AFRICA/NIGER - A world in motion: "Migrate to exist"!

Wednesday, 20 December 2023

Niamey (Agenzia Fides) - "We know that the history of humanity is a history of migrations. Any social transformation also occurs through migrations. In fact, migration is one of the mirrors of our society." This is the reflection of the missionary Father Mauro Armanino on the occasion of the World Day of Migrants that was celebrated on December 18. "The Niamey migrant reception group of which I am part has chosen as the theme of the Day that has just been held: 'Migrate to Exist', in order to summarize the triple cry of the migrant experience," explains the priest of the Society of African Missions. "A cry of rebellion against society, a cry for dignity and freedom and a cry of hope in a future in which we can build and imagine a different world, in which languages, religions and borders are not walls, but bridges," he added. The missionary, who works with migrants, takes care of a community on the outskirts of the city and directs formation programs in the diocese of Niamey, clarifies that the context is what influences the choices, guides thinking and invites us to observe the 'background' of the scenario that implies and affects migration. "First of all, the estimated number of migrants, about 300 million, to which we must add about 114 million displaced people and refugees. It is a world in motion! Armed conflicts are partly responsible for these changes, generating instability, insecurity, food and political crises. Social, economic and gender inequalities that only increase the gap between countries, continents, societies and families. All of this - adds the priest - cannot be separated from the crisis and the strategy of capitalism that exploits, strips and transforms everything into merchandise. It excludes, reduces the other to a thing, dehumanizes". The priest of the Society of African Missions highlights how “without this key to understanding, we cannot understand why walls, barbed wire fences, the externalization and militarization of borders... all of this has an impact on daily life and mobility of migrants in the Sahel and in Niger in particular". "Over the years we have learned that each migrant has his own migration, which cannot be reduced to any statistic or 'average'. In our reception service, we work primarily with returning migrants... those who have 'failed' ' in their immigration project, at least for now. We have the expelled, the deported, those who have run out of money and want to return to their country more or less freely. Then there are the 'old' migrants who have been here for a long time, who have little motivation to return without money or due to their family situation, the shame of failure. They live in certain parts of the city. Others wait to be accepted. Some wait for an opportunity to try their luck again or find other solutions. These are different paths and perspectives," concludes the missionary. (AP/MA) (Agenzia Fides, 20/12/2023)