Arab Commission for Human Rights
5, rue Gambetta
92240-Malakoff- France
Tel 0033140921588 Fax 0033146541913

e. mail

International NGO in special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations




What is ACHR






Guest Book




  Age of Expatriation

Violette Daguerre


While the world population increases with 8000 new babies born every hour, water and food resources decrease progressively, principally in the poor countries. 1/6th of the world population suffers from mal nutrition; 16 million of extremely poor cases live in the United States of America; 18000 kids die every day because of famine, most of them are from the undeveloped world. In such conditions, the young generations of southern countries are urged to immigrate towards the north in order to uphold their food and income. They take the risk of confronting a dangerous unknown future including the possibilities of losing their lives on the death boats.


With failure to develop, Southern countries do not only expel their citizens but have also become a stage for stealing resources, through the mutual efforts of the internal corruption and the external domination. Arab countries are the best example: they have the capacity to include the triple size of the present population if the enormous oil, minerals and agricultural resources were divided properly, in case they are convinced to win the battle of democracy.


The Northern countries absorbed the wealth of the Southern countries including the human resources, when the young labors were needed to build the architectural and demographic structure. But since the Northern borders were closed, more and more strict laws were established against those immigrants, in order to get rid of them, or rather to choose the needed specialists, whom these governments did not endure any expenses for their education. Therefore, obtaining legal documents of residency became not sufficient for our young generations to avoid humiliation, destitution and starvation in a world, which is expected to be a universal village throughout the age of globalization and the revolution of communication.


I would like to confirm my appreciation to our young generation’s dreams about immigrating to the expanded paradise to establish a flourishing future, as I once did when I left my burning country due to 15 years of civil wars. Still, I want to tell them that the paradise is not as spacious as they imagine. On the contrary, the countries of the north are wrapped up with lots of violence and aggressiveness between humans. It is not true to believe that those who own high technological capacity should obtain openness, good manners and critical ideology to others.


During crisis, the fear of the future creates various reactions worldwide, such as, self- seclusion, stiff mentality, suspicion and the establishment of new laws under different testimonies to guarantee a distant safe space from the others.


I think that all immigrants pass through psychological, physiological, biological, social, educational, economical and political changes, whether they were self-immigrants or deported. Expatriation is to be absent for the time being and present in the distant past. However, to be expelled means a maximum degree of estrangement for those who were forced to immigrate because of the despotic regimes.


Only immigrants understand the problematic experience of expatriation. It is a rich and nourishing experience for those who obtain support to benefit from the ample scopes, educational and new cultural exploration. At the same time, it is a difficult and complicated experience on the psychological side, particularly, when the receiving country does not provide the minimum provisions for the immigrant to live with dignity. The deported immigrant for political reasons suffers to adapt a new citizenship in exile and the regular immigrant for economical reason refuses misery and poverty.


 At the beginning of the expatriation journey, the immigrant often passes through victorious feelings for achieving an important step toward his goal. The dream country becomes true, the imaginary vision about it turns to be reality and the expected aspirations are at hand. The celebrity in the new country hides the sorrows about what was left behind; it might be a sort of escape into the future to conceal the worries of the unknown upcoming and the bitter trauma of elimination from the roots. Also, the festivity can be an interpretation of mourning after leaving the family and the childhood stage, and a recall of memories that had formed an important part of his character and his self-image. 

The feeling of loosing the place does not necessarily match the real time of distance. Pretty soon, the promised paradise turns to be a nightmare and the imagination would return instead to the original country with its blue sky, warm weather, aromatic plants and tasty food.

Materialistic objects often embody psychological scopes, which contain important symbolic references. Thus, land incorporates with the mother, the ‘ego’ intermingles with ‘us’, the desire for the past and the yearning for childhood intensifies. These are self-defensive elements with security significance that turn down or eliminate the sour pain.


In all cases, immigrants pass through various stages, where the beginning of the journey differs from its later steps. Also, the personal attitudes vary between self-neglect, a refusal for the surrounding society with a severe self-seclusion and extreme yearning to the country of origin, and the contrary attitude, which implies an urged effort to assimilate with the new atmosphere. The contrary attitude, tries to adopt the new devices and conductions and reject the old resources and all what is related to them completely, to the extent of becoming alienated from the self. More often the higher percentages of immigrants are situated between these two edges with a pragmatic assembling of the old and new cultural aspects together.



This combination is called ‘intercultural’ assembling. The specialists, who studied the ‘intercultural’ cases, noticed that complaining of various real or false physical pains is the most common symptom of this phenomenon. With the restrictions of the social circle or language difficulties, the body expresses what cannot be expressed in words, like the disordered sleeping and diet habits, or unsettled sexual and social relations beside depression, which is a main issue in this context. Usually, these disturbances occur at the beginning of the adaptation with the new atmosphere but they might reappear after years, especially when the immigrant feels that he will never establish his own place in the welcoming country.


 The phenomenon impact would be more clarified within the family, the vessel that would receive the different expression and, which might increase the tension instead of absorbing and understanding the case. Family is a cell composed of different individuals, where each one dwells his own crises without necessarily being able to endure extra more. As this cell might be the safest shelter, it could split or explode creating an imbalance within its content, mainly between the wife and husband, who are joined by special relations.


Children witness the problems and anguish of their family’s experience even later on and without being present. The suffering is transferred unconsciously to the following generation yet throughout the unspoken terms and hidden secrets.


The child might be an additional reason for compiling more difficulties that the parents are supposed to face. With age progression, the children and their parents might develop a distant relationship, besides, a refusal and rebellion during adolescence period, especially when the parents don’t recognize their image reflected in their kids. The parents are affected by the concepts of their own background, mentality and values, which might not fit in the new atmosphere. Therefore, they feel that they lost their bets about their children, who were supposed to supplement their suffering. 


The absence of the bigger family, uncles, aunts, grandparents and other relatives, will not permit the individuals in the small cell, mainly the kids, to lean on such surrounding, which substitute the lost care and affections. In addition, this condition does not allow them to have a secured identity with extended roots. Children need to breathe outside the small cell, especially during the family crises, and not to become prisoners of the dispute; otherwise, hard problems might emerge later on without knowing the relative real reasons.


While expatriation implies doubts and questions about parenthood, brotherhood and the problematic belonging, it also submits arguments about betrayal, abandonment and deceiving.


The immigrant might be surprised at his image among his relatives. If he returns once to visit them, he will discover how much foreign he became, and sometimes, not acceptable. A number of feelings urge the relatives to set up comparisons, which he might not tolerate. In spite of all the welcoming festivities, they feel that he left them behind. On the other hand, the relatives don’t know how to deal with him after he changed because they do not understand the modifications of the ‘intercultural’ process. They can not comprehend that the new surrounding affected him greatly. As a result, their need for a higher value or a worshiped statue might lead them to destroy his image soon. They might also refuse his return, as if he became a stranger, as if he is demanded to clarify his real belonging, here or there, because he cannot belong to both atmospheres. 


Hostility might show more clearly among his old friends, especially if they are deprived of rights that he enjoys in a country which respects his civil rights more than his mother land.


The immigrant faces questions that he used to ignore or not answer before visiting the country of origin. The violent moment of returning, with all its implied affection, might shake the personal basis. As if there has been a need for a dream and ideality, but the discovery of the reality destroys the dream’s hallow and the ideal’ sacrosanct.  


The immigrant may discover that he did not abandon his people, but they renounced him and refused to justify his feelings of guilt toward them during his absence. They spoil what he had left behind and he had hopes to find it, so he feels that they have buried him personally. So, they are not a part of him anymore but a threatening side, which does not reflect his image in the mirror.


Still, the idea of the final return to the country of origin has a positive significance to the immigrant, mainly by the late stages of his age when the negative health signs emerge. Old age in the country of expatriation is complicated due to the essential needs of the immigrant, such as the necessary demands for living, physiological needs, health needs, social needs (friendship and family), self-establishment needs and independence.


In the age of fluctuation between the past, the present and the awaited future that may not belong to either, the question is: what is the percentage of immigrants who would accomplish the idea of returning back home before death unexpectedly happens? Even though the returning issue continues to flow during the whole time of expatriation, maybe until the last month before death, a very little percentage of immigrants do return. In the case of a pragmatic question about the percentage of wining and losing, the outcome is almost zero.


When the opposite immigration is not available to the Arab countries, which are still expelling more than attracting their citizens, do I need to name this country as Iraq, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Tunisia, Libya, Algeria or Morocco? Or, I can stop from recalling more unmentioned countries.


Unfortunately, without a revision to specify the economical and social choices, without the enhancement of the people’s capacities, without resolving the crises as a result of the dominating powers by tanks and the American dollar, without liberation from the western control, without application of democracy, freedom and respect of human rights, without the real assistance of the Arab citizens to build and develop the human civilization, more long centuries would pass before the expelling environment turns into a appealing one. :   zaman alghurba

Translated by Majd Shara







C.A. DROITS HUMAINS -5 Rue Gambetta - 92240 Malakoff - France

Phone: (33-1) 4092-1588  * Fax:  (33-1) 4654-1913  *



Health Work Committees statement regarding the humanitarian situation in Gaza:     HWC

The Israeli occupation army has been bombarding Gaza for 4 days. In addition, the Israeli occupation .more


new article

New Orleans: Citizen Testimony

new reports

Report of the Tunisia Monitoring Group on the eve of WSIS Tunis 2005

A Report about the Positions of the Refugees in the Camps at the Iraqi-Jordanian Borders


New book

Haytham Manna……Human Rights and Humanitarian action in the Arab World

First Edition 2006

Democracy and Human Rights in Syria