Migrants: The Story of Us All

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Migrants: The Story of Us All

Migrants: The Story of Us All

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The thesis of “sedentarism” as opposed to the “natural need to migrate” is held by many Brits who are now embedded in and wedded to, the belief that to be truly “English” is to belong to a “nation state” of original peoples.

Athenians suppressed this awareness; they were the first Western people to take pride in being, in Herodotus’s words, “the only Greeks who never migrated. Over the past year, young people from across Lewisham have been designing exhibits responding to what migration means to them as part of Moving Stories: Lewisham, a creative competition we ran during Borough of Culture, supported by Landsec. Grandson of the equally legendary Trojan hero Aeneas, Brutus was said to have been born in Rome; but, exiled from his birthplace, he travelled western Europe before finally settling here. s most renowned authors, including Donna Tartt, Gore Vidal, Jane Gardam, Primo Levi and Beryl Bainbridge.Migration tells us that this is not a new narrative; this is the history of migration, which is part of everybody's backstory - for those who consider themselves migrants and those who do not. Since the Big Bang 14 billion years ago, when matter, time, energy and space came into being, and the first species crawled out of the ocean onto land, humans evolved and migrated around the Earth. While the book is informative and intriguing, it does not significantly improve our understanding of migration. Along the way, Miller dispels some popular myths, such as the idea that the Neanderthals were less intelligent than modern humans.

How do we change the migration narrative from one of fear, division and exclusion to one that reaffirms our shared values and embraces our common humanity? Miller maintains that in practice the word ‘migrant’ clumps people whose experience of migration is extremely diverse – slaves and spouses, refugees and retirees, nomads and expats, conquerors and job-seekers.Miller records a friend’s objection to including the 12 million Africans transported against their will in the most cruel of circumstances.

What emerges from this onion of a book (fascinating digressions around no detectable centre), is, however, more than sufficient compensation.After the Second World War, as many as 12 million ethnic Germans were expelled from their historic homes in Poland, the Soviet Union, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Romania and Yugoslavia. Weaving the historical and the personal, Miller divulges what could have been a traumatic discovery about his own paternity.

Mass emigration from England first took off in the 17th century with the colonisation of America and the Caribbean.Most of them were young, sometimes very young, men, coming from Cameroon, Senegal, Gambia or Guinea.

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