The process of migration is as old as the world. People always go somewhere to live if they find better conditions. These movements reflected often tragic or extremely difficult conditions in the home countries.
From the late 18th to the mid-20th centuries, Europe was known as a continent of migration. There was a lot of moving at the time: the Europeans were going out and the non-Europeans were coming in. The first great wave of Irish emigration to the new world was because of the great Irish potato starvation. We should also mention that the Industrial Revolution in north-western Europe caused a great deal of population displacement and emigration.
“Staying in the Americas, but heading south, is it not astonishing that while the entire population of Argentina in 1864 stood at just over 1½ million, within thirty years, in 1894, it had reached 4 million. Then, by 1924, it more than doubled to over 10 million. By 1954, it was hovering at 20 million. In the period 1857 to 1940, about 45 % came from Italy, another 30 % from Spain, at a time when both countries were undergoing traumatic economic and political transformations. There were also quite a few Germans, Poles, Frenchmen, British, as well as some Swiss, Belgians and Dutch. Apart from a handful of Japanese, there weren’t any non-Europeans. After World War II, a fair number of Germans went into exile in Argentina. There was also, of course, widespread European migration to other parts of Latin America, including some 50,000 Spanish civil war refugees to Mexico” .
The words on the Statue of Liberty, taken from a sonnet by Emma Lazarus, The New Colossus (1883), perhaps provide a somewhat utopian vision of the welcome the migrants found — “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” — but, by and large, expectations were met and safe sanctuary was found. This was all the more the case since by then the indigenous Amerindian population had either been exterminated or forced into reservations .
That the immigrants to the U. S. were overwhelmingly Europeans reflected the turbulent conditions at the time, but also the fact that in 1882 Washington passed the Chinese Exclusion Act, barring Chinese immigration. Canada and Australia adopted comparable policies — Canada passed the Chinese immigration act in 1885, while Australia had a “whites only” immigration policy. The same immigration policy is seen nowadays in Europe, we should just remember the idea and readiness of the Polish government to accept only the Cristian migrants.
In a brilliant must-read article, Joschka Fischer narrates how during the 19th century there were predominantly “economic migrants” from Europe, whereas during the 20th century, racial persecution, political oppression, and the ravages of revolutions, civil wars and two world wars “became the predominant causes of flight”; transforming migrants into refugees .
On the other hand it is true that the welcome mat was not conspicuous by its presence on American shores for Jews seeking to escape from Nazi Germany. As narrated by the U. S. Holocaust Historical Museum: “While some American activists sincerely intended to assist refugees, serious obstacles to any relaxation of U. S. immigration quotas included public opposition to immigration during a time of economic depression, xenophobia, and antisemitic feelings in both the general public and among some key government officials.” Not a glorious chapter in U. S. history .
The terrible situation in the countries of the Middle East and Africa, their economic problems, political oppression, ethnic hostilities, religious and racial persecutions remind us about the same events which took place in Europe not so many years ago.
We should also remember that the Europeans are responsible for that what is going on in some parts of the non-European world. So, now the Europe has to pay for its actions in the past and the impact into some countries. If the European and American policy did not support the opposition in the countries of the Middle East, there would not be so much threat of the “strangers”  coming to Europe now. While the local society is against the changing of its socio-cultural milieu  and tries to save its identity, the migrants who have come to Germany in the 50-s try to explain the specific of their behavior and blame the local people in treating them as people who have come for a short period and don’t need any integration .
The number of migrants in Europe has become a great challenge for many people, especially for those who get now less help and support from their own government as a lot of money and efforts are given to the newcomers. It is very difficult to be tolerant when the “strangers” behave quite differently and demand a lot. To cope with the problem the Germans are now promotion the concept of the “welcoming culture” which is built in the conscious of the Europeans to make the life and the integration process of migrants better and easier.
In this situation, the collaboration of all the institutions such as business, civil society, government, educational institutions and the media is especially important. We should remember that we all are humans and we should act humanly to those who are in need.
- Варламова Е. В., Сатюкова Е. Г. Война между «своим» и «чужим» в современном мире //Война в контексте мировой культуры. Сборник научных статей: материалы научной конференции. Под общей редакцией Е. В. Гайнутдиновой. 2015. С. 257–263.
- Киселева Е. Е. Международная практика противодействия экстремизму и терроризму (на материалах ООН) // Психология. Социология. Педагогика. 2013. № 11 (36). С31–32.
- Лебедева И. В., Лебедева Л. К. Между двух культур культур (Рецензия на книгу Неклы Келек «Хаос культур. Дебаты вокруг ислама и интеграции») // Каспийский регион: политика, экономика, культура. 2013. № 2. С. 354–358.
- Лебедева И. В., Лебедева Л. К. Турецкий взгляд на проблему мультикультурализма в Германии (рецензия на книгу СейранАтеш «Заблуждения мультикультурализма») // Каспийский регион: политика, экономика, культура. 2013. № 3. С. 443–446.
- Лебедева И. В. Социокультурная среда как фактор развития этнической общности // диссертация на соискание ученой степени кандидата социологических наук / Москва, 2004.
- Jean-Pierre Lehmann Refugees And Migrants: Europe’s Past History And Future Challenge [Online] http://www.forbes.com/sites/jplehmann/2015/09/02/refugees-migrants-europes-past-history-and-future-challenge/#4a291c3a4765