Weekend Roundup: ‘The Wretched of the Earth’ Are on the Move as Migrants


Nathan Gardels is the editor-in-chief of Noema Magazine.

The wretched of the earth,” in Frantz Fanon’s famous phrase, are on the move as migrants. Mostly, they have headed north across scorching deserts and menacing seas to follow their dreams of escaping poverty and finding a better life. As the writer Carlos Monsivais once quipped, “Los Angeles is the heart of the Mexican Dream.”

Now, as we see at both the U.S. border and European shores, migrants are also fleeing north in the rusty holds of doomed ships from Libya or the “La Bestia” death train from Central America to evade the nightmares of civil war, brutal Salvadoran street gangs or merciless Mexican drug cartels.

Military action against human traffickers and beefed up humanitarian rescue operations are the urgent order of the day. And, yes, a history of colonial oppression, the unintended consequences of recent Western interventions and, in the case of the Americas, insatiable demand for drugs, bear responsibility. But in the end, bad governance in the migrants’ countries of origin is the chief culprit.

Governance is destiny. It determines whether a society goes forward or backward. China rebounded from the opium trade and colonial occupation, created order and stability and lifted hundreds of millions out of poverty. Singapore wasn’t even a country 50 years ago but managed to vault from the Third to the First World by smartly governing itself. Rwanda has recovered from the wounds of genocide and is a beacon of progress. All have succeeded by taking charge of their own fates, not blaming others or relying on the kindness of strangers.

Writing from Italy, Deborah Dirani says the choice of many desperate migrants, such as the hundreds who drowned tragically this week in the Mediterranean, is “whether to die at home, for certain; or to take to the sea and maybe die, or maybe live.” Katerina Prifti of HuffPost Greece examines what is behind the surge of migrants. MIT’s John Tirman links the European and American immigration crises to their global “neoliberal policies” and argues that “until the first world policies change, the third world will keep coming, at all costs.” Senior World Editor Eline Gordts and Associate World Editor Nick Robins-Early document the Mediterranean migrant crisis in photos, take a comprehensive look at “what’s being done, and why it’s not enough,” and invite us to meet one activist campaigning for a solution. Associate World Editor Charlotte Alfred reports on Italian investigations into migrant smugglers. From Fusion this week, we meet Ruben Figueroa, the man who tracks the digital footprints of missing Central American migrants. In brief video takes from the Global Citizen project, Katherine Keating discusses the UN Millennium Development Goals with Rwandan President Paul Kagame, Muhammad Yunus and others.

In this week’s “Forgotten Fact,” we turn to Ukraine, where the conflict is taking one of the hardest tolls on the elderly.

Writing from Berlin, German parliamentarian Philipp Mißfelder notes Chinese President Xi Jinping’s inaugural launch of “The New Silk Road” with a $45 billion investment in infrastructure in Pakistan. Former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd spells out in detail how to break the “mutual assured misperception” between the U.S. and China. Hugh White worries that “America’s China consensus” is breaking down into two camps, one favoring “containment” and the other “engagement.” Prominent Chinese strategist Yan Xuetong writes from Beijing that the world order ahead will not be multipolar, but “bipolar” with the U.S. and China as the major powers. Writing from Tokyo as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe prepares to visit the U.S., former defense chief Yuriko Koike says a world run by Chinese rules would never allow a competitive power to rise, as the U.S. has done with respect to China.

WorldPost China Correspondent Matt Sheehan reports this week that measures to curb pollution in Beijing are bearing fruit as the air is beginning to clear. He also reports on how the Ticwear startup, which provides the operating system for the Mobovi smartwatch — and whose engineers were mostly trained at U.S. universities or in Silicon Valley — is gearing up to challenge Apple and Google.

Also writing from Beijing, Fu Ying, chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Peoples Congress, calls on China’s think tanks to “reach out and connect” both with the Chinese public to explain policy and with other think tanks around the world.

From Istanbul, WorldPost Middle East Correspondent Sophia Jones examines the historical facts of the Armenian genocide at the end of the Ottoman Empire 100 years ago and talks to descendants whose families were scarred by those events. From Berlin, Ayaan Hirsi Ali defends “the right to offend” and says that, in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo murders, free speech is becoming a privilege in Europe “available only to those with armed security.” Harrison Akins says Jews and Muslims must work together to combat “the new anti-Semitism” in Europe. Philosopher John Milbank writes from England that the “negative freedom” of liberalism that protects free markets and individual liberty has undone the positive values of community. Ian Morris looks at the evolution of values and why they are so varied. Both Jeffrey Sachs and Richard Davidson evaluate the results of the 2015 World Happiness Report.

Essayist Pico Iyer reflects on the similarities between the labyrinthian qualities of Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi’s movies and the nuclear negotiations with Iran’s diplomats. Peering through the prism of the Yemen civil war, former CIA analyst Graham Fuller sees a power shift underway in the Mideast toward the non-Arab states of Iran, Turkey and Pakistan. The WorldPost also speaks to scholar Aaron Zelin about Al Qaeda’s evolution since the rise of the Islamic State group.

NextGen Scientist host Aaron Pomerantz reports on the pulsating glow worms and other bioluminescent creatures he’s found in the Peruvian rainforest. WorldPost Associate Editor Peter Mellgard looks at tissue engineering and 3-D-printed organs that are coming soon to healthcare. Writing from Rome, Alberto Heimler contrasts America’s embrace of innovations like Uber with the resistance in Europe. Our Singularity University series this week explains why startups like Uber, Airbnb and SpaceX are successful.

In “Other Entrepreneurs” this week, we highlight inspiring Polish women entrepreneurs whose products are taking the world by storm. In other photo posts, we capture the marvelous panoramas of Ethiopia, celebrate Earth Day with 10 gorgeous photos from rainforests and look at how the Armenian genocide was remembered around the world.


EDITORS: Nathan Gardels, Senior Advisor to the Berggruen Institute on Governance and the long-time editor of NPQ and the Global Viewpoint Network of the Los Angeles Times Syndicate/Tribune Media, is the Editor-in-Chief of The WorldPost. Farah Mohamed is the Managing Editor of The WorldPost. Kathleen Miles is the Senior Editor of the WorldPost. Alex Gardels and Peter Mellgard are the Associate Editors of The WorldPost. Katie Nelson is the National Editor at the Huffington Post, overseeing The WorldPost and HuffPost’s editorial coverage. Eline Gordts is HuffPost’s Senior World Editor. Charlotte Alfred and Nick Robins-Early are Associate World Editors.

CORRESPONDENTS: Sophia Jones in Istanbul; Matt Sheehan in Beijing.

EDITORIAL BOARD: Nicolas Berggruen, Nathan Gardels, Arianna Huffington, Eric Schmidt (Google Inc.), Pierre Omidyar (First Look Media) Juan Luis Cebrian (El Pais/PRISA), Walter Isaacson (Aspen Institute/TIME-CNN), John Elkann (Corriere della Sera, La Stampa), Wadah Khanfar (Al Jazeera), Dileep Padgaonkar (Times of India) and Yoichi Funabashi (Asahi Shimbun).

CONTRIBUTING EDITORS: Moises Naim (former editor of Foreign Policy), Nayan Chanda (Yale/Global; Far Eastern Economic Review) and Katherine Keating (One-On-One). Sergio Munoz Bata and Parag Khanna are Contributing Editors-At-Large.

The Asia Society and its ChinaFile, edited by Orville Schell, is our primary partner on Asia coverage. Eric X. Li and the Chunqiu Institute/Fudan University in Shanghai and Guancha.cn also provide first person voices from China. We also draw on the content of China Digital Times. Seung-yoon Lee is The WorldPost link in South Korea.

Jared Cohen of Google Ideas provides regular commentary from young thinkers, leaders and activists around the globe. Bruce Mau provides regular columns from MassiveChangeNetwork.com on the “whole mind” way of thinking. Patrick Soon-Shiong is Contributing Editor for Health and Medicine.

ADVISORY COUNCIL: Members of the Berggruen Institute’s 21st Century Council and Council for the Future of Europe serve as the Advisory Council — as well as regular contributors — to the site. These include, Jacques Attali, Shaukat Aziz, Gordon Brown, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Juan Luis Cebrian, Jack Dorsey, Mohamed El-Erian, Francis Fukuyama, Felipe Gonzalez, John Gray, Reid Hoffman, Fred Hu, Mo Ibrahim, Alexei Kudrin, Pascal Lamy, Kishore Mahbubani, Alain Minc, Dambisa Moyo, Laura Tyson, Elon Musk, Pierre Omidyar, Raghuram Rajan, Nouriel Roubini, Nicolas Sarkozy, Eric Schmidt, Gerhard Schroeder, Peter Schwartz, Amartya Sen, Jeff Skoll, Michael Spence, Joe Stiglitz, Larry Summers, Wu Jianmin, George Yeo, Fareed Zakaria, Ernesto Zedillo, Ahmed Zewail, and Zheng Bijian.

From the Europe group, these include: Marek Belka, Tony Blair, Jacques Delors, Niall Ferguson, Anthony Giddens, Otmar Issing, Mario Monti, Robert Mundell, Peter Sutherland and Guy Verhofstadt.


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