Pascal Derrien

3 years ago · 2 min. reading time · visibility 0 ·

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225 Million and Counting

225 Million and Counting

''I am a foreigner in a foreign land and no matter how long I stay here I will always be a foreigner but not necessarily an outsider''  Paul Walters

Their names could be Ahmed, Maria, Chang or Maciek they would all have an individual story and different circumstances. A relatively recent report from the U.N outlined that there was roughly 225 million people worldwide that were living and working in a country different from their country of birth. 

From Indians working in Dubai to Turks settling in Germany alongside Chinese established in Africa waving at Mexicans in the U.S sharing a similar craft than their Polish brothers established in Ireland, that's a huge amount of human stories out there. That's a fair number of people who more than often tend get more abuse than praise as a form of recognition. The medal of animosity is often the most common distributed reward when it comes to distinguish the contribution many of them make to their adopted country.

To those who are lacking tolerance and have a tiny breadth of view, it's difficult if not unacceptable to sympathise with those who sound and look different, but what do they know about it really ?

Independently of the context that bring one individual or a family on new shores it is fair to acknowledge than while they are maybe all coming from different horizons they also have probably one thing they all share in common, it's the ability to adapt. I am not talking about a small adjustment, a simple acclimatization or a mere alteration I am thinking more about a profound and fundamental change. 

Imagine you are left with no choice but the one to leave. How would you function in a different language, would you have what it takes to learn a new alphabet in a matter of months, how quick do you think you would be able to absorb the colloquialisms and other subtleties of a local lingo. Don't take for granted either that you would be able to study or even be allowed in certain cases, in addition you may come to understand that acquiring new skills is tricky and requires drive and tenacity.

Assume that no matter how prepared you may think you are or how thick your skin is, you will often be discouraged because it's damn hard to integrate in a society you were not raised in. How would you cope with the fact that past the initial welcome speeches the local tribes seem to often have a very low tolerance for the blow ins.

How would you feel when you suddenly understand that at best you are only tolerated as a celestial body when the local scum is worshiped like a star. I am curious to understand how you would navigate thru the daily casual vexations and other manifestation of racism, what would you answer to those who brandish the right of the soil non sense.

It's easy enough for the people who want to build a wall to ignore that a wall will always fall. It's perhaps more difficult for them to recognize than new residents coming from afar have some drive and may even thrive.

Not everybody is vile or hostile you see but it can take a while to get past the mockery. It's not easy for anybody to swallow stupid jokes and idiotic remarks. If you happen to be bright you can expect some confrontation with those ultras sitting on the society far right. 

Every success attempt will be torpedoed, you will be reminded constantly of your rank, if you happen to have different philosophical or religious beliefs you will be thrown at the other end of the pecking order and the colour of skin I should not mention because this could bring to your case only aggravation.

There is no need to be bitter, all in all a foreigner makes the society better. And it does matter: expats, economic migrants, refugees or whatever you may want to call them are fantastic individuals they should not be seen as rivals.

Forget the wall it is the season after all

People & stuff, family history 

Photo Credit
Dollar photo club

Produced for beBee only

Written Material Copyright 2017 - Pascal Derrien -

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Pascal Derrien

3 years ago #37

cheers Gert Scholtz it's not a complicated issue but we make it complex,inclusiveness is the future and the more of us the merrier me thinks 😀

Gert Scholtz

3 years ago #36

Pascal Derrien Having moved to the UK for a few years some time ago, I have a small, very small idea what it must be like for the 225 Million. Thanks for a great post Pascal.

Gert Scholtz

3 years ago #35

Pascal Derrien Having moved to the UK for a few years some time ago, I have a small, very small idea what it must be like for the 225 Million. Thanks for a moving post Pascal.

Pascal Derrien

3 years ago #34

ah Joyce \ud83d\udc1d Bowen Brand Ambassador @ beBee I would not even dare telling what to do, the only thing I know is that is never too late :-)

I so agree, Pascal Derrien. I envy your and others' ability to adapt. As my life changes, I contemplated an extreme move to Europe, but am too faint-hearted.

Pascal Derrien

3 years ago #32

thanks most encouraging words from your good self Sir :-)

Mohammed Abdul Jawad

3 years ago #31

In the aegis of humanity, we all are human beings. Aren't we? And, we by man made rules, degrade each other and label people by this name or the other. We all belong to diverse nations, cultures and languages so that we may know each other and treat well, not to nickname and ridicule others by downgrading them. Great post Pascal Derrien

Pascal Derrien

3 years ago #30

many thanks Pamela \ud83d\udc1d Williams indeed we are all coming from or going to somewhere most countries have been built on influx from various ethnicities 😀

Pascal Derrien

3 years ago #29

thanks Lisa \ud83d\udc1d Gallagher for sharing everyday examples, I think we all have them around us, we need to give proper credit to those who have taken giant steps to better their lives or is it simpler to play it down because attacking is a reflection on one's self inability :-)

Lisa Gallagher

3 years ago #28

What a great piece Pascal Derrien! We are all humans that inhabit planet earth and no one gave another the rights (with the exception of man) to make boundaries impossible to cross. I remember the Berlin wall and when it came down. I remember crying and that was the best thing that happened for many who were separated from their families, by class and more- They are a prime example of how East and West Berlin were able to come together and find common ground along with not being isolated anymore. I admire others who move to foreign lands and learn the customs, the languages and build new friendships because you are right, that is something I would find very difficult and scary. But, the lessons each person learns from the other is invaluable, without walls- they build understanding for humanity; compassion! I hope we do not 'build that wall,' between the US and Mexico. It takes a lot of courage and determination to come to the US with the hopes of becoming a citizen in order to make a better life for their families. I have 2 step sisters that are married to Mexican men and I can attest their husanbs work hard, put family first and even put their wives on a pedestal. They both are citizens now but it wasn't easy. My step brother in law's mother is allowed to visit X days per year and I fear she will lose that right. She has taught my step sister and her children so much as well. Walls are ruses. I'm a big believer in inclusive societies. I hope to see more inclusion before I leave this earth. Right now, my hopes are dimmed a lot. If people really got to know others from many cultures/races they may let go of their xenophobia. Xenophobia is media and mass society produced.

Yep, I understand. People judge others by their accent yet know nothing about the person. I don't have a distinct accent from any part of the US which I prefer not to. My mother had a heavy southern accent and took some sort of training to get rid of it. I'm guessing her training was sometime in the 1950s. She sang professionally and I am assuming that was the reason for her wanting to shed her accent. I love to hear accents, especially from the UK.

Pascal Derrien

3 years ago #26

thanks Franci\ud83d\udc1dEugenia Hoffman, beBee Brand Ambassador I lived in a caravan the first 3 years of my life and then did 3 schools per year on average because we were moving from/to border towns near the 4 or five countries around france I never had the right accent story of my life :-)

Bravo, Pascal. One that lives in the U.S. and if born in NY and moves to Kansas, can feel like a foreigner. Definition of foreigner: a person in or from a country other than one's own. Well, duh - isn't this what makes life interesting?

Pascal Derrien

3 years ago #24

thanks for the offer Harvey Lloyd I have been to the US a lot including almost a year in NY (I know its different) but not recently who knows I may take you up on that :-)

Pascal Derrien

3 years ago #23

thanks Debasish Majumder appreciate the share especially on that topic :-)

Debasish Majumder

3 years ago #22

nice insight Pascal Derrien! enjoyed read and shared. thank you for the buzz sir.

Harvey Lloyd

3 years ago #21

I'm OK with the bias in principal as we cant really not hear or see beyond what we are exposed to. My challenge is that we take this limited exposure and then form actionable opinions. The southern accent was always an ice breaker with the turnip truck jokes but it was in jest and i didn't take offense. I got learn their culture and they mine. Today is different though. Fear based presentations of the 10% have now spread to define whole cultures. Naturally the natives extend this fear across all unknowns. The bias has now pushed back to the outsider to prove they are "safe". Bias cant be helped, but with executive function we can examine that bias before we act in any setting. Unfortunately executive function seems to be devolving back to cave painting. You would be welcome around here boss. If you do get around the US let me know i have two sleeping pills waiting. I need you take that nap and finish the hung up airplane story.

Pascal Derrien

3 years ago #20

thanks Harvey Lloyd when I was a kid and watching westerns and the south boys were always the baddies :-( Perception and unconscious bias is a terrible affliction one needs to work on to treat efficiently :-)

Harvey Lloyd

3 years ago #19

This is a very challenging topic, but very interesting. Especially if you come from we are all human perspective. Why do natives tend to reject outsiders naturally? I have never lived abroad, pretty much a homeboy. Yet when traveling north in the US, my southern accent i was always treated as though the turnip truck must have broke down nearby. My own theory, after experiencing this many times over twenty years, was that folks had a portrait of southerners that was born from nebulous conversations that were harmless, yet formed the opinion. I also recognized that i was an ambassador of the South:) Overtime i made some great Yankee friends and we all laughed at the differences. Yanks are pretty straight forward about their thoughts, southerners tend to flavor thoughts with mystery to keep you guessing. Cultural differences i am sure were felt when we were more nomadic in life as tribes had to figure out who was safe and who was not. Different traditions, morals and values are difficult to understand if they have not been part of your narrative. I believe there is a onus upon each side to understand the dance steps of figuring each other out. Media today though has really planted some ill seeds of cultures, keeping the dance from happening.

Pascal Derrien

3 years ago #18

Sometimes one understand himself better out of his comfort zone. The benefits narrative is a shaky one if I take Ireland at the height of recession a few years ago 96% of the 12% of us not born in the country according the CSO (stat office) were working and some were even double jobbing while the employment rate was @ 17% :-) You are indeed one of a kind Brian :-)

Ken Boddie

3 years ago #17

Further to #20, Pascal Derrien, if the accident of where we were born and the choices made of where we now live makes you and I "fantastic individuals" then I'll drink to that ..... Slàinte mhòr!

Pascal Derrien

3 years ago #16

indeed I remember that article Ken Boddie :-) I think more people need to speak up about those issues and people like you are critical to help with the narrative :-) Ca va toujours :-)

Ken Boddie

3 years ago #15

Hey Pascal, comment ça va, dia dhuit, how are you, g'day mate and how're they hanging? Like you, my friend, I've travelled to and lived in a few places around the globe ..... and survived to tell a tale or three. I always try to assimilate with the local populace with an "all experiences greatly received" attitude, but perhaps the most interesting reaction, from those who've not really had an opportunity to learn my story, is that I'm always from somewhere else. My heavily bastardised accent, pollinated by each country I've lived in, keeps the locals guessing, even when I occasionally return to the land of my birth. I am forever grateful that I was born as an English speaking caucasoid. These two things have allowed me to assimilate more readily to the majority of places I have either worked in as an expatriate or called home. I must say, however, that Australia is the land that has accepted me most willingly for what and who I am (whatever and whoever that is) and, in return for my invariable and regular cultural WTFs , has responded with that indomitable "She'll be right, mate. She'll be right". So if those paddys ever start giving you a hard time, then consider coming to the land down under, "where women glow, and men plunder". You may remember this buzz from way back in May 2016:

Lisa Vanderburg

3 years ago #14

#17 sure make one helluva lot more sense than me Pascal Derrien :)

Pascal Derrien

3 years ago #13

it does not happen often but sometimes I make sense Lisa Vanderburg :-)

Pascal Derrien

3 years ago #12

indeed Savvy Raj a bit less of inward looking could get us a long away from bitterness :-) thanks for dropping by

Pascal Derrien

3 years ago #11

Most grateful coming from a real writer :-) I think you really nailed it with your quote I could not find a better opening piece Paul Walters

Pascal Derrien

3 years ago #10

many thanks Randall Burns many thanks for the kind words I agree with the projection or transfer as simple as that is its the main problem.

Pascal Derrien

3 years ago #9

thanks CityVP \ud83d\udc1d Manjit your comments are a always a treat for the soul :-)

Lisa Vanderburg

3 years ago #8

Wow...never have I seen a more articulate, passionate and accurate defense of all those moved willingly or not to a foreign land; exceptional Pascal Derrien. Like so many here, I am one of them, but I never had the added disadvantage of language, creed or color, yet separate I remained. So for all those that have braved the harshest of journey and suffered the lashing of vile tongues and worse, I salute you!

Paul Walters

3 years ago #7

Pascal Derrien . What a stunning, well thought out and executed article. Thank you for the opening quotation, most humbling!

Randall Burns

3 years ago #6

Great Post Pascal Derrien It really hit home for me as I traveled the world working as an "Ex-Pat" for 22 years. There some negative aspects but there are positive aspects as well. I was a minority in many places, (always been a minority in the kitchen), and crossed paths with people that had "issues" with me but the reality is those were their "issues", not mine. There's positive and negative in every circumstance, I like to look at the "bright side" of life. Well done!

CityVP Manjit

3 years ago #5

I declare myself today as beBee's resident immigrant because there is much more meaning for me in being an outsider than it is to be a native who has gone native. The very first time I arrived in Canada, it was as a visitor and we had a stop over in Montreal, as I entered the hotel, the porter spoke French when I was expecting English, so for sure I found that discombobulating so when I talk of being an outsider it is not the same thing as my dad who had to learn a whole new culture - but he was also only welcomed into England because there was a labour shortage for jobs that were the dirtiest and/or hardest. If I could be thrown off by a single French porter in Montreal, I am sure I do not have it in me to adapt to a totally new culture. No wonder the United States call their immigrants aliens, it must feel like one has been dropped into a totally other planet. 225 million sounds like a rather small number, I would have expected that number to be far greater so that was surprising. Equally surprising was finding out that AHA are still performing and still releasing albums - and the band as aged very, very well. It was a most poignant track to pick in relationship to this buzz. So I guess I have some AHA-catching up to do. The benefit of having an outsider mentality is being OK with the darker realities of both unacceptable but also acceptable prejudices. If racism was the unacceptable prejudice when I was living in England, then ageism and branded professionalization have become today's acceptable prejudice now I am in North America in general. It is difficult enough to be worried about how we are defined without adding raw reality to skin our own marrow. As beBee's resident immigrant any acceptable prejudice is what it is, because the one thing I know about evolving existence is to always look forward to the light at the end of the tunnel. A light called renaissance.

Pascal Derrien

3 years ago #4

thanks Paul \ great to hear the topic is important :-) and Hemingway is not writing today :-)

Pascal Derrien

3 years ago #3

my kids tend to slag me in Irish which is the one I understand the least :-)

Pascal Derrien

3 years ago #2

Cheers Kevin Baker my grand father was Austrian and was a political refugee in France, my wife is Irish my kids are Franco/Irish we speak three languages at home :-)

Pascal Derrien

3 years ago #1

cc Paul Walters

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