Alienation and assimilation Essay Example
Migration and Resettlement
I was born in Iraq. However, my family migrated to Australia between 1999 and 2000. My dad was the first one to move to Australia while my mother, my siblings and I completed the move to the country in 2000. My dad first moved to Australia in 1999. Since he did not any documents that could allow his relocation from Iraq to Australia, he sneaked into the country as an illegal immigrant via Indonesia. My dad first went to Indonesia and from there, together with other 300 people, they moved to Australia. This migration or rather illegal entry into Australia was aided by a smuggler who put them in a boat and sneaked them into Australia. After my dad moved to Australia, we escaped to Jordan where we stayed until my dad obtained a permanent Australia resident visa which could allow him to bring his family. He managed to obtain the permanent resident visa and in February 2000, we moved from Jordan to Australia. Immediately after arriving in Australia, I joined primary school. In 2002, we moved to a town called Shepparton in Victoria where my dad had been offered a farm job. Shepparton therefore became our permanent residence as a family.
There are a number of factors that shaped the migration and resettlement of my family from Iraq to Australia. They include war, poverty, lack of education, killings, kidnapping and a bleak future in Iraq. Iraq has been involved in war for a long time. The most notable wars that have occurred in Iraq include the great revolution in 1920. It started as a demonstration of Iraqis against British occupation of Iraq, and the war claimed between 6,000 and 10,000 soldiers, 4,000 civilians. The first Barzani revolt between 1931 and 1932 which claimed unknown number of military and civilian lives, the Anglo-Iraq war in 1941, it claimed lives of about 500 military men and unknown number of civilians. The second Barzani revolt took place from 1943 to 1945 and this was between Iraq, Barzani and Kurds, which resulted to unknown number of deaths and first Arab-Israel war between 1948 and 1949. Other notable wars include the first and second Kurdish-Iraq war between 1961 and 1970. Six day war in 1967, the Yom Kippur War in 1973, Iran-Iraq war between 1980 and 1988, Gulf War between 1990-1991, Sha’aban Intifada in 1991, Iraq Kurdish civil war between 1995 and 1996, Operation Desert Fox in 1998, Iraq war between 2003 and 2011 and Iraq insurgency from 2011 to the present (Crepeau et al., 23-79). These constant wars that have thousands of lives of both soldiers and civilians made my dad to consider the country as an unsafe place for his family. He therefore started plans to relocate to Australia which was safe.
Poverty in Iraq is also high in Iraq. Poverty is mainly caused by unemployment and constant wars that have ravaged the country for a long time. For instance, the US invasion in Iraq in 2003 destroyed the economy of the country and this led to rising levels of poverty. This is because most of the infrastructures in the country were destroyed leading to a downward development of the economy in the country. The earlier wars had the same effect on the economy. The high level of poverty made my dad to decide to move in search for a better life for his family. Education in Iraq is also poor. This is also attributed to the constant conflicts in the country. Many school going children stay at home because their parents fear for their lives. Parents fear that children may be attacked in the streets when going to school and therefore forbid their children from attending school. The constant wars, conflicts and violence have also made many teachers to flee the country because they fear for their lives. The high level of insecurity has affected education in the country, with most learning institutions remaining almost empty even closed due to high level of exodus from students and teachers. This has resulted to practically no education for children in the country. My father’s desire to educate his children was therefore another factor that made him to migrate to Australia. Killings have also been a constant presence in Iraq. Killings were mainly rampant during the reign of Saddam Hussein. Specific crimes that can have effect, for example, for one can be killed in Iraq if he/she is holding different religious beliefs, having dissenting views against the government. Some of the events that led to mass killings include the reprisal against Dujail where many were killed and the town razed to the ground, the Anfal campaign, chemical weapons against Kurds in 1987, the assault of Kuwait in 1990, and the Shiite uprising as well as the marsh Arabs. These killings were politically motivated. It is such killings that made my dad to fear for his family and therefore decided to relocate to Australia.
Kidnappings are also rampant in Iraq. These are done mainly by terrorists groups such as al-Qaeda. For a long time, people, especially children, have been kidnapped in the country. These children are normally kidnapped for financial reasons. Terrorists normally demand ransom for the kidnapped, with families forced to pay huge sums of money to get their children back. However, some of the children are killed even after their families pay ransom. Some kidnappers kidnap these children, kill them and sell their organs. Although these kidnappings are thought to be only financially motivated, some experts believe that there are political agendas behind some of the kidnappings. It is the fear of such an event happening to one of us that made my dad to feel that that it was safe if we relocated to another country. The general future of Iraq is very bleak. There is no hope to the end of the violence that ravaged the country for many decades. The economy has deteriorated so much and the poverty level has gone up. Inflation is also very high and there are no signs of it recovering soon. The hopeless situation in the country is also one of the factors that made my father to decide to migrate to Australia.
Alienation and assimilation
Despite feeling happy and safe because of moving from Iraq to Australia, as a family, we faced many challenges. The first big challenge was language barrier. We did not know any other language other than our native language we used in Iraq. This was the first source of alienation we experienced in Australia. Language barrier denied us the ability to socialize and interact with other children. There was also the issue of culture. Moving to Australia exposed us to a different cultural environment that we were not used to. In Australia, things were done very differently from the way we were used to back in Iraq. The way of life was very different and it was difficult for us. Our different cultural background made it hard for us to associate because we found some of the things that people did as weird. Similarly, some of the things that we did also looked weird to the native Australian people. The cultural difference made us to be alienated in the initial days. However, the process of assimilation started to take place. The first step of assimilation was learning of the local language. My young age was very instrumental to me because, at that young, I found it easy to associate and relate with children from other races. This made it easy for me to learn the language and associate. However, it was hard for my dad and mum who found it hard to associate freely with other grown-ups from Australia as well as learn their language. However, they also learned the language albeit slowly.
The second step was learning the way of life of the Australian people. This was a bit difficult on our part as a family because of the different religious background. Most of the Australian people are Christians and most of their way of live is based on Christian teachings and doctrines. On the other hand, we are Muslims and our way of live is based on Muslim teachings. However, we strove to adapt to their way of life while at the same tried to maintain our identity. This was hard especially to us children because our young age made it very easy for us to forget our identity and learn their identities of other people. However, since our parents were already grown-ups, they made apparent efforts that we keep our identity completely because; they kept reminding and teaching us constantly. We also maintained our religious believes by attending Muslims classes and religious sessions. This means that we learned a new of life while at the same time not forgetting our true selves. At the moment, our family has settled completely in our new environment and we have become part of the big Australian family. For me especially, Iraq is now just a distant memory. I think it is because I moved to Australia at a very young age and this made me forget easily where I came from.
My family’s migration is a reflection of national and global migration trends in the sense that it shares the same characteristics as other migration stories that that have ever happened around the world. One the characteristics they share are the reasons for migration. People around the world migrate for relatively the same reasons. Some of the common reasons people migrate to other countries or to other regions in a country include fleeing wars or conflicts, looking for better opportunities in other regions or countries, or looking for a better life for their families such as better education and other social amenities. A good example is the migration of people from different parts of the world to the United States. People migrate to the United States or any other part of the world considering that they believe the US or country of their destination offers good opportunities to them and their families in terms of jobs, education and advancing economically. Another example is fleeing of people from Somalia in Africa. People flee this country to countries such as Kenya because of the violence that has ravaged the country for many years.
Another similarity between my family’s story and other migration trends is the issue of cultural alienation and assimilation that take place after the migration process. According to Crepeau et al., people normally face problems integrating in other cultures after migration. This is particularly hard for those persons who come from those cultures that have so many differences. This leads to cultural alienation for most people who migrate to other. Apart from cultural alienation, there is also the issue of language alienation (p. 58). Language problem is another issue that affects so much people who migrate to other countries. This is especially so for people who use their native language as the national language. Examples are the Indian and the Chinese people. In China and India, people do not use English as one of their national languages. Such people find it hard if they relocate to places such as Britain or America where English is the main language. Such people are therefore forced to learn English first before they can learn their culture and way of life of the local people (Crepeau et al., 109). For such people, the acculturation process becomes so hard because of the inability to communicate which can help an individual to enquire from the local people.
In conclusion, my family migrated from Iraq mainly due to constant wars, poverty, and lack of good education, constant killings and kidnappings. As would be for any family, my family went through the process of alienation and assimilation as it tried to acclimatize to the different cultural environment.
Crepeau, Francois, Delphine Nakache, Michael Collyer, Nathaniel H. Goetz, and Art Hansen. Forced Migration and Global Processes: A View from Forced Migration Studies. Lanham: Lexington Books, 2006. Print
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