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Europe’s colonial amnesia and its repercussions for the migrant and refugee crisis


Riot police fire tear gas on the refugees and migrantsThe day by day updates I receive from volunteers working in Calais and on the Greek islands of Lesvos and Chios are coronary heart-breaking. As I sat to jot down this, a volunteer nurse from Denmark described her night shift to me, using up and down the coast of Chios,
turning off all lights with the opposite volunteers in order with the intention to see the refugee boats are available. They stand outdoor, listening for the smallest sounds over the beating of the cruel wintry weather waves. Another volunteer from Lesbos instructed me that they
sometimes obtain as many as 800 to 1,000 individuals on the Greek island during such night time shifts.

It’s snowing in Greece; individuals are slumbering in all to be had empty constructions and below cardboard containers. Families try to huddle collectively and keep heat having survived the damaging sea crossing.

If Europe can simplest habits the “refugee debate” in accordance with the Cologne attacks or the Danes’ “catastrophe” of not being able to serve pork in the kindergartens, or by emphasising the “issue” of a Muslim girl having
to research English with the intention to rid herself of “backwards attitudes”, then the political and media discourse has sunk to an all-time low.

Believing politicians’ phrases to increase Europe’s phobia of Islam and Arabs amongst Britain’s multicultural population is just not coincidental media hype, but could be very much coupled to the justification of the newly-tightened immigration and
asylum measures to be carried out subsequent month. Moreover, the authorities at the moment are lashing out in opposition to move-border interplay and aid to locations resisting the concept that of “fortress Europe”; the closed border rules between Britain and
France, for example, which have left the displaced folks in the “Jungle” of Calais extraordinarily vulnerable. The French authorities tear-gassed harmless residents of the camp, bulldozed their humble tents and refused to let volunteers cross
from Britain to help the migrants. Meanwhile, the mainstream British media have been obsessive about the truth that the migrants refused resettlement by the local authorities in Calais in what are little more than heated transport containers, for that reason forcing
them to are looking for asylum in France and ending their hopes of attending to Britain.

The individuals caught in Calais are caught between two main colonial powers which should bear responsibility for far of the violence and destruction which has pushed refugees from their houses in the Heart East and beyond. Their horrific situation is very related
in trying to understand the colonial legacy and Europe’s obsession with borders and concern of the immense efforts by using civil society to help the migrants while they’re curbed by European governments. Why is Europe so scared this present day? Why are we
busy “Othering” within and with out, strengthening borders and scaring away volunteers eager to help fellow human beings in determined need?

A Fascinating introspection of Europe was made this month with the aid of the academic journal Intervention,[1] which seemed at the “level of Europe”, interpreting its colonial entanglements against its current migration predicament. The it’s because
Europe is so afraid right now will be that the location has precipitated a realisation of the wish to decode the “Black Field” of the continent’s colonial memory. It’s Europe’s colonial amnesia and complex relationships with
its ex-colonies that have determined its notions of sovereignty, unjustifiably so. The Field continues to be un-decoded. This Is an uncomfortable fact that nobody desires to hear about, let by myself try to relate to the refugee and migration influx, despite the fact that it
is self-evident.

A recent article in Britain’s Impartial newspaper listed “5 of the worst atrocities carried out by way of the British Empire” and
highlighted the controversial results of a YouGov ballot which suggested that Forty Three per cent of the inhabitants still imagine that the empire used to be a just right factor; simplest 19 per cent concept it used to be bad, with a quarter having no view both manner. It Is most likely safe
to assert that the British educational system does now not center of attention an excessive amount of on the terrible colonial legacies that folks nonetheless must reside with on a daily basis. The British have as an alternative been topic to a mainstream media and government option to “prevent”
radicalisation which insists on a modern-day colonial-type project to “teach” the opposite; in the newest case, this refers to Muslim girls in a “force to fight backwards attitudes”. This replicates Britain’s colonial rhetoric about imperial “subjects” in Africa, the center East and India in years long gone through.

According To Dr Rosemarie Buikema, Europe must define itself differently and find new signposts and pointers, as well as acknowledge its dark legacy, which still needs to be decoded. We want to contest the theory of Europe and European historical past as being
built on singularity and exceptionalism; most likely even open up the idea that of Europe as a venture in the making and but to fulfil its attainable.

Dr Sandra Ponzanesi, Professor of Gender and Postcolonial Research within the Division of Media and Culture Studies at Utrecht University, believes that the question of migration to Europe can’t be solved through creating a “European Fortress” or
tightening rules. Europe, she has stated, can do it through postcolonial deconstruction to take into account why and what led individuals to flee from their homelands.

“The disavowal of multiculturalism by way of best European politicians,” defined Ponzanesi, “plus the recent Euro [financial] predicament and accompanying austerity measures that have exacerbated Europe’s politics of resentment, have
diminished the role and understanding of cosmopolitanism in its inclusion of difference and minorities.” She has summarised French philosopher Étienne Balibar’s contributions on European citizenship and political identities.

What we are witnessing is what Balibar describes because the second when postcolonial entanglements conjoin with the Put Up-socialist fact, intersected with the aid of Islam, the Mediterranean migrant main issue and terrorism in Syria and the center East. We Need a new working out
of postcolonial European cosmopolitanism that may embody differences and pluralities.

[1] (2016) ‘the purpose of Europe: Postcolonial Entanglements,’ in: Interventions, 18:2, DOI: 10.1080/1369801X.2015.1106962

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