Why the language we use to talk about refugees matters so much
–-> cet article date de juin 2015... je le remets sur seenthis car je l’ai lu plus attentivement, et du coup, je mets en évidence certains passages (et mots-clé).
In an interview with British news station ITV on Thursday, David Cameron told viewers that the French port of Calais was safe and secure, despite a “#swarm” of migrants trying to gain access to Britain. Rival politicians soon rushed to criticize the British prime minister’s language: Even Nigel Farage, leader of the anti-immigration UKIP party, jumped in to say he was not “seeking to use language like that” (though he has in the past).
Cameron clearly chose his words poorly. As Lisa Doyle, head of advocacy for the Refugee Council puts it, the use of the word swarm was “dehumanizing” – migrants are not insects. It was also badly timed, coming as France deployed riot police to Calais after a Sudanese man became the ninth person in less than two months to die while trying to enter the Channel Tunnel, an underground train line that runs from France to Britain.
The way we talk about migrants in turn influences the way we deal with them, with sometimes worrying consequences.
When considering the 60 million or so people currently displaced from their home around the world, certain words rankle experts more than others. “It makes no more sense to call someone an ’illegal migrant’ than an ’illegal person,’” Human Rights Watch’s Bill Frelick wrote last year. The repeated use of the word “boat people” to describe people using boats to migrate over the Mediterranean or across South East Asian waters presents similar issues.
“We don’t call middle-class Europeans who take regular holidays abroad ’#EasyJet_people,’ or the super-rich of Monaco ’#yacht_people,’” Daniel Trilling, editor of the New Humanist, told me.
How people are labelled has important implications. Whether people should be called economic migrants or asylum seekers matters a great deal in the country they arrive in, where it could affect their legal status as they try to stay in the country. It also matters in the countries where these people originated from. Eritrea, for example, has repeatedly denied that the thousands of people leaving the country are leaving because of political pressure, instead insisting that they have headed abroad in search of higher wages. Other countries make similar arguments: In May, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said that the migrants leaving her country were “fortune-seekers” and “mentally sick.” The message behind such a message was clear: It’s their fault, not ours.
There are worries that even “migrant,” perhaps the broadest and most neutral term we have, could become politicized.
Those living in the migrant camps near #Calais, nicknamed “the #jungle,” seem to understand this well themselves. “It’s easier to leave us living like this if you say we are bad people, not human," Adil, a 24-year-old from Sudan, told the Guardian.
#langage #vocabulaire #terminologie #mots #réfugiés #asile #migrations #essaim #invasion #afflux #déshumanisation #insectes #expatriés #expats #illégal #migrant_illégal #boat_people #migrants_économiques