Freedom of Movement
Freedom of Movement
In last year’s brief we talked about “a world where boundaries are becoming less and less meaningful. Now more than ever, we are one people. No matter where we live, we are all equally powerless in the face of war or environmental disaster.”
We still believe this, but sadly electorates in the Western World since then have voted to close borders and build walls to keep foreigners out. A violent rhetoric of hatred and fear is being constructed around people forced to flee their homes because of events beyond their control. In the face of war, repression or political oppression, these people do what we all would do: go elsewhere in search of safety. Yet instead of being welcomed, they are forced to wait in refugee camps or simply turned away. The ones who make it through are often physically and verbally abused for having the temerity to come ‘here’. This is impossible to condone on grounds of security, democracy or anything else.
Quite apart from any humanitarian concerns, shutting your borders to the rest of the world is also quite stupid. As companies like Google showed by recalling their overseas staff to the U.S, the brightest, best people don’t necessarily come from inside your ‘own’ country.
Throughout history, immigrants have enriched their new countries with their knowledge, traditions and cultures. There’s no field of human endeavor that hasn’t benefited from outside influences. If we continue to focus inwards and shut out other countries, we go backwards, not forwards. That’s the thing – there are no other countries, there’s just us: men and women who have been born in a different part of the world than our fellow humans.
The demonstrations against President Trump’s travel ban showed the power of posters and placards as a rallying point for protest: now we want you to take up the fight.
On its website, Amnesty International declares: “History will judge us by how we tackled the worst humanitarian crisis of our time. This is our moment to defend the things that unite us as human beings, and refuse to let fear and prejudice win.”
It’s true. We must not let this moment pass. Since the very first issue of Poster for Tomorrow we have said that we are stronger together. Now it’s time to raise awareness of this human right: the freedom to move to a new country in search of a safer place to live.
People of different nationalities bring colour, variety and life to the world. If we put close borders and build walls to keep ‘them’ out, we will only descend into darkness.