A personal view on the displacement of peoples

  ---  it comes down to a matter of survival.We will surely die if we stay here so...’  ---

Editorial: There is an imbalance in the world with interconnected factors including climate change, disparities in income levels, access to water, availability of land for growing food, access to fishing grounds, fertility of soil, and then access to health, housing and education. Clear negative factors include political oppression, conflict and war.

Some countries, loosely grouped together as the ‘Wealthy West’ enjoy the positive aspects of these factors and conditions, some seem to have all the negative and many are somewhere between the two.

This imbalance can raise political questions about the culpability of imperialist countries during recent centuries and about the extent to which wealthy countries sincerely want poorer countries to catch up –or ‘develop’ to achieve equal wealth and power.

Many people suffering under collective negative factors and conditions become displaced from their homes and home countries. This might be a positive decision to go to where there is water and food. It might be to escape bombs and bullets or victimisation. It might be an impetus to find paid work so the family can be fed.

For very many families, it comes down to a matter of survival. ‘We will surely die if we stay here so...’ The survival instinct is in all of us. Each of us will move if pushed hard enough. Then it might feel it is not a matter of choice but an imperative.

There is a world consciousness that many of the negative factors I listed above are growing in size and impact. Climate change is one; loss of well-watered fertile land is another. The imperative to move away from home, region and country will come to more and more people.

Well-endowed countries will increasingly find they have two populations; people who are more or less stable and other people who are more or less fluid. Public and non-governmental services for health, education, housing, care, etc. must cater for both. There seems to be no alternative to this.

The displacement of peoples on this scale is a reconfiguration of populations. Each wealthy country’s response must be a gradual re-balancing of resources between the two populations with opportunities for people to achieve some sort of stability in their new home. Countries that achieve this will be culturally richer.

I have not written anything new here. It is just history. There have always been these forces that displace populations.

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Peter Limbrick

August 2020

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