Alexander II was known as the liberator of serfs, because under his rule, in 1861, serfs were granted the freedom to marry without having to gain consent, to own property, and to own businesses. In 1862, Alexander II signed off on the ethnic cleansing of Circassians that began as a simple resettlement, and led to (by official Tsarist documents, more by other accounts) over 400,000 deaths. Circassians in fact protest the 2014 Olympics in Sochi being that it was the supposed site of their final expulsion. [more inside]
"My first taste of Europe. My first realisation that a border is just a line – you cross it and nothing changes. No, everything changes. You are in another world, which is both exactly the same and entirely different." When you leave a country to live somewhere else, where is home?
Peoplemovin illustrates the migration flow in and out of the countries of the world. Click on a country's name on the left to see its emigrants stream to countries on the right; click on a country on the right to see where its immigrants come from. Click in between the country lists to see information on top migration origins and destinations, and the largest migration corridors.
The website of the Society for Irish Latin American Studies is full of information about Irish migration to Latin America. It's divided into four sections: The Homeland, about the origins of the settlers; The Journey, about how the Irish settlers traveled to Latin America, including the infamous Dresden affair; The Settlement, about the lives of the Irish in Latin America; Faces and Places, which has biographies of a wide variety of people, Mateo Banks, family murderer, Camila O'Gorman, executed lover of a priest, William Lamport, 17th Century revolutionary and Bernardo O'Higgins, Chilean independence leader, who gets a whole subsection to himself. There is also a list of Irish placenames and much else of interest to history nerds.
"Are the American People Obsolete?" an essay by Michael Lind of the New America Foundation. [more inside]
A few years ago, Gruff Rhys, lead singer of fabulous Welsh pop oddballs Super Furry Animals (Cymraeg/English) set out to make a film about the search for his uncle, a 1970s Argentinian pop star called René Griffiths. The result is Separado!: part travelogue, part music film, and part history of how a small band of idealists set out to establish a Welsh colony in the Argentinian part of Patagonia. [more inside]
The United Nations Refugee Agency has a Flickr page with nearly 3000 photos neatly sorted into over 150 sets, most often by country, though sometimes by other themes, such as photos taken by refugee children, life in a refugee camp and mixed migration. There are also news sets, sorted by month. Some of the countries featured are ones that many associate with humanitarian disasters, Timor-Leste, Iraq and The Democratic Republic of Congo, but there are also photosets from countries that few associate with refugees, Panama, Hungary and France.
Border Stories is a series of short documentaries about life on the US-Mexican border, none longer than 6 minutes. The subjects are: drug addicts on the border (warning: graphic images), electronic music group Nortec Collective, hospital costs of fence jumpers, lonesome Minuteman, Mexican emigrant safety patrolman, ranchowners whose land is an immigration throughway, US-raised 18 year-old sent back to Mexico, virtual vigilantes, two old men provide water in the desert, dangers of journalism in Ciudad Juarez, graveyard of US tires in Mexico, drug ballads, hardened border policy hurts cross-border community, another cross-border community fears closing of footbridge, working illegally in Laredo, mayors of the two Laredos, migrants' safe house, hand-pulled ferry, dentistry in Nuevo Progreso, Brownsville high school teacher protests border fence, golf course with the border on three sides & fishermen on the mouth of the Rio Bravo. Border Stories also has a blog about immigration issues.
Ghosts of the Faithful Departed. Irish photographer David Creedon's pictures of dilapidated houses in rural Ireland abandoned during the mass emigration that took place between 1949 and 1989. [Via]
Why not celebrate our Independence Day with the violent overthrow of the government? Some say they want a revolution, others would rather secede. Should we stay or should we go?
Springdale Arkansas is now home to the largest population of Marshallese outside of the Marshall islands. ...They all spoke so highly of Springdale and how great it is to work the overnight shift in a chicken factory in the Ozarks. What a strange irony that everyone I knew in Arkansas considered paradise to be on South Pacific islands, with no schedule and great fishing. ..Articles by Christopher Leonard and photos by Benjamin Krain
Canada's "Brain Drain" has been a growing concern among Canadians for a number of years. There are a number of reports (PDF) indicating that an increasing number of "highly skilled graduates in fields such as health, engineering and natural and applied sciences" have been heading south for work. There are guides to assist, first hand accounts, and even profiles of people who have left.
Riotous Littleport. The deportation of an English village to Australia. BBC article with links to other interesting articles on immigration and emigration on the page.
Betrayed by Europe: An Expatriate’s Lament Journalist, novelist, and translator Nidra Poller, an American ex-pat who has been living in Paris with her family since 1972, writes in the latest issue of Commentary about her painful decision to leave her adopted homeland for the US. The main reason? Poller and her family are Jewish and scared for their lives. Her poignant essay is not just another report on the disturbing levels of anti-semitism in France or yet another French Jew abandoning the country for safer turf, but an examination of the power of hope (and inertia) in our lives, even when intellectually one sees no reason for hope: I'm being treated to a poignant lesson in European and Jewish history. The 30's: why did they stay? Why didn’t they run for their lives? Couldn’t they see what was happening? I see before me a vivid demonstration of the deep roots we dig to make our lives bloom, the intricate biology of a human life, irrigated with the lifeblood of a community, inextricably connected to a society, born of life to give life to keep life alive. Leaving is not packing up and tipping your hat goodbye. It is tearing live flesh out of a living matrix. A powerful and disturbing testimony.
Don't like the US? Then Leave! Somebody posted this to a newsgroup I read from time to time. Evidently, if you sign an agreement to leave the US for a year, you'll get a portion of what has been donated to the website (currently $53).