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By: Moustafa Elhoushi

June 2002

A few months ago, Jean-Marie Le Pen, a right-wing French politician had managed to reach the second round of the French elections. There were many demonstrations throughout France calling him a fascist or describing him as racist because of his anti-emigration policies. This politician believes that the problems of unemployment and crime are caused by the emigrants who come from the poor countries. Although Le Pen was once a general in the French army when it was fighting against Algeria and his hands are filled with blood, I support his anti-emigration policies. I am not supporting him because of his ideas about how to solve his nation's problems, but because his ideas actually benefit the poor world.

In one speech he had once given to a group of Algerians, he told them that their ancestors had fought against French colonial rule so that Algeria would be free and independent, so why are they now willing to come back to live in the land of their ex-colonizer? I agree with him. The French had once offered the Algerians to make Algeria part of France and under French rule, but the Algerians had refused. So why are they now going to live to France to live under the rule of the nation they had once fought against?

This does not only apply to Algeria, but it also applies to the poor countries of the Third World. It is true that conditions after independence are very disappointing: extreme poverty, high rates of unemployment, civil unrest, dictatorship, epidemics and other tragedies are being faced by many people in the South. However, escaping from the poor countries to the rich countries will never solve the problem.

In fact, it will make the problems even worse. According to the UNESCO, every hour, 1000 intellectuals, doctors, engineers, scientists, etc. travel from the developing world to the developed world in search for happier lives. By leaving their poor countries, those people have prevented their peoples and societies from benefiting from their skills and intelligence. Moreover, the rich countries manage to develop even more from this skilled labour and as a result, the gap between the rich and the poor widens.

It is true that most of the governments of the Third World do not provide enough jobs, or jobs with low salaries, to those workers. It is true that corruption and lack of equal opportunities usually means that such intellectuals may never show their potentials in their countries. It is true that life may sometimes be intolerable in such poor nations. But if everyone blames everyone else, such problems will never be solved. If everyone wants to escape, the problems will get worse. If everyone believes that he should not be bothered to solve the problems because his government or society does not try to solve the problems, who will?

1 million Algerians were not martyred in their fight against French colonialism so that a country would be born out of imperialism with poverty and corruption. What would have Ghandi said if he knew that one day Indians would escape their country after years and years of suffering against colonial rule? Would he have led his resistance against imperialism? The same applies to Abd al-Qadir of Algeria, Saad Zaghloul of Egypt and Omar Al Mokhtar of Libya. Those people have suffered for independence hoping to make life better. If life is not better, than everyone should join together to move through the path of progress.