Suddenly one day, both the countries get into a tussle. There are blame games and before you know it, you are an enemy alien. You have a factory on lease and you have contracts for supplies. You are no longer permitted to trade in the country as decided by the merchants’ guild. Your dealers decide not to sell your products further. You cut your losses and you withdraw your franchises. The suppliers and exclusive dealers who had taken delivery immediately before the turmoil are now unable to market an entire shipment of goods and face a loss of millions.
What do you think is the problem here?
Now imagine, you have sent your daughter to study in a country called Booland. The government of Booland is slowly heading towards a highly conservative regime closing itself down to immigration. Now, she has completed her course there and is doing well as a consultant and is hoping to open a startup soon with her friends. Suddenly, the trade federation, in accordance with the country’s policies decides to strictly prohibit companies from hiring immigrants further and takes deterrent measures against those having immigrants in their workforce. The company decides to let go of your daughter. Her degree is in hospitality management which has little scope for exploration back in her country. She is immediately deported after her dismissal and now is frustrated and depressed because of her situation. She learns that the situation is because of a refugee crisis. She is extremely angry because she is not a refugee migrant but she faced the brunt anyway.
What do you think is the problem here?Again imagine a narcissist buffoon somehow wins the election in the Highly Developed Country (HDC). As per his policies, immigration is discouraged for Bikhs. You have the dream of making it big in the world of Anthropology. You hail from a land of diversity. You are practically raised in an Anthropological laboratory. However, in order to make yourself known to the world, you need to have a better institutional affiliation. You try your best and make it to the most reputed university of your nation but you know it is not enough. Teaching anthropology is not your aim in life. You want an institute with deeper pockets to enable a better scope for exploration of the subject. Now, the government of HDC decides to ban Bikhs. Booland, another developed English speaking country has also closed its doors to immigrants. You are incidentally a Bikh by birth. You love the culture and diversity in your country. But to proceed with your ambition, you need a bigger stage. You do not know any Occidental language other than English. You could have made it big with your excellence. But somehow, your identity is a hindrance.
What do you think is the problem here?Suppose you are a master craftsman in Jasmeer which is caught in a political turmoil. You know your art will be remarkably appreciated elsewhere. But you have ailing parents and a fatherless child and little money. You are forced to work under constrained economic conditions and your products are bought at cheap rates by the traders of the neighbouring states fighting over the occupation of Jasmeer. You know they sell at sky-high rates in the market as authentic Jasmeeri works but you are not in a position to bargain or even ask for higher prices lest the traders should buy their goods from somebody else. In the political turmoil, it is with great luck that you are even selling your products without being extorted by the secessionist radicals. You are frustrated and unable to make ends meet. Your son watches you toil every day and one day decides to join a terror outfit to earn some money for the family. They are the only ones offering jobs to under-aged children and are paying well. You are scared for him but his income keeps your family afloat.
Who do you think is the greatest problem here?In the first situation, the biggest problem is market dilution. In taking away a competent player, the other players in the market, who gladly mandated his banishment, are able to do away with competition. Thus, the losers are the consumers. In the second instant, the greatest problem is the market restriction. In order to prevent the influx of refugees, Booland is taking a restrictive and closed approach towards its immigration policies. As a result, the diversity that promotes competition and hence growth in its human resource markets is lost reducing the impetus for the growth of its economy. In the third situation, the greatest problem is communal identification. The HDC in adopting a ban on a particular community also creates a barrier for growth amongst people in those communities. Moreover, with great power, comes a great responsibility. When your resources are built on the business and scholarly acumen of diverse communities, you cannot arbitrarily close your doors towards a particular group. By doing so, you are also cutting yourself off from a huge pool of talent hindered due to lack of support. This is a loss for both the parties involved. In the fourth situation, clearly, the political situation and lack of support from the government is creating poverty and driving people towards radicalism.
If you think there is a common answer to all these problems, there is not. At least there is not a satisfactory answer to every one of the situations. Each situation is different. But the common thread to all of them is that everywhere people are being disadvantaged due to their nationalities and identities. In all of these cases, people unrelated to the national affairs are affected in the name of nationalism. Talents are unrewarded due to their position amidst cross-nation political showdowns or restrictive national policies. We are all born on a planet created due to universal forces and there is little that we can regard as truly our own. When we restrict our policies based on nationality, we are in essence promoting an arbitrary standard of solidarity over the universal nature of humanity.
Our solidarities are multifold, each having different places in our lives. Forcing somebody to choose one over the other is absurd. Shaming a person over national sentiments is also absurd. It is quite like shaming one for not believing in the tales of another. It is most similar to religious people condemning atheists for their beliefs. You are not bound to place certain notions over others in your mind. Your sensibilities decide your choices. As long as you are remaining legally dutiful, you should not be punished for your choices. Our minds are terrible masters. They drive people towards new realizations every day. While certain things are common knowledge, you can never understand what perspective has led another to come to a conclusion different from your own. This is why hearts are so difficult to control and people are carried to wars for reasons ever so benign.
Written by Sayantani Saha
Writer, dreamer of world exploration and lover of high fantasy