Friday, December 18, 2009


Today 18 of December is the International Day of Migrants and the New Hegri year. Today, I am thinking of the migrants and their status in the world and I recall the story of the greatest migrant, Prophet Mohammed ( PBUH). As many other migrants, he migrated from his homeland Mekka to Yuthreb( Medina), after suffering from the persecution.
These ideas touched me not only as Human Rights activist, but as a person belonging to Internally displaced population and a former migrant.
I am Nubian, descending from the south of Egypt and northern Sudan. My community suffered as many other African communities from the borders determined by the colonizers, Nubians were divided to Egyptians in the north and Sudanese in the south.
The sad story of Nubians does not stop here, however after the independence of Egypt and due to the developmental projects, Nubians were displaced from their historical land to Komopo valley. The tragedy is not only that the human population was not the priority, but the economic project is the main priority. the tragedy is in the aftermath of the displacement. The social, economic and political consequences were negative and they are persistent till now.
The Nubian case is a clear case that the Internally displaced persons IDP need protection under the auspices of international law. Although there is trial in the UN to fill in the gap of the absence of a binding treaty protecting the IDP, however the International community needs to exert more effort.
This is part of my story as the second generation of IDP population, the second part of my story was in Europe, in 2006 and 2007. I was studying in the University of Malta and University of Ghent. Before traveling I was afraid from all the rumors of racial discrimination against Arabs and Black people in Europe, however I was courageous enough to examine the situation myself and to build my point of view on my own experience.
In Malta the lovely Mediterranean island, I witnessed the dialogue in Europe about the illegal migration. I heard the racist calls to kill and deport all the illegal migrants and the calls to remember the Maltese historical role as the peaceful land welcoming the suffering migrants. I remember the talk of the Dean of Faculty of Law in Human Rights Day festival, he said Malta was always the small boat rescuing the migrants . also I remember the immigration office , the ugliest place in Malta, where people are classified according to their origins and skin color. I remember my anger when the immigration office delayed my visa for almost a month , although all my WHITE colleagues had it instantly from the first visit. I remember the support of MY Maltese friends especially Maria and Elaine, and their idea to write a petition to the police commissioner. I remember my anger speech to the police officer in the immigration officer and her smile to me saying " Good Morning", her nice gesture turned my mood, I felt that I might find kind souls in this ugly place.
Finally, I want to say that migrants, whether they are refugees or Internally Displaced persons or economic migrants are a very vulnerable group, they suffer from discrimination and exploitation. We need to highlight their suffering and try to alleviate their pain.
Please Listen to Radio 1812, a global initiative celebrating the International Migrants Day :
and the Arab version of Radio 1812, where I participated on :


Anonymous said...

Thank you Fatma for having the courage and conviction to be outspoken. Nancy

Free your mind said...

It is a great post ya Fatma I think you also could write much more than what you wrote in this post.
I really enjoyed our Migrants day meeting and chat :)

Leila said...

In addition to the discrimination that most of the immigrants from so called third world face, leaving their country and family (voluntarily or non-voluntarily) is the main trauma of their lives. I think nobody is willing to leave her/his country unless she/he is, somehow, forced to do that.

Kaoutar said...

Good job establishing the link between the Hijra of the Prophet (PBUH) and other forms of migration ... shared point include the vulnerability of migrants, their sufferings, discrimination from some people, support from others...

Now I would be interested to read a subsequent post about migrants who not only had the courage to leave their lands and face new worlds (although they are sometimes forced to do so), but also had enough strength, endurance and determination to succeed in their host regions/countries. I'm sure you can write beautifully about this :)

Keep up the good job!

nilekid said...

Great post. I like the connection you drew between the Prophet's (PBUH) Hijra and immigrants. It made me think of the term "Refugee".
However, I think your suggested solution to the IDP isn't going to be that effective. The UN gets little respect from governments which would cause a situation like the one Nasser created for the Nubian people.
Lastly, I wouldn't blame the British so much for the division of the Nubian community between Egypt & Sudan. Nasser was also responsible for that as Sudan was always united with Egypt as one.