On June 8, 2016, Humanity in Action Germany held a public lecture to address recent migration movements and its reception in Europe. Our speaker Konstanty Gebert gave a talk titled “Migration as the New Normal.”
Konstanty Gebert shared his perspectives on the political and practical realities of what Europe today refers to as its ‘refugee crisis.’ Convinced that mass population movements will continue to form part of Europe’s reality, Gebert spoke about the significance these movements have and will have on our understanding of ‘ownership’ and ‘rights.’ Regardless of how this particular refugee crisis is solved, Gebert argued that masses of individuals will continue to embark on journeys to enter Europe. Europe is safer and offers better opportunities than most places on its outer rim. The logistics – both practical and political – that make mass movements possible will also continue to exist, and they cannot be unmade. Europeans were used to the idea that certain groups – first the aristocratic minority, then the ethnic majority, and finally all the residents of a country – were their countries’ ‘owners,’ and newcomers could acquire some rights, or possibly all, only individually, gradually, and at the owners’ discretion. The scale of mass migration makes this notion and its ideological underpinnings hopelessly outdated, Gebert argued. He is thus convinced that Europeans need to start thinking hard about what to replace them with.
We welcomed about 60 guests and entered a fruitful debate.
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