Conditional welcome and the ambivalent self – commentary to Gill
This brief reflection is written from the standpoint that much of the witnessed suppression of welcome derives from either a lack of fully understanding, or misunderstanding, the reasons for and circumstances of the perceived crisis, as well as of the histories and motivations of the people who have arrived in Europe in great numbers. Rather than simply depicting the governmental perspective in opposition to that of the people, the argument put forth here is rather that the reactions to this extraordinary situation have been torn at best, and it is the mounting polarization, rather than the immigrants as such, that are putting Europe’s democracies, social model, cooperation as well as values to the test. The anxieties caused by immigration have become intertwined with deep insecurities triggered by originally unrelated societal changes, whereby the question of the suppression of welcome has a lot to do with the difficulty in finding an appropriate balance with one’s own benefits, preferences of association and responsibilities towards others. Efforts need to be taken to debunk tenacious false narratives about migration, and to provoke debate in a fashion that will lead to a nuanced understanding of the root causes and motivating factors behind the migrant flows, as this would enable us to take proper action in addressing them.
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