Mass Movement
Authored by: Monica  

Will Durant, a masterful historian said, “So the story of man runs in a really dreary circle, because he is not yet master of the earth that holds him.” Are we really slaves to history then? I shall connect back to this in just a bit….

 

A little while earlier I was reading about the horrifying situation in Syria. One of the things that this article was telling me about was the migration that is happening from this country. According to statistics from UNHCR, millions of people have left Syria and sought shelter in neighboring countries.

 

Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and even Iraq and Israel are seeing some inflows of Syrians. More than 6 million people have left their homeland, Syria. The image below is not that of a new city being created in the desert. It is Jordan’s fifth-biggest city, Camp Zaatari, created to hold refugees.

 

Refugee camp Jordan

Image Source – https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/6f/An_Aerial_View_of_the_Za’atri_Refugee_Camp.jpg

 

 

Human migration has always been a reality. Sometimes, such migration takes place simply because the population is in search of better job opportunities. But other times, such as the migration happening from Syria, it comes because of extreme strife and unimaginable conditions. For the countries that play hosts to such vast numbers of migrating human beings, it becomes a question of economics.

 

For instance, Lebanon, which is seeing the maximum number of Syrian migrants, is struggling with offering adequate relief. This has in turn led to the population moving from Lebanon to Turkey.For people like you and me, migration is probably something that is simply a news event. But delving into the history of migration shows a deep and disturbing connection to mass sorrow and tragic events.

 

Events such as ethnic cleansing or even slave trade and trafficking have led to involuntary migration. On the other hand you have people such as the nomads in various countries. They migrate across harsh terrain simply because it is their way of life. Ironically, they seem to enjoy a certain simple and natural perspective on life, living and oneness with Nature. Imagine living like the people of Annam Mountains, Vietnam. Their houses move along with them:

 

Image Source – https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/3e/05_Nan_River_Houses_in_Phitsanulok.JPG

 

Migration is certainly not always an event borne from grief and tragedy. After all, the human population grew only because home sapiens decided to migrate out of Africa several thousand years ago.

Image Source – https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/c/c8/Human_migration.png

 

Neither is migration limited to the human population alone. Insects, birds and even fish are known to migrate from one part of the world to another because they are driven by the need to propagate their species. Our perspectives on human and natural migration differ immensely of course. The latter is the stuff of legendary documentaries such as The Blue Planet by David Attenborough. The former – human migration – becomes yet another event in history that mankind; more often than not; is forced to repeat.

 

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