Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Why we flee (for real, this time)

My apologies for the login problems. I don't know what's Google's done, but obviously something has not been working right. Also, this post is still a bit misnamed because I focus on the validity of people wanting to move to another country more than their actual reasoning. I'll never get this naming thing right.

Yesterday's post created some responses which I have to confess caught me off guard. They were thoughtful enough that I felt they deserved a response in a full post rather than something buried in the comments. For example:
What I found a little peculiar was the comment in the post: "You do have to be willing to compromise. Many would turn down a job in Lima, Peru because they want Paris instead. I can't help you there."- which does rather sound like "I don't care where I go, as long as it's out of this country". Now, I can understand that approach if you are talking about a year abroad, some experience, or similar, but to actually emigrate properly, I find that a tad on the irresponsible side.
"Half and Half" revisited
Montevideo Beach
Photo by Vince Alongi
Mea culpa. I really should have explained myself better.  I agree that to try to permanently move somewhere with little thought as to the destination can be irresponsible. That being said, I don't particularly concern myself with where people want to go or why. I'm more concerned with helping people realizing their dreams because I think opening up our world is important. As a result, the reason for the "Lima/Paris" comment is simple: there are plenty of absolutely fantastic places out there and I think many people simply don't know about them. For example, I did a write-up (a couple, actually) on Uruguay because I thought people should know that the world is round and that maybe, just maybe, they might enjoy life on a beach near Montevideo. That's also why I try to move around the world in topics I pick and many of the photo collections posted here cover areas which aren't tourist destinations. It makes this blog a bit harder to put together, but I think it's important.

While I agreed with the above point, this one I struggled with (my apologies to whiskeylover for picking two of his comments to illustrate this):
I should probably add that I have only been to NY twice, briefly, on holiday, so don't have that much insight into the American way of life, but it does not strike me as so dreadful that one has to leave, irrespective of which country one might end up in (unlike, say, if you were a Jew in Germany in the late 1930s).
First off, I can't say I know of any Americans who are going to claim that they have it worse than, say, someone facing the death penalty for leaving their religion. However, just because someone isn't as bad off as someone else shouldn't invalidate their dreams of seeing the world, nor does it mean they're less worthy of this right. It does mean they probably shouldn't be trying to claim political asylum or deny those who need it that escape, but if they can find a way to make it out on their own and see what else the planet has to offer, I'm behind them completely.

The reality is, if you decide you want to leave your home country, whether it be the pull of adventure of the push of repeatedly being assaulted both physically and verbally because you're not a Christian (that's only a part of my motivation, to be honest), sure it's not as bad as others have it, but it's that bad for you and as long as you're not hurting anyone else, it's perfectly OK to want to go, even if you're not facing prison, death, or some other terrible privation. In fact, even if it doesn't seem rational to others, that's OK. Some of my late grandmother's art seemed far from rational, but who was I to begrudge her?
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