Libmonster ID: BY-2423
Author(s) of the publication: A. MEMMI


Writer (Tunisia)

The inconvenience of being Arab or African in the West persists for many years. The greater the need for economic and political cooperation and international decision-making became, the more painful was the gap that continued to exist between the former masters, the former colonized and the former colonized.


The sense of inequality, which has become unbearable, supports the growing bitterness in relationships. The growing presence of immigrants in the West itself revealed a new expansion of Islam. Hence the desire of Islam to forcibly wrest recognition of equality from the West. They accuse him of perversity, selfishness, concern only with his own privileges, and threaten a desperate war with him. Although it is not a fact that a real war will begin. This requires a relative balance of forces of the opponents. Meanwhile, the difference in "weight categories" is obvious and so far it is difficult to overcome, even given the relative weakening of the West, which still retains a significant advantage in scientific, technical, military and philosophical development... For example, his doctrine of human rights is accepted, even sanctimoniously, almost all over the world...

Who are they, modern immigrants? Scavengers, janitors, utility workers, sewage collectors... It was as if their old African slavery had returned to the West... Discrimination is everywhere, whether it's about work, housing, or personal life... But how can they overcome their poverty and humiliation? How do I keep up with everyone else? Have you ever seen how the French willingly visit immigrant neighborhoods, invite people to visit them? Even if an immigrant is not just a seller of roasted chestnuts, but a manager in some supermarket, he always has a sense of some kind of "illegitimacy", marginality in the land of his new homeland. Whose fault is it? The answer is not simple.

An immigrant wants everything at once, so that his living conditions are equal to the French ones. And the French believe that they have already done a great job, opening the doors to their country to him. And now let them prove their ability to live here as their ancestors bequeathed them... Let them be grateful for the opportunity to live here and let them adapt to the customs and customs of their land. Let the immigrant dissolve into the national majority. This is if you decide to live in a foreign country...

And so, the immigrant asks himself, is there more misery for him? After all, he has already failed, saying goodbye to his homeland, and here they want to force him to pay a price much higher than the cost of the flight. And he gets dizzy when he stands on the edge of an abyss of such problems... And do the French understand these torments?..

There is a certain shortsightedness in the national majority that accepts immigrants. It does not see the concerns of the minorities who live nearby... Everyone talks about immigration as a definite necessity, although they do not clearly understand what it entails. And so there are mutual reproaches and distrust...


Deep resentment is characteristic of the third world, and especially of the Arabs. This resentment has always existed, but now it is expressed openly. This is the resentment of the defeated, who do not see a way out of their defeat. And this resentment is becoming more acute, because it is the third world that needs the help of the West, while the latter does not feel much need for it. You can do without coffee, which is harvested in Africa or Central America, but you can not do without medicines produced in laboratories in Europe.

The third world has learned a lot and continues to draw from the culture of the West, and the latter - except for some musical rhythms or some features of the clothing style of Africans or Latin Americans. And this is no small drama of the de-colonized, who, having achieved freedom, political independence and independence, continue to largely depend on the West, to borrow from it. The culture of the "oppressor" permeates the entire economy and politics of the former colonized. Of course, the availability of oil and other minerals is an important factor in their development.

What do you do when you feel defeated? You can dream of a "different life", nostalgic for the past, when

Continuation. For the beginning, see Asia and Africa today. 2016, N 6.

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at some very distant time, their countries were powerful and rich, wise and educated, and had rulers who reigned in vast empires... You can dream of a wonderful future, like in fairy tales, when everyone will flourish again and become invincible... But such a gap between the dream and reality does not contribute to a stable balance and peace of mind. Because the surrounding reality constantly reminds us of the consequences of colonialism, which must be endlessly overcome. This is the poverty of the majority of the population, and the scandalous wealth of a few; this is corruption that reigns all around - both in government structures and everywhere where you can somehow arrange your affairs for a bribe... This is the people's resignation to poverty, their almost complete lack of will: although some small outbreaks of discontent and riots occur, they are ineffective and do not bring the slightest results, they are easily suppressed and pacified... This is also a conspiracy of elites who support religious obscurantism, all sorts of political intricacies and intrigues in society... All this is typical for resource-rich countries, while the poorer ones in this regard are trying to live more decently...

Hatred of America has replaced the decolonized with hatred of the colonizer. And not because Americans look stronger than the rest, but because they are the quintessence of the West... And so it seems that they are responsible for all the troubles of the Arabs. And the resentment turns into anger and revenge, which knows no bounds. It is not enough that the culprit will be identified, identified, she needs to punish him. At least symbolically destroy, destroy... Worst of all, it is resentment and a sense of revenge that unites people, being an excuse to rally the ranks of all the "victims" who are desperate for their victory... But if the immigrant wants to destroy the West, he must forget that here he has found a society in which, in spite of everything, he wanted and wants to find his place.


Now we are witnessing a confrontation between the Arab-Muslim world, on the one hand, and the West on the other. Side by side are violence and solidarity. Violence against the West and unconditional Arab solidarity. Inter-Arab solidarity is the reaction of the defeated and oppressed. The winners don't need it, they are self-sufficient... The solidarity of the ex-colonized has never been extinguished, just as the solidarity of the colonialists in the era of colonialism has not been extinguished until now.

Solidarity automatically breeds condescension. Even as the horrific suicide attacks escalate, some people say, " Well, what can you take from them! They are madmen, they think they are enlightened by the will of God!.." Even sometimes sympathy is expressed in relation to the Arab " kamikazes "and" heroes " of the Arab world. Even those who previously recognized Saddam Hussein as a "terrible tyrant" were opposed to the harsh measures taken against him...

Even the slightest hint of "injustice" is not allowed-all this can "weaken" the joint efforts of the Arabs in the fight against the West. Those who, of course, support this "sacred struggle" become almost saints. And if he dies in this struggle, then they make an Islamic "martyr"out of him: it is a testimony of great sacrifice and great valor in the struggle for the "common cause"... Whether this is bravado or provocation, even mothers proudly proclaim the names of their dead children, considering them heroes, "martyrs", martyrs in the name of a "holy cause"...

Naturally, human solidarity itself is not a bad thing. It supports the individual, somehow strengthening his strength in connection with society, it even gives a certain euphoria to his life, which has entered a certain community, which promises to protect him from the "hostility" of the rest of the world (sometimes far-fetched, sometimes real); and in general, human solidarity helps the weak and disenfranchised.

But it itself becomes unfair if it arises as "unconditional", not in connection with a real threat, but" by itself "only in the name of uniting" one's own "against"another's". The struggle for "human rights" becomes simply a struggle of Muslims against "infidels", non-Muslims. By the way, distrust reigns in the Muslim world itself in relation to non-Muslim minorities living in it. ...


Speaking about the observance of national and religious traditions, many go to the point of absurdity. One young woman, a teacher, assured me in all seriousness that fasting in the month of Ramadan for Muslims is a means of losing weight, an opportunity to lose excess weight. And belly dancing is a pleasant erotic entertainment for Arabs, in fact ,a "spiritual action"... There are also those who justify stoning women to death if they are suspected of adultery. "What do you think, "this Arab professor who teaches in Switzerland admonished me," is the sexual promiscuity that prevails in the "secular" West better?" Only Islam can be a fortress that protects people from this "dog wedding" that can throw mud on the whole planet, " the professor believes... Another, more moderate in his criticism of the West, counts the number of words of Arabic origin in French, insisting on "cultural influence", recalling that it was the Arabs who introduced the West to Greek philosophy (which is true!), and in general the West owes a lot to the East (it's hard not to agree with this-

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sia). But the meaning of these arguments boils down to the fact that the Arabs, and all the former "oppressed" and "despised", "robbed" and "humiliated", are now taking revenge and trying to show not only their strength and power, but most importantly - their ability to do without the West...

That is why Europeans need to defend and defend their collective strength, their collective identity, and their solidarity, which is being unlawfully attacked and constantly threatened...

The idea of returning to national values and the origins of European civilization is popular in European countries, and every European can explain this more or less clearly. But where do they want to "return", the Arabs? Where is this "pure" integrity of them? What does it consist of? If we do not count the few actual Arabian myths, whose interpretations differ from one another depending on schools and needs, then in fact the Arab culture that is revealed to us today is the result of the long and successful struggle of the Arab conquerors with other peoples and the fruitful assimilation of the cultures of the vanquished. Today's Iraqis or Turks are very far removed from the culture of the Arabian Bedouin, who began their advance with the banner of Islam to other countries. And it is impossible to imagine that there was any integral cultural Arab past. All this talk is just a means of fighting the West.

The penetration of the West, whether it pleases or upsets anyone, goes everywhere in the East, permeates all its cultural heritage. Take a look at the games and entertainment of children of immigrants living in the West. They do not have any differences in this with all the young people who surround them. Young people - and immigrants are no exception-generally prefer "fast food" to national cuisines. Young people like to eat their fill and cheap. It's everywhere... The human and civil rights that immigrants acquire in the West are an unavoidable benefit of all peoples, even those who today blame the West for everything. After all, whatever one may say, not only immigrants, but even prisoners, acquire documents (legal documents, etc.) after being released, precisely because of these rights that they tried to violate...


The immigrant knows that from now on, apart from periodic visits to their homeland, there will be no final return to their native land. This, of course, is not a life catastrophe for an immigrant, but he realized that the myth of return had been dispelled, and he accepted it.

But for a long time he believed that his voluntary exile, life in a foreign land, would eventually end. But all ex-colonized people who settled into the host society considered themselves to be "exiles" to a certain extent, although they were voluntary. It was like an alibi that removed the guilt of leaving their homeland. After all, a man went abroad because of poverty, he could no longer bear to see his family starve, to which, while in exile, he would be able to send part of his earnings... And the immigrant believed that one day, one day, all his ordeal, all this situation separating him from his family, would end, although he did not know exactly how. But as time passed, a new life had already taken shape, even some new, pleasant moments appeared, no worse than the previous ones, and this other life also began to seem real. It turned out that life in a foreign land is not always a misfortune.

Although some, of course, like plants transplanted into another soil, withered, died, but some took root, adapted and lived a different life. And the return to the homeland gradually turned into a distant dream, became something vague, disembodied, ghostly. Although there was, of course, nostalgia for the motherland, which, like everyone else, is easier to love from a distance. And even sometimes he felt this homeland better "in himself" than before, when he lived on his own land.

An immigrant will always consider his native country more beautiful and softer, warmer and more welcoming than the one in which he has lived for a long time, where both morals and people are not at all the same... And he will convince himself that he will return to the place where he once left.

But even if his home country hasn't changed since he can remember it, he's changed without even noticing it. There was a relaxation of the laws of the host country, and his wife was allowed to come to him. The immigrant is no longer the same lonely man who wandered around the Rue Barbes in the Montmartre district, not knowing what to do with himself, or went to his room, which he shared with a friend. Those who have never known what loneliness is in exile, in life in a foreign country, can not feel the taste of bitterness and the feeling of uselessness of such poor people as immigrants who lived in Europe for a long time as bachelors. And when the new legislation allowed them to be reunited with their families, they got rid of their melancholy.

Of course, the host society, a foreign country is not a paradise, this is understandable, but after all, a job has been found here, a roof over your head, some social rights have been acquired that no one is going to take away from it, with the exception of a racist minority. An immigrant can enjoy free medical care, is cleanly dressed, now has a family, is married to a woman he has regained and thanks to whom he always has lunch in the house, and eats dishes that he has loved since childhood... He knows his way around the city, rides almost free of charge in public transport - they reimburse him for his trips or give him special coupons; his wife pays receipts for an apartment (partial payment of which is usually paid by the owner).-

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at work) and, meeting with their compatriots, gets useful information, also begins to navigate in the space of a new life... If an immigrant is unemployed, he receives unemployment benefits for a while until he finds a job; if he has lost his job (even an illegal one), he also receives benefits. He receives some money as a family allowance for his wife and children (according to their number!); he is paid for treatment in a regular hospital, even expenses are paid if he wants to divorce according to local legal norms. If an immigrant is a political refugee, they also receive benefits for this status. He can change his last name to another one if he wants... If they have any disagreements with the administration, they can request the services of a lawyer free of charge. After all, all the French use it, why not use it for him? After all, he is already the poorest...

And suddenly, one day, an immigrant realizes that he has lived here for more of his life than there, in his homeland. And in general, already "there" and "here" did not seem to be very significant. Even if he continues to go on vacation to his homeland, although much less often since his wife returned to him, he finds (although with some chagrin) that he is no longer so welcome there: while he lived in exile, he turned into a kind of stranger in his own country... The language in his homeland has changed, and he does not understand many words that correspond to new life situations and circumstances... And after a short visit to his native land, he already wants to go back to where he came from. So it lives in the space between two attachments to different lands. Or rather, distancing themselves from one and the other now...

And in general, if he managed to get out of poverty, save money, somehow manage to "get out" of all these humiliating professions that were offered to him at first, save up a little money and open a small cafe or shop, or maintain a garage, if he regularly pays taxes, then now he can be considered just a "native"."from the country that once sheltered him... Even if he does not participate in the elections yet, then this is not far off. There will also be times when he will treat his compatriots as foreigners.

If he is an intellectual, he will talk about "his roots," talk about "going back to your roots," and defend his "identity," without really specifying what it is. It is also true that in his home in France, he installed a parabolic antenna to watch programs from Arab countries... But it is also true that, paradoxically, he also likes to watch French channels, prefers some, does not like others, having a considerable choice...

The main thing that concerns him now is how to preserve his traditions without falling into fanaticism, so as not to become "depersonalized" at all, in order to pass them on to his children... But if he sometimes joins Muslim demonstrations, he tries not to participate in the extreme forms of their demonstrations. Islamic suicide bombers, whose desperation he may understand, also do not arouse his sympathy, because they distort the image of Islam around the world. In general, it seems to him that the society of "fraternal Muslim countries" is still very closed, surrounded by old fortress walls that can collapse at any moment...

Thus, one way or another, the immigrant already looks at the world around him through the prism of the values of freedom and democracy that were gradually instilled in him during his life in the West. Even in relation to a woman, he was different. And that takes more and more an example from the Europeans. ...He even joined the local trade union, which protects not only his professional rights, but also the main freedoms of this world... He's asking himself a lot of questions now. He condemns those "illegal immigrants" who, having arrived in the country and not having had time to do anything, already demand benefits, social payments, free medical care, etc.After all, he achieved his current position at a difficult price. He will look at these unfortunate emigrants who are rushing to the shores of Europe in their thousands as a "French Arab", i.e. a Frenchman with a Muslim religion, a citizen like everyone else... If others, of course, perceive him the same way, despite the accent, facial features and a special name for the local ear...

No, he's not going back, of course. He will grow old here and live like all the emigrants of the first wave, "Shibani", who long ago gave up the idea of returning to their homeland, although their relatives "pressed" them, asked them to come "at least to die among their own"... Immigrants still meet these old men wearing French berets on their heads, sitting in city gardens on the streets of the city. benches. They are like old slaves who were set free long ago, but they chose to remain among their masters.

The immigrant sees himself as a free man. Does he look like the same person who once left his country? Of course, there are more cathedrals and churches around, not mosques. Here the bells ring, not the muezzins sing. But he can pray to his god in clean prayer houses, expecting better things: isn't he promised to build real mosques next door in his neighborhood?.. But the main event in his life, which decisively turned everything upside down, was the birth of his children here, in a foreign land.

Translated from French by S. V. PROZHOGINA, Ph. D., Institute of Physics and Technology of the Russian Academy of Sciences

(The ending follows)


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