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Material and immaterial borders - Crossing to survive or to thrive?

Every day, many people seeking asylum cross the Mediterranean, facing dangerous journeys and obstacles in their quest for safety and a better life. Despite the European Union's claims of welcoming migrants, it has adopted deterrent policies for migration and asylum, particularly from third countries that are facing crises.

On December 16, we marked International Migrant Day and the World Day for the Arabic Language with an event that included a screening of the movie "The Swimmers," followed by a discussion about migration and the challenges faced by migrants and refugees. The movie tells the story of two Syrian sisters who embark on a dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, seeking refuge in Europe.

The attendees, who were a diverse group including migrants and refugees from Syria and other Arab countries, as well as people from Spain and other European countries working in the field, shared their reactions to the movie and how it impacted them.

Many felt that the film was a powerful window into the migration crisis, even if it was not an entirely accurate portrayal of real life. They also related to the scenes in which the ladies took off their head covers, as this represented the need for migrants and refugees to abandon some of their beliefs in order to fit in and feel integrated in their new society.

The attendees also had a lively discussion about the importance of seeing migration as an opportunity rather than a crisis. They emphasized the valuable skills and experiences that migrants bring with them, as well as the potential to create new job opportunities. In addition to these broader discussions, the attendees shared their own personal stories about their experiences as migrants or refugees.

It was a powerful and thought-provoking event that provided an opportunity for attendees to reflect on the challenges faced by migrants and refugees crossing the Mediterranean and to consider ways to move beyond seeing migration as a crisis to seeing it as an opportunity for potential and growth.

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