Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Counter Migration | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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One of the direct consequences of the Arab Spring is the increasing number of people emigrating from the countries where the revolutions took place, compared to the emigration rates prior to the eruption of these revolutions.

Most people are immigrating to the European continent, particularly Italy, France, Spain and Greece. However, these countries in particular, and the European continent in general, is now suffering from recession, a situation that will very likely last for a long period of time.

As for the impact that immigrants can have on their new homes, whether we are talking economically, politically, or culturally, in a world of extreme globalization where borders and barriers appear to have vanished; the issue of migration is vital towards realizing the impact that diasporas can have on the world.

India has one of the largest diasporas in the world, and it has expatriates in most countries in the world. Indian emigrants were once under the British Empire, which had a vast influence around the world. However following independence, the Indian diaspora’s role changed, they became a pillar supporting their new – but ancient – state from abroad, which in turn was attempting to solve the complicated equation of independence, glory, and dignity, which represent an extremely difficult criterion, particularly in view of the domination of superpowers.

Today, in view of its historic and large diaspora, we can see India extending its influence across the world, culturally and economically. India has more than 40 billion dollars in international investment, and because of its advancement, courage and tremendous self-confidence, illustrious trademarks and companies such as “Jaguar”, “Land Rover”, and others, have become Indian property.

Whilst Bollywood movies have a remarkably strong presence in the Western markets, to the extent that Bollywood film stars are almost as famous as their Hollywood peers. This is testimony to the successful nature of this new India, a country that matches self-confidence with courage. This cultural success can also be seen in the field of literature, and the prominence of Indian writers. India’s major source of national income is its human cadres, and this has become a key characteristic of the new India. Indians are now assuming leading administrative positions in the world’s most prominent companies, corporations and universities. They compete with and even outshine other countries that may have a longer history in various important fields.

It is not just Indians who have made huge successes thanks to their diasporas, there are also extremely influential Jewish, Armenian, Chinese, and other diasporas. These diasporas have etched out centres or fields of influence, the Armenian diaspora for example become prominent in the gold and jewellery industry of all the countries they immigrated to, whilst the Jews made vast achievements in the financial and banking industries, the Chinese in low-cost trade, and so on.

Today, “Arab” diasporas have sprouted up and excelled in more than one geographic location across the world, including Brazil, Canada, Australia, Africa, the US, Central America, Argentina, South Africa, Indonesia, France, Britain, Sweden, New Zealand, Belgium, Denmark, Norway, Spain and Italy.

The Arab diaspora is in control of substantial capital in these countries which they reinvest in their countries of origin, whether for sentimental or purely financial reasons. In either case, this can be a source of great benefit to our Arab States, particularly if they are able to utilize their diasporas in a serious, professional and effective manner.

Singing the praise of Arab emigrants who have made great achievements and successes abroad is no longer enough. What is needed today is to prepare for a counter-migration in order for our Arab States to reap the maximum possible benefits, whether financially or culturally, instead of contenting ourselves with media stories and empty rhetoric.