Come i flussi migratori influenzano la lingua e la cultura di un paese

(Video inglese)

History will remember our days as the days of the Great Migration and as the years when different cultures meet and clash. Mass migration and migratory flows have always existed but, never up to now, has there been a constant movement of people like that. Millions of people flee from Africa and Asia because they seek haven and wellbeing in Europe. It is clear that this phenomenon is one of the most important in the new world. We live in a society in constant movement, in a society marked by changes, which occurs, not only at global level as in trade, but at social level too. This happens between the meeting of different cultures, languages, religions, and ethnic groups. In the past, masses of people moved towards unpopulated territory whereas now modern migrations are moving towards inhabited area. This mixture of cultures, languages, religions and ethnic groups will have to find a compromise. This whole situation may lead to problems for integration and the European identity will experience a crisis.

This dissertation will analyse the phenomenon of mass migration that has been occurring in Europe since 2015. In our society, everyone is called to face this issue in order to find meeting points. Immigration is a resource which must be managed. Migratory movements have profoundly affected the culture of those who moved but also of those who stayed in motherland, birthing mixing cultures in the country of arrival.

Since pre-historic times migration has always been a distinctive element of human being. Each migratory process has unique properties: the amount of people involved, the duration and the movements. Migration can concern mass of people, entire populations or it can take place for infiltration involving few people, but there is forced migration too.

Nowadays, “Almost a billion out of seven billion people that populate the planet, carries out internal displacement (740 million) or international displacement (240 million)” meaning “one out of seven of the inhabitants of the Earth […] should be considered as on-the-go today”[1].

History shows that, since ancient times, inhabitants have experienced mutual influences. Over a million years ago, the movement of Homo Sapiens and Homo Erectus from their homeland towards Europe took the same route then followed by Hittites, Romans, Celts, Germans, etc.

The settlement of the European continent occurred from the South-East to North-West, whereby from the East of the Mediterranean to the British Isles, through a slow way of migration. According to some statistics, between 1840 and 1932 about 18 million people left England, 11 million people flew from Italy, 6.5 million people from Spain and Portugal, 5.2 million people from Austria and Hungary, 2.9 million people from Russia and Poland, 2.1 million people from Germany, Sweden and Norway.

The situation changed in the XX century, when the two World Wars and the 1929 crisis broke out. Immigration was restricted.

Inevitably, the society underwent a dramatic change. Sociologists like Stephen Castles and Mark Miller define contemporary era as “The Age of Migration”.

In 2017, people who lived in a different country compared with those who lived in their motherland were 257.7 million. In the same year, immigrants represented 3.4% of the entire population. According to Eurostat data, in 2016, 994.800 immigrants obtained the citizenship in Europe. The Great Migration is the peak of a process that developed into three phases after the Second World War.

The movement concerned two main routes: The Eastern Mediterranean and the Western Mediterranean. The first started in Central Asia, crossing Turkey, Greece and streaming into Germany and Scandinavian countries. The great majority being Syrian, Afghani and Somali. The second route left from Sub-Saharan Africa and it was streaming into the South of Italy, firstly in the island of Lampedusa, Sicily and Pantelleria.

The two routes follow the same path of Alexander the Great (300 B.C.) but in the opposite direction. The reasons why they flee builds up over the years with exploitation and harassment that the West inflicted in the forms of Colonialism and slavery. This flow rised due to the increase of poverty in Africa and Asia, religious, political and economic wars in Libya, Egypt, Iraq and Pakistan, the war against Taliban in Afghanistan in 2001, the action of Iraq in order to kill Saddam Hussein in 2003 and air campaign to counteract I.S.I.S. in Syria in 2017.

What’s scary about the Great Migration is that its unstoppable flow started in the same moment of the big economic crisis and the outbreak of the terrorism threat in Europe. The first questions that a European citizen ask are: who are these newcomers? Are they friends or foes? Will they remain in Europe forever? The analysis is crucial. Politicians, scientists, sociologists and psychiatrists have talked about this issue but there are no experts on this matter. The trend to leave their country is one of the element of modernity. People should understand what is this phenomenon, what it will cause and try to find possible solutions because newcomers don’t represent an enemy but an asset.

We can determine the impact of this phenomenon just one generation ahead when analysing it from another distance. Probably, it will change the lifestyle, the aspect and the fate of a country as the Discovery of America, the Industrial Revolution or the French Revolution did.

There is the uncertainty of the data. No one has idea how many people arrive in Europe each day. Today, how do European countries welcome the Great Migration flows? Mistrust or hospitality seem the only two ways. It is believed that integration means to adopt traditions, attitudes, food, religion, language of the host community, but this process is not as simple. Newcomers want to preserve their identity. It is believed that the finishing point of migration is integration which occurs into three steps.

The first phase involves peaceful coexistence between the two communities, the second step includes a process of mixture and finally, the third phase leads to fusion.

Also, integration takes place in several fields such as the economic, political social and personal ones. One doesn’t know the lifestyle of the immigrants. They come from countries with different culture, traditions and languages. What’s the future going to be like? Another important aspect of the Great Migration is education. States cannot control migration. It’s the truth. How can something that isn’t known be managed? It’s impossible. Before leaving their country, migrants have already seen the face of Europe through the Internet and social media. They nourish a desire of the West. How will the first meeting with Europeans be? On the one side there is the expectations of migrants but on the other side there are the opinions of local people. The problem of two cultures is at the root. The European mentality has been forged by Enlightenment and Christianity. It shouldn’t be forgotten that migrants are people with an identity and a story. They can be men, women, elderly and children who escape from their country for different reasons. There is nothing more tragic than the individual stories of them. No one, after having seen the picture of Aylan Kurdi, a baby who drowned on a beach in 2015, can remain unaffected. Why is Europe the destination? Because  they hope for a better life in a democratic environment with the rule of law, education and healthcare.

Migrants live at the border of two different cultures, and take part to the cultural life of two different countries, unable to detach themselves from the past. Each culture has its identity. If people have the capability to move from a country to another, they will develop the adaptive ability. This last should be eased by the local community because it’s very difficult to live in a country with different traditions and culture. In Italy multiculturalism is developing. It is characterized by a difficult coexistence between dominant culture and minority cultures. Multiculturalism should be a pattern of democratic society. In multiculturalism people don’t have common elements but they are mutually exclusive. Migrants tend to hold their language, their traditions, their religion and their rules. Sometimes they reject local culture.

Sometimes migrants learn the local language, they respect their traditions and in the private sphere they continue to practice their culture.

Allowing integration, Islamists have to accept Western culture, religious freedom, equality between women and men, etc. Education has to develop training programmes. Europe is experiencing a strong crisis of identity. In this case the concept of identity has to be defined because, directly or indirectly it has fallen under the external influences. Migrants believe that it is important to speak the language of the country where they lived but at the same time they should be able to speak native language too.

The language of society is important for integration while native tongue is important for family. Can we try to imagine the migratory situation in 10 years. Can we see a peaceful situation? Europe is a democratic entity and is it committed for centuries whereby the rights of everyone are being respected. The big problem of migration is at the root. Instead Europe is committed to resolve the immediate problem, which is to host these people. There are lots of incomprehensible gaps between native and migrant such as language, gestures, irony, style of speech, proverbs etc.

The migration of our days represents a challenge which will leave its mark on history. The migratory flow could be manageable if each European country collaborated. The truth is that Europe has not yet developed a holistic approach to deal with the Great Migration. A pure culture doesn’t exist. The destiny of mankind is characterized by the meeting of different cultures.

Come i flussi migratori influenzano la lingua e la cultura di un paese

Il mio elaborato si pone l’obiettivo di analizzare il flusso della Grande Migrazione che si è riversato in Europa a partire dal 2015.

Inoltre identifica le origini, le cause dei flussi migratori e le conseguenze che apportano e apporteranno a livello sociale, culturale e linguistico. La mia tesi prenderà in analisi dati, statistiche, studi, episodi di cronaca e esperienze personali.

Gli spostamenti di massa, i flussi migratori sono sempre esistiti ma mai, fino ad oggi, si era visto un movimento così continuo e inarrestabile di persone. Milioni di persone fuggono dall’Africa e dall’Asia cercando salvezza e benessere nel continente europeo. È evidente che questo fenomeno costituisce uno dei problemi principali del nuovo mondo. Viviamo in una società in continuo mutamento, in continua evoluzione, una società caratterizzata da cambiamenti che non avvengono solo a livello globale come nel commercio, negli scambi e nelle negoziazioni ma soprattutto a livello sociale, attraverso l’incontro di culture, lingue, religione ed etnie differenti. Mentre nell’antichità masse di persone si spostavano verso territori inabitati, oggi, le migrazioni moderne si spostano verso territori già densamente popolati. Tutta questa situazione comporterà problemi per l’integrazione e soprattutto l’identità europea entrerà in crisi. 

Lo scopo della mia tesi infatti è quello di stabilire se si arriverà mai a una totale integrazione e se sarà la cultura europea ad adattarsi a quella dei nuovi arrivati o accadrà l’opposto. La migrazione nel senso di abbandono di un territorio per un periodo sufficientemente lungo è sempre stato un elemento peculiare della natura umana e un fenomeno ricorrente sin dalla preistoria. Ogni processo migratorio ha delle caratteristiche: la quantità delle persone coinvolte, la durata.