Dealing with Migration: Two Faces of the Same Coin (Guest Author: Omnia Abbas)


Progress Namibia - Dealing with Migration: Two Faces of the Same Coin (Guest Author: Omnia Abbas)
24 October 2016

In the span of one month, between September and October 2016, I've participated in two events related to migration. In one, in Hungary, the majority of the participants were Western academics and policy advisors. In the second, in Sudan, the majority of the participants were Sudanese media and journalism professionals. Very different context, but ultimately the similarities in grievances are enormous and often muted in the general current chaos that is the Migration Discourse.

The fact of the matter is, most of us reading this today are migrants who moved around neighborhoods, cities, countries and maybe continents. Mobility is a human instinct that is spurred by the immediate environment; sparked by environmental disasters, hostility, socio-economic advancement, or reunification with standard family. Our problems today were faced in the exact same manner of chaos and distress when more that 100 years ago Europeans migrated to the USA. The decision to move by a few individuals responding to a certan issue became a mass exodus. This exodus requires a system to absorb it bureaucratically and systematically into the complex web of socio-economic and cultural structures. Like the chaos in Ellis Island, our current systems in Sudan or Hungary will have to work under pressure due to realities of the world we live in. However, we tend to forget that even where there is relative calm in the world, migration is happening and people are moving. In smaller volumes, but still moving.

Knowing this fact: that humans have always been and will continue to be mobile, is supposed to make us feel more at peace with the current movement and accept that its not extraordinary, nor odd. This is the first step to accepting and actively working towards solving the bottle-necks of the migration wave currently exploding beyond systemic preparedness and control. There is a dire need to halt the current biased discourse (worldwide) laden with distress and start democratic, inclusive, accurate, human and well rounded discussions around migration, its root causes, possible benefits, and threats.

About our Guest Author

Omnia Abbas is Sudanese and has an MSc in Environmental and Resource Management from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and a BSc in Biology from the American University in Cairo. She has research experience in the spheres of climate policy, environmental politics and private governance. Omnia launched Eco Options Egypt, the first sustainability online magazine in Egypt. She works for Potential Energy Inc. as the on-the-ground representative in moving to a financially sustainable market-based strategy for the Berkely-Dafur Stove in Darfur and other conflict-affected areas of Sudan. She writes about the migration issue that we are facing globally, and in particular Europe, where borders have been closed off by various countries in the face of the large influx of refugees.