A. Nicot – Midterm: Is Humanitarian Aid the Real Danger?

This course is ostensibly about being a global citizen, but so far (we are about half way through the course), we have neglected to talk about any aspect of this except for the one involving humanitarian aid. Global citizenship is a concept tied in with so many other facets of the world we live in, and I believe it would be a shame to not explore these. Globalization is a force which is acknowledged by the world and is even encouraged by many, and global citizenship and similar initiatives and developments in society are just one part of globalism. Since we are learning about being a global citizen, it is imperative that we approach other topics than humanitarian aid in order to understand our place in the world and the roles we are to play. There are political topics, moral topics, philosophical topics, economic topics, social topics, demographic topics, environmental topics, and so many more that overlap with global citizenship, and they are unduly neglected.

So let us talk about at least one: global migration. Movement of peoples is occurring on an unprecedented scale across the world, both within countries (urban migration in China is the largest migration in human history) and from one country to another. Is this perhaps not the real danger which affects human cultures and civilizations, the more pressing danger, the more alarming change, and not the potential consequence of an misapplied humanitarian donation? I would propose that migration causes more problems than it solves, for either host countries or migrants themselves. The combination of cultural, ethnic, and geographic changes the migrant endures do not allow them to live entirely comfortable lives in their adopted homes and do not contribute positively to either the identities or the material well being of their hosts, be they temporary or erstwhile.

One possible reason migrations from the economic/geopolitical South to the North (as the issue is often framed) is encouraged by entities such as the European Union or the United Nations, and indeed national governments themselves (the United States of America always makes sure to encourage immigration from the “Third World” to European nations), is that such efforts relieve the global strain of poverty. While individuals may benefit, them and their families, on a purely personal level from economic migration, there is no accountability for the imposition on host cultures or on existing migration cultures in these communities, or any accountability for the drain presented on the countries they are “escaping” from.


I would argue that migrants in a European country cause a primarily “spiritual”, identitarian malaise both within the countries they exist in and in the communities they form in these countries. Descendents of these migrants, given the fact that they are enabled and not divested of their previous identity, will not integrate culturally in their host country and so feel foreign to it, while they will feel foreign to their supposed “homelands” as well, since they will not necessarily speak the language fluently nor understand the cultural mores. These are just a few of the most basic examples of why it’s important to treat the harm that migration does onto future generations and a broader context of immigrant communities in Europe (an easy example to use, but one could also go into the issues the United States faces with it’s increasingly large Hispanophone population). One could also explore more in depth the issues that native Europeans face as a consequence concerning their own “spiritual” well being.

The point here is not even to argue explicitly for or against immigration from the Third World to the First, but to provide some very basic examples of issues that I find are more relevant to the well-being of all populations concerned as far as globalization is concerned. Humanitarian aid as an idea is recent and it is always a temporary solution at best, an inconvenience and crutch at worst, as we have seen in numerous cases in this class. However, demographics are an issue that determine the future, decisively, and cultural cohesion and conflict is a central issue in the Western understanding of civilization and human society. It would be a terrible shame not to cover these topics as well.

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