The Odyssey Project
We are all migrants
We are all migrants. Migration is consubstantial with humanity. Today, there are millions of migrants all over our planet. For many reasons: economic, cultural, social, safety... We (the initiators of this project) are ourselves migrants. The most vulnerable amongst the migrant population are the refugees, meaning people “in flight, who seek to escape conditions or personal circumstances found to be intolerable”(1).
These past years, millions have crossed the Mediterranean fleeing conflict and violence in their home countries. Some dance upon arrival on Greek or Italian beaches, erroneously thinking they have arrived at the end of their journey. The harsh reality is that their journeys have just started. The survivors will need all their strength to avoid depression and to survive in the face of the other alternatives presented by Europe's current policies applied to the current crisis: “death or madness”(2).
At The Odyssey Project, we believe that storytelling is a powerful antidote to xenophobia (literally, the fear of strangers): how can one be scared of people upon knowing their stories and realizing how similar we all are?
And let’s be practical: Europe in its entirety is affected by a financial, economic and social crisis. Instead of wondering what we could do for refugees, let’s start thinking of what contributions they are in a position to bring to our societies. The people who reached Europe are often the strongest and smartest of the exodus. They can help create a richer social fabric in our societies thus avoiding further fragmentation and isolation. They enhance us by bringing new skills and cultures to our countries and communities. Many have started successful initiatives in a variety of locations, thereby empowering themselves. Instead of focusing on the negative side of the story, let's share the news of these amazing and exemplary contributions!
We strongly believe that refugees are not a crowd, a “sea”, a category to be treated "en masse". They are humans and individuals. They are our brothers and sisters. They have faces. They have stories. In more and more places in the world, they are empowering themselves. That is their odyssey. It is also our one.
- The refugee in international law, Guy S. Goodwin-Gill and Jane McAdam, Third Edition
- En Europe, opposer l’hospitalité au cynisme, Mediapart Blog of Mickaël Neuman, 21 June 2016