Open Letter to Black African ‘Immigrants’: Europe doesn’t have the happiness you’re looking for.

Dear fellow Black Africans,

Dear victims of our capitalist world,

Europe doesn’t have the happiness you’re looking for.

I know what you are thinking ‘ha, it is easy for you to say that when you’re in Europe. You just don’t want to share the money and wealth you are earning over there’– I promise you, this is not the truth.

And I know what you will say when you see a picture of me ‘this yalla girl who has never understood real struggle, real poverty’- I am not trying to compare my privileged life to yours. I am not speaking down at you. I am sharing my pain in seeing so many of you dying to reach a Europe that will not live up to your expectations. 

I am not trying to clump you all into the same category, please do not clump me into one. You are not immigrants, migrants, refugees, exiles or asylum seekers. You are human beings, you are each one of you an individual, a sacred life, a brother or sister. 

As a sister who has lived her whole life in the Europe which you think that you desire, please let me open your eyes to the reality that awaits you here. 

You will not find here the warm sun which beats on your skin and radiates through your bones, warming up your hearts. Europe is cold, people will not welcome you so warmly as you welcome them to your country. 

You will not find here the diversity which fills the spirit of Africa. Stop telling people you are Gambian, Nigerian, Ghanian, Senegalese, Congolese, Sierra Leonean, Zimbabwean, Cameroonian, Gabonese, Guinea-Bissauan. No one cares if you’re from Burkina Faso, Mali, Central African Republic or Niger. In Europe you are just ‘Black African’. 

In Europe you are black, and because of this you are a threat. In Europe the black man is not afraid of the white man, the white man is afraid of you. In European literature, black is associated with fear and evil, but this is not the only reason why the white man dislikes you.  

The dictators and oppressors you are looking to escape from are also here in another form. You will become a slave to capitalism, to debts, you will be robbed through bills and taxes. The only difference is you will not see it happening so obviously. You are only running to embrace the opposite side of the spectrum.

In Europe and North America we are ‘rich’, but we are not all happy. The more money we have, the more we want. The more we want, the less happier we are. We dedicate our lives to making money, buying houses, fancy cars and new clothes. But this ‘American dream’ of free-markets, endless growing wealth and social mobility is just a dream.  This dream was not created with you in mind. Black Europeans and Black Americans are still fighting for that dream. You will have to join the back of the line. 

In Europe you are another statistic, another ticked box. If you die trying to reach Europe, you will became another number, an unidentified face in a mass grave. There will be a moment of sadness when your death is announced on the news, but this will be quickly forgotten, because in Europe time is money and there is no money in thinking about your death. You are just another number.

You will be working just as hard as when you were back home. In Europe money doesn’t grow on trees. Life is hard, but even harder for you because you will constantly have to prove yourself. Proving that you are not dangerous, not coming to ‘steal’, not illiterate, not from ‘the bush’. Because you will always be trying to prove this, you will allow people to take advantage of you. You will get paid less than the minimum wage not just because you are ‘desperate’, but because in Europe you are meant to work harder and for less. Because you are ‘illegal’ and you do not have the ‘right’ to be here, you are placed at the bottom of society.

The money you send back home will not help in the long run. The situation of your country will not change. The corruption, poor infrastructure, lack of medical facilities will still be there. So you pay for the education of your children, where are the jobs for them back home? You will say there are no jobs, they have to come to Europe. To the same Europe that does not want them. To work a job that they are over qualified to do. To be exposed to hatred because of the silky blackness of their skin. 

But you will not tell them the truth. When you go back home you will pretend that you are rich. You will wear ‘western’ clothes and bring back expensive gifts. Shoes, bags, computers. You will not tell your friends and family back home how scared you were taking the boat, how many people you saw die before your eyes, how much pain and suffering you endured. You will not tell your friends and family back home that you are working three jobs and living in a slum. You will not tell them that sometimes you are hungry, just like when you were back home. 

You will not tell them that you are not happy. You will not tell them that Europe doesn’t have the happiness they’re looking for. Instead, you will put pictures on your Facebook profile of cars and motorbikes which do not belong to you. You will pose in only your nice pair of clothes. You will not let them see that you are not happy. 

Stay and fight for the country you have, for the homeland you want to see flourish. Do not believe for one second that money equals happiness. Do not believe that you have to risk your life to be happy. 

Please be patient my brothers and sisters. Please be patient. Stay where you are, do not risk your life, do not believe in a golden Europe that does not exist. Things will get better for you, but only if you stay and fight for it.

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