STRUGGLES AND MIGRATION CONTEXT!!

My name is Moro Yapha, I come from the Gambia in West Africa. I am a radio maker (media) and human rights advocate. I am a founding member of Wearebornfree! Empowerment Radio, the first African self organized Radio in Berlin. And a board member of the Radio Netzwerk Berlin e.V.

I conduct lectures and workshops that focus on refugees, gender equality, and empowering women and minorities. I also advocate back at home about the risks, dangers, and challenges of Migration and Europe, based on facts from my experiences. I also work as a language and cultural mediator in the community level with Sub-Saharan African migrants living in Berlin.

 

The first time I arrived in Europe Germany was in 2014; Upon my arrival, I found myself in a prison like a hell – Lager. Camps mostly completely isolated from society, having to live under inhumane conditions and constant surveillance by the authorities. I refused to live in those inhumane and frankly  (colonial) conditions. So I broke the isolation and silence, and demanded my basic human rights and chose where I went and what to do or be.

Under such miserable conditions for years, I was not allowed to work, not allowed to take language classes, my movement has been restricted and controlled by individuals, and everyday living in fear of deportation. With all the struggles and challenges I have endured, has never made me lose hope or pull back. It has only enhanced and saw me of what I am fighting for? Colonial impact, white supremacy, and Externalization of EU border regimes.

By asking myself: What is Immigration? And should Migration be a crime? I came with the fact about the Hidden responsibilities, Causes, common misconceptions and Colonial impact of Europe towards Africa.

As Immigration defines the International movement of peoples into a destination country of which they are not natives or where they do not possess citizenship, and to take an employment as a migrant worker or temporarily as a foreigner. Then I see no reason why it should be a crime for those who are in the position to migrate. As EU contributed to Africa’s economic misery due to its selfish external trade policy. Nevertheless, the prevailing perspectives of the EU and of its member states concerning African Immigration remains to be focused on Security, the foreclosure of its external borders and prevention. Current EU programs and concepts to fight African migration are questionable. Even development oriented approaches are bound to fail, if not backed by sustainable immigration policies.

Europe industrialized Africa, based on their economic interest. Africas economic history is a history of large population movements driven by a variety of reasons: Notably, slave trade, colonialism and imperialism by the Europeans, violent conflicts interfered being generate by the western powers, extreme poverty caused by the European looting and appropriation of Africans resources, culture and economy. Still up today, most Africans live under conditions of extreme poverty and definitely insecurity.

Migration is not necessarily a zero game, where one side losses to the benefits of others. This holds for Africa too. In the ideal case, all parties involved could gain benefit, if it’s taken into mutual interest and equal level: The migrants, their families at home, the Countries of origin and the receiving Countries, if the Migration would be properly managed out of being criminalized in the overall interest. But unfortunately selfish interest of major players which are Europeans involved in this game, both on an individual and state level. By their discouragement and zero-migration policies on the part of the fortress Europe for Example,

encouraging irregular migration, smuggling, and marginalization and exploitation of migrants on different levels and stages of their journey to Europe.

As Africa loses their educated peoples as many have most to gain by Europe of their resources endowment and they are more vulnerable than others to benefit from the pull factors, like better living and economic conditions in their host countries. This is one of the reasons for a considerable “BRAIN DRAIN” which is the emigration of highly trained or qualified people from a particular country.

As Africa lost 3rd of its academic work force to highly industrialized countries like Europe and the US. Africa has been the most important source of this “BRAIN DRAIN” due to the economic and /or political crisis being caused and generated by the Western powers.

However I also see the positive part of it, which is the opposite of “BRAIN DRAIN” which is “BRAIN GAIN” which is an increase in the number of highly, foreign born professionals entering a country to live and work where greater opportunities are available. Which is transfer of knowledge, of innovations and the consolidation or extension of foreign trade relations. New value systems, political and spiritual orientations acquired by (we) the migrants in Europe, and what we imported into our home countries often contributed significantly to the development of Africa. I could give an example, migrants among the African political elite including myself, and mostly educated people at European Universities, played a decisive role in many liberation movements in the continent. Example some of the heroes of African independence like, LEOPOLD SEDARSENGHOR, CHEICK ANTA THIOP, KWAME NKURUMA, DAWDA KAIRABA JAWARA, and NELSON MADELA, and many exiled politicians and activists.

In addition, remittances of African migrants can contribute considerably not just the well being of our families back home, but to poverty reduction and development on regional and state levels or even dictatorship regime changes. I can give an example of my Country the Gambia, where we had been ruled by a dictator for 22 years. But in solidarity and collaboration with us the migrants in diaspora played a very crucial role in uprooting him away, through the financial support (remittances) and advocacy.

Therefore, it has been recognized that remittances; mostly from Europe, constitute the second largest source of external private finance in African developing countries, up to now they are an underutilized and badly managed source of national development in the countries of origin.

However, the EU member countries has to bear their share responsibility too: highly entry barriers , and the criminalization of irregular migrants, results in social exclusion and formation of ghettos of migrants in the European capitals, which of course discourage remittances because we rather prefer to care for our immediate own needs in an hostile social and political environment.

In conclusion, I would like to reflect that, African migration is a socio-economic dynamics since the times of the slave trade and colonialism. Due to these reasons impacted the high influx of migrants and refugees coming from Africa. The conflict ridden and poverty stricken region of west Africa has become a cradle of migration from Sub-Saharan Africa to Europe, where most African migrants with overseas destinations live. We flee from our desolate economic situation, violent conflicts or political persecution and we all need safety.