“Motherlands are castles made of glass. In order to leave them, you have to break something—a wall, a social convention, a cultural norm, a psychological barrier, a heart. What you have broken will haunt you. To be an emigré, therefore means to forever bear shards of glass in your pockets. It is easy to forget they are there, light and minuscule as they are, and go on with your life, your little ambitions and important plans, but at the slightest contact the shards will remind you of their presence. They will cut you deep.”
Posts tagged migration
In Hungary, Latvia, and Greece, travelers will be given an automated lie-detection test—by an animated AI border agent. The system, called iBorderCtrl, is part of a six-month pilot led by the Hungarian National Police at four different border crossing points. “We’re employing existing and proven technologies—as well as novel ones—to empower border agents to increase the accuracy and efficiency of border checks,” project coordinator George Boultadakis of European Dynamics in Luxembourg told the European Commission. “iBorderCtrl’s system will collect data that will move beyond biometrics and on to biomarkers of deceit.”
Hundreds of migrants have cycled into Norway from Russia after finding a new route into Europe that avoids the deadly Mediterranean crossing. They are not allowed to cross the Arctic border on foot, so a lucrative trade in bicycles has opened up, with migrants buying bikes and pedalling the final few metres.
There is something enigmatically utopian in this demand: as if it were the duty of Europe to realise their dreams – dreams which, incidentally, are out of reach of most Europeans (surely a good number of Southern and Eastern Europeans would prefer to live in Norway too?). It is precisely when people find themselves in poverty, distress and danger – when we’d expect them to settle for a minimum of safety and wellbeing – that their utopianism becomes most intransigent. But the hard truth to be faced by the refugees is that ‘there is no Norway,’ even in Norway.
Reader Fred Becker has asked about a ‘paper’ written by rocket pioneer Robert H Goddard on 14 January 1918, sealed in an envelope on the outside of which he wrote: The Last Migration. The notes should be read thoroughly only by an optimist! Goddard was 35 years old and the notes were written more than six years before he would conduct the world’s first rocket flight using liquid propellants. It is a prescient reminder of just how far and grand were the visions of this quiet, elusive man who laid the foundation for so much that would follow. Later that day same day he wrote a condensed version and titled it The Ultimate Migration, which we are delighted to reproduce here in full and in the form in which it was written, uncorrected for grammar: