by Rasta KEITH
Anyone having even the most cursory interest in the “immigrant” experience in North America might consider taking the time off to read three articles recently published in the MONTREAL COMMUNITY CONTACT (10/11/2018). In an article titled WITH IMMIGRANTS – A WIN-WIN SITUATION, Dr. Alwin Spence asserts that “immigration is a two-way street… where the immigrant contributes and receives, while the selected country also contributes and receives.”
Echoing a similar sentiment in an article captioned, IMMIGRANTS, MIGRANTS, REFUGEES, Novel Thomas, bemoans the fact that: “The immigration/refugee/migrant issue (all one and the same in my view) has been politicized, [and] is now front-and-center in the political discourse as polarized forces bang heads over the merits of genuine immigrants/refugees versus illegal immigrants and refugees.”
Then, there is the view expressed by Yvonne Sam in her article titled “POST-ELECTION – TOO EARLY TO SURMISE ON QUEBEC’S LIKELY DEMISE? Viz; that the recent victory of the Coalition Avenir Quebec in the recent Quebec elections was due in part to the party’s appeal to pure lain Quebecers “to regard immigrants as a threat to their way of life rather than as a lifeline to the economic growth of the province.”
That much been said, one does not have to be a rocket scientist to realise that so-called industrialized countries are increasingly banding together to exclude peoples from the so-called Third World from landing on their shores.
And as Sam and Thomas observe, a dismal kind of “tribalism or sectarianism, xenophobia and fear-mongering” seems to be driving so-called birthright citizens to spew the venom of hate in the face of other persons who are unable to lay claim to citizenship of certain countries by virtue of the principles of jus soli or jus sanguinis.
Now, although other persons not having the fortune of being citizens of a country by birth, or through having at least one parent who is a citizen of the country in question might still be granted citizenship through naturalization, they forever find themselves labelled with the term “immigrants” (even as they are led to think that they have transcended the more demeaning status of being “aliens”). And there are those who might argue that given the present global order and the need for certain checks and balances among so-called sovereign nations, nothing could possibly be wrong with the nationalistic obstacles which people born in different parts of Mother Earth must confront in their desire to travel from one place to another.
Even so, the irony in the level of tolerance for the status quo suggested by Spence, Thomas and Sam should be obvious to anyone with even a rudimentary knowledge of history and an active moral instinct. For as legend has it, once Europeans had acquired the knowledge of gun powder from the Chinese, they immediately applied the technology to the production of destructive appliances like muskets, which gave them an unprecedented edge in all manner of warfare.
And so, armed with the sword, musket, bible, syphilis and other weapons of mass destruction, Christopher Columbus, Amerigo Vespucci, Jacques Cartier, Francis Drake, and scores of other European bandits sailed the seven seas and laid claim to the territory of anyone and everyone who was unable to match their military might. Everything was up for grabs.
And after they had decimated the populations of the newly conquered lands, they took dominion of all that they had surveyed by virtue of the so-called principle of the rule of law. In other words, “they came, they saw and they conquered.” And they built their industries and cities on the backs, blood, sweat and tears of enslaved Africans who had not been required to have passports, visas, or other types of travel documents in order to be shipped like cattle to their various destinations.
Prior to the dawn of such kinds of technological warfare, peoples of almost every nation used to roam the earth at will and assume the nationality of any country in which they were fortunate enough to settle, provided they had succeeded in staving off attacks by highway robbers encountered along their journey.
Accordingly, although the principles of jus soli and jus sanguinis dates back to around the 6th century BC, the practice had not become fully developed until the late 18th century after the British colonies in America had asserted their independence. And with the massive movement of Europeans around the world during the 18th and 19th centuries, the notions of “immigration” and “immigrants” became more established.
Thus, far from being a mere misnomer, the notion of America, or Canada, or any other country in this hemisphere being a “land of immigrants” must be viewed as a blatant lie.
For the European settlers, colonialists, colonists, and other brands of henchmen who chose to cross the Atlantic Ocean and set up shop in the Americas, the Caribbean, Africa, China, India, Australia and other faraway places had never been required to have passports, undergo medical examinations, and experience any of the plethora of qualifying procedures that the authorities at the different so-called ports of entry might be expected to demand of so-called immigrants.
Viewed from such a perspective, therefore, the earlier Europeans who had arrived on the shores of the Americas during the second half of the 15th century and thereafter should never be referred to as “immigrants.” And neither should their progenies be categorized as such. And because the term “immigrant” simply denotes a softer tone than the term “alien” in a manner similar to the way in which the term “minority” connotes “not being white,” such disparaging labels should never be uttered by anyone claiming to have the slightest iota of civility.
Thus, as Thomas correctly remarks, the only common denominator which might be appropriately applied to everyone inhabiting the territories of the New World, with the probable exception of indigenous peoples, is that we are all NEWCOMERS.
Moreover, given the dastardly deeds which had been committed by the colonists, colonialists, and settlers in their determination to seize the Americas, their descendants, who cockishly strut diverse kinds of prejudices as if to suggest that they are endowed with an exclusive divine right to citizenship of these portions of God’s (JAH) creation, are in for a rude awakening in light of the legal doctrine that no person should be allowed to profit from the proceeds of crime.
Fast forward to the 20th and 21st centuries and it is the heirs of the very former murderous colonists, colonialists, and enslavers who are now spouting their “holier than thou,” convoluted precepts of international law and insisting that peoples of different nationalities seeking to better their lives should stay put in their countries of birth or, expressed more euphemistically, “get in line” until it could be determined whether or not they fit into the mold for admission to their chosen destination.
Accordingly, given the fact that most of the so-called European explorers, settlers and colonists who had unlawfully expropriated the lands of the Americas, the Caribbean, Australia and elsewhere from their rightful inhabitants were convicts who had been sentenced to exile from their native land, the hurdles that are currently placed by their illegitimate heirs in the path of anyone seeking residency in such places must be viewed as being clearly evocative of a local Grenadian saying to the effect that: “burn pan telling kettle that its bottom is black.”
Thus, although there might be some merit to Dr. Spence’s view that “immigrants” should have no qualms about doing certain types of menial jobs in their adopted country until they could get around to establishing themselves, the goodly doctor’s apparent willingness to accept such kinds of subservience as a normal right of passage must be taken with a pinch of salt. For as Novel intimates, the ancestors of those who are today passing all types of draconian laws to hyperregulate the free movement of peoples around the world had absolutely refused to show any kind of deference for the norms and practices of their host countries.
To the contrary, they had run roughshod over anything and everything which had stood in the way of their determination at establishing a firm grip on the so-called savages. In other words, as Novel alludes: “Right here, what if, when the new Quebec premier’s descendants [and by extension Europeans had] arrived on native land, the residents, owners and caretakers of the territory would’ve demanded that the newcomers become proficient in any, or all of the native languages [as a prerequisite to gaining residence]. Or be sent back to France [Europe].”
Suffice it to say that during the last five hundred years or so, Europeans have single-handedly established certain precepts of international relations with respect to “immigration”, “citizenship”, “sovereignty”, and so on, which clearly work to their own advantage, but which are making it increasingly difficult for other peoples to travel in search of jobs, and almost impossible for jobs to travel to where people who are willing to work could find meaningful employment (Trumpism).
Be that as it may, the current situation could never be portrayed more vividly than has been done by the African Law Professor, YouTube sensation, and orator par excellence, Patrice Loch Otieno (PLO) Lumumba: “This time around, Africans are not wailing and kicking as they are being taken away to be enslaved. They are seen wailing and kicking [and drowning in the Mediterranean] as they seek to be enslaved in Europe [and the Americas, and elsewhere]. This is the Tragedy of Africa [and of Africans in the Motherland and in the diaspora].”