The lack of originality shown by the far-right condemns them to repeat the same slogans in different countries over and over. This clumsy insistence shows their lack of imagination. As the saying goes, these people cannot see beyond their noses.
The far-right in Italy, France, Hungary, England, and now Ireland insist on repeating the same slogan: “we are full”, “Italy is full”, “France is full”, “Ireland is full”, etc. The idea is that the country has received a colossal quota of migrants and refugees, making it impossible to provide protection to people fleeing wars, including the one in Ukraine. This protection is based on international treaties that these countries signed and ratified democratically. It is not charity; it is an international responsibility. Not to mention the moral one.
That doesn’t matter to those who love slogans and scapegoats. For them, the country is full: the hospitals, housing market, schools, supermarkets, and universities are all full, and there is no place for anyone else.
At this point, the conversation ends, and the absence of imagination diminishes any possibility of understanding. Because if we cannot go beyond that full stop, beyond our convictions and certainties: how will we be able to dialogue with another person? To understand and respect each other?
Imagination allows us to put ourselves in the place of the other, imagine ways out and not stay in pure discontent, pure complaint, and violence. That is why we will help those on the far right imagine beyond their slogans.
Let’s start with a question: If the country is full, as they say, where are those migrants and refugees who are filling the country? Even if you don’t see them around you, because most likely they are not yours or your children’s friends, it is not difficult to know where they are: they are working, carrying sheets in the corridors of hotels, cutting meat in slaughterhouses, milking cows at dawn, cooking the food that is sold at all hours in supermarkets, tending to shops that are open 24/7. They drive the motorcycles that deliver food through Deliveroo. In short, they are doing the “low-skilled” work that keeps this country running, that we all use, and that keeps the prices of goods and services low so everyone in the country can enjoy them without guilt.
Yes, maybe this country is full: but it is full of migrants taking care of the elderly in nursing homes, construction workers, healthcare assistants, and haulage drivers. This country is full of nurses working long shifts to care for children while leaving their own in the care of relatives. This country is full of women taking care of elderly Europeans, cleaning their houses for €10 an hour, and people renting rooms and houses at high prices to satisfy the ambition of their owners. Those on the far-right may not know it, but migrant workers also earn 22% less than nationals for the same job: for every euro a white European worker earns, a migrant earns 78 cents. As if that were not enough, it is almost impossible for migrant workers to change employers without losing their immigration status.
This situation makes employers take advantage, and workers are afraid to file a claim. This is the imagination that the extreme right lacks: to imagine this country without workers, without cheap labour that satisfies their desires and keeps them living in the comfort and privilege in which they live, giving themselves the luxury of not having to think and of not having to be condemned to imagine a better future for their children away from home.
Friends, now I invite you to imagine: What would happen if all those filling this country left, as your protests and slogans want? Tell me: Who would prepare the pre-cooked food you buy in the supermarket? Who would take care of your grandmother in the nursing home? Who would drive the bus that takes your children to school? Who would milk the cows that young people don’t want to milk? What is missing in this country?
Photo Sebastian silva https://a-visual-diary-for-tomorrow.tumblr.com/
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