Monday, February 15, 2010

“There’s not room for all of us”, said the leader of the Popular Party in Catalonia in an obviously sad moment.

But in these times, at the dawn of a new era and a “new beginning”, there’s really no room for those who express such ideas. If we look deeper into our pasts, almost all of “us” were once “them”. We have all been emigrants, immigrants, giving rise to plural mixed communities with much cultural diversity, which are a guarantee of respect for equal human dignity, the cornerstone of all rights and ethical principles.

It is an outrage that the very same people who prompted the arrival of often poorly-paid immigrants in times of “economic expansion” are the same who now favor the immigrants’ return, making severe and disrespectful comments concerning their condition.

As long as so many continue to cling to speculative economic systems with huge military spending, outsourcing production in the east –anything goes, no matter the working conditions- and outsourcing management and innovation in the west, which only benefits 20% of humanity and increases social inequality, desperate immigrants will continue to be on the move, even at the risk of their very lives.

A vast plan for global sustainable development could provide adequate living conditions and progress that would make immigration a decision to be made freely, and beneficial to all.

We need them. And we will particularly need them in the future, given the dictates of low birth rates and increased life expectancy. Those who maintain that “there’s not room for anyone else” should consult the United Nations’ immigration forecasts, particularly those for Spain.

There’s room for all of us and all of us are equal in dignity.

The great challenge for the future we yearn for is to better share what we have. And to do so we need only to take a look at the world as a whole, to appreciate what we have from a comparative perspective.

When we “look” at the world is when we will suddenly feel the fraternity proclaimed in Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.