Migration. It’s a huuuuge topic in The Netherlands if we’re talking about politics and if you’d ask me: it always has been. In my personal experience The Netherlands is a hostile country, most people are not happy with new people coming in. Especially if they’re refugees, oh my. I feel like migration is a topic in The Netherlands that isn’t even about people anymore, it’s considered a problem. That’s a part of Dutch culture I don’t identify with at all, I despite it. And so today I want to share my personal opinion about migration.
Borders are ridiculous
Let’s just first of all start off with something radical: I think borders are stupid. I think that people should be able to move everywhere around the globe, wherever they prefer. If I want to move to Australia, I think that should be possible. And if someone from Australia wants to move to The Netherlands, I think they should be able to. For everybody, every country. Poor or rich. I think it’s a weird concept that we’ve just claimed spaces and then block other people out completely. The United States for example, don’t think you can move there if you’re Mexican. Or The Netherlands, don’t think you can move here if you’re Eritrean. There are all kinds of rules, which the country you’re going to decides upon. I think that’s weird. Why can we prohibit anyone from coming here in the first place? Who are we to claim this part of the earth? I mean, yes, we as humans can have private property. But not an entire country, I think that goes too far. I can imagine one exception, just one reason to not let people in: wanted people. If someone is wanted for a criminal offence, then they can’t get in. But everything else, whether you are educated or not, religious or not, have a criminal past or not, have family here or not, have a lot of money or nothing, I think everybody should be welcome. Everybody deserves a new chance somewhere else. Yet, that does not mean we can’t have countries, politics, mutual laws or agreements anymore. I just think there should be a free flow of people, that’s all.
We are lucky, but they don’t get to be
I think people who don’t want to welcome immigrants are hypocrite. We can live here because we were born here, but they can’t live here because they weren’t born here. That’s just pure luck. Dutch people tend to accredit themselves their wealth, knowledge and good life. But that’s just a matter of luck. We had no part in this, it’s faith. We don’t get to think that we’re better in any kind of way, because we are not. As a matter of fact, we should be grateful. We should be grateful every single day that we live in peace and wealth and that we were born here. I think, in our rich position we should do anything to make the earth better. We are the ones able to afford organic food, electric cars and houses, fair and sustainable goods and aid for those in need in other countries. Ithink it is our duty to make good choices, just because we were born here. Besides, if we want to immigrate elsewhere we can, but the other way around is not possible. If we can move to anywhere, so should everybody else.
One does not exclude the other
We already have a housing problem in The Netherlands, I get that. There are not enough houses. More need to be built in the coming years. But why is that an argument to stop foreign people from coming in? Why not do both at the same time? Built houses, but also let people who want to come in, come in. I think one does not have to exclude the other. Besides, I think we have a big bureaucratic problem here in The Netherlands which could also fix a big part of the housing problem. Just to name a few things: the housing prices are way too high so people can’t move. A lot of elderly live in big houses because moving to a small apartment would increase their costs. Then, people are cut on income when they move in together. If a homeless person moves in with someone who gets their income from the government, their income is cut. Also, it is allowed to have a lot of property in the Netherlands. We have a prince here (that’s you prince Bernard Junior) who has 590 (!) houses. That’s just unfair. He is way too rich because he rents them, but because of this 589 families can’t buy a house. My point is, one thing does not exclude the other. We can built more houses, fix national problems ánd let new people in. Fun fact: most people don’t know that our population would actually be shrinking if we didn’t let people from other countries immigrate.
We are the problem
A lot of us don’t realize that we have been the ones to make the rest of the world poor. Whether that’s in the past or today, we abuse our power. In the past we did that by colonization. The Netherlands (among others) used to travel the world, conquer countries in a brutal and violent way, colonize them and then take advantage of them in every single way. We would benefit off their land or resources and leave the local people poor. That’s why these countries are poor, not because we are smarter or anything. We just took advantage of everybody else to become rich. Look, this is our past. People living today can’t change that, but we can recognize it and try to make things better. As a matter of fact, we should. But at the same time, we as a nation aren’t doing better today. We are still abusing our power. Fashion is a good example. We want fashion as cheap as possible, so people making them in for example Bangladesh don’t get paid a living wage. We keep them poor by not paying enough. We do this with fashion, with stuff, with food, with resources, with almost anything. We need to do better. We need to pay more money so that these people can built a good life too. Right now, we’re keeping them poor, but when they come to seek for a better life in The Netherlands (which we entitle ourself to, but nobody else), we get angry and tell them to go home. It. is. so. hypocrite. And that’s why an eco-positive lifestyle is so important at the same time. It is about compassion too. We only take our share and we make compassionate choices (like fair fashion or food).
Again: we’re talking about people here
In most discussions about migration, I feel like I should say it over and over again: we are talking about people here. People like you and me. People who weren’t so lucky like us. They aren’t numbers, they aren’t stories, they are certainly not a problem, they are people. We can’t forget that. And when I think about migration, that is what I keep mind. First, it is about people, about compassion. What does my heart say? How would I want to be treated? Right. And then comes everything else. The housing, the finances, the paper work. I am not blind to any of those things, I just think they are not the first thing to think about. The first thing is compassion.
Again: I think everybody should be able to move anywhere they desire, because nobody should ‘own’ part of the world, we should share it. Do you?