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People lack empathy towards migrants: Author Sam Miller

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People lack empathy towards migrants: Author Sam Miller

New Delhi, Feb 11 (IANS) Author Sam Miller on Sunday said that people generally lack empathy towards the migrants across the globe and the attitude of the countries they want to settle in also remains hostile.

“The migration phenomenon has shown many shades of who we actually are. There is a lack of empathy towards migrants. We are also unable to understand the feelings of those who are forced to leave their land. The lack of compassion is not just shocking but sad too,” author Sam Miller told IANS, on the second day of Appejay Kolkata Literary Festival.

Miller’s latest book titled ‘Migrants: The Story of Us All’ is a thought provoking book which asserts that we are all descended from migrants.

The author who debuted with ‘Delhi: Adventures in a Megacity’ (Penguin) said that his new book is a different book than his last ‘A Strange Kind of Paradise: India Through Foreign Eyes’.

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“In the last book (A Strange Kind of Paradise: India Through Foreign Eyes), I explore how the thinking of foreigners has changed about India. In my new research, I am looking at how human ideas of migration have changed. There is a running theme and a historical and chronological structure in both the books. In terms of content, structure and the kind of research, it is different,” Miller said.

He said that even the television screens showed the immense humiliation of migrants in Europe while many countries closed their borders.

“The way we learn history has changed as it revolves around maps. There is not enough emphasis on early migrations and the nomadic nature of our ancestors. Our education system emphasises that they (migrants) cannot be treated like ‘others’,” Miller said.

He said that media houses have not highlighted the migration problem as it should have and are also partly to be blamed for the problem. Actually, it is the politicians who are the root cause of the migration problem. They must be held responsible for the problem.

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“People often blame the media. But let us not forget that politicians use the migrant issue for political gains across the globe. Narratives also show our very deep-rooted biases towards migrants,” Miller said.

He said that we should not forget the photograph of the dead little boy lying on the beach which flashed across the globe.

“There was a huge outcry. But tell me would he have been highlighted had he been dark skinned?” Miller asked.

In 1989, Miller had come for a documentary project to India but soon got settled in India. “My son lives in India. Delhi may be more polluted and less tolerant but we have been here for a quite long time now. Whenever someone plans a trip to India, I tell him — you are coming to visit a continent, not a country. I may get bored anywhere in the world but never in India,” Miller said.

–IANS

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