We are all immigrants, don’t be ashamed. We all came from different lands and mountains. We established civilizations across our borders and we moved beyond oceans to discover the unknown.

We are all immigrants, don’t be ashamed. It’s in our nature to wander, to move and to walk across wide lands and limitless borders. Deep down the oceans, where ancient ships sleep, you can see it yourself. Every part of the ship would tell you a story of a human, who was looking for new discoveries and new opportunities.

My country Tunisia is 3000 years old; it has witnessed the movement of Amazigh tribes through its lands and the coming of the Romans through boats from across the Mediterranean. The Phoenicians, who came from the east, built Carthage and the Arabs coming for the Middle East established the city of Kairouan. After the desolation of the Al-Andalus in Spain, thousands of people moved to settle here and for hundred years, the Turks ruled these lands. Down the streets, you can see all the details; a Synagogue in Jerba Island, a Cathedral in downtown Tunis and a Mosque in Kairouan. All these people immigrated to this land and each one of them left their own mark to create a civilization of diversity.

Human movements are an act of development. To emigrate from one place to another is a historical course; it’s something that’s bound to happen. We are an accumulation of history and our DNA is the map not only to who we are, but also an evidence that we are all immigrants.

People might move from their lands looking for better life conditions or running from an oppression. However, regardless of the reasons, migration is not a crime, and it doesn’t mean being illegal. We are all inhabitants of the world and any place on earth is home. No one should feel ashamed or uprooted when they immigrate to another place. Immigrants are humans, who were willing or obliged to leave their homes, looking for safety or opportunities. When you see an immigrant, see yourself in them. One day, you might end up in their shoes.

And remember that back in the days millions of people emigrated from their lands, leaving their homes behind, traveling to the new free world looking for new life and running from wars, oppression and devastation. Remember that in some parts of the world, people are running now from the same things and they are so in need of your understanding and compassion. Remember that your ancestors were lucky enough to find safety and acceptance so don’t hold back and show these people that you care.

Borders do not limit us because in reality we all came from different parts of the world. We might be sitting in the safety of our homes; however, we all emigrated from some place. Inside our blood runs the history of humanity. We might be anyone and our ancestors might be descendants from any part of the world. Therefore, we don’t belong to one place but, we belong to everywhere.

When someone calls you an immigrant don’t feel offended or insulted, because we are all immigrants.

Imen Al-Nighaoui
Translator | Writer | Human Rights Activist


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