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January 1, 2017 / Congau


A foreigner is not a human being. He is not an individual, only a foreigner, and as such he is always regarded. When a countryman does something strange, you think he is a strange person. When a foreigner behaves oddly, you assume that’s how people act in his country.

We don’t do it like that here, you say, smiling tolerantly. The poor alien shrugs his shoulders, but inside he is screaming: No, people from my country don’t do that either, but I do that! Besides, my good native, there are millions of people in this country and you only know a tiny fraction of them. What do you know? Some of them may do exactly like this.

When migrants are entering the old continent, we see the masses. It is harder to notice the individuals and even when we do, we tend to dismiss their unique features as somehow also derived from the group. Foreigners cannot be seen for what they are and that frustration must be added to all the other mental strains that they are sure to encounter so far from home.

Tolerance is of course a good thing, but we shouldn’t be so tolerant that we don’t even bother to notice the differences. If people are strange, be so good as to notice their strangeness. Accept what you see, but only after you have looked at it.

A foreigner is actually a human being and a subject of human psychology and that’s how he must be considered. Are you surprised?

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