In Some Immigration News Across the Borders – Canada Holds Online Film Festival on Migration

I want to take time out to do this, at least every weekend. Let me know if the comparative / international perspective is helpful and something the blog readers would find interesting. This is by no means comprehensive; just under-reported news I found noteworthy and/or fascinating.

  • Debating 120,000 year old migration route? A new study on the cradle of civilization reveals an alternate path to early human migration than the one previously proposed. The Nile Valley is widely believed to be the most likely route out of sub-Saharan Africa for early modern humans but new research from the University of Bristol points to Libya as the exit route through the Sahara.

According to independent studies from the University of Helsinki and the University of Cambridge, our dispositions not only influence where we choose to live but also how often and how far we move. And over time, these choices can influence the social character of entire geographical regions.

  • Canada’s first and only online film festival–the Migr@tions Online Film Festival–features 80 short documentaries on migration that viewers can watch anywhere in the world at their leisure through to December. Quarterfinals are right now so you can log on and cast your votes for the short documentaries each week.

Migr@tion 2008 features a total of 80 short documentaries and dramas ā€“ 40 each in English and French ā€“ from more than 22 countries, including Australia, Brazil, Ecuador, South Korea, U.K., U.S., Zimbabwe and, of course, Canada.

By going international, this year’s festival received more than 200 entries, each between four and nine minutes, from South African Sarah Van Borek’s Xenophobia Unplugged on a musician’s journey, to American Alana Kakoyiannis’ Cosmopolis, a documentary on Greek immigrants who, having gained social mobility, are passing the torch to the next waves of Mexicans.

Among the Canadian features are Ellen Tang’s Girl Any More, which examines if having an anglicized name affects who you are, Radha Rajagopalan’s Wires and Words, exploring how second-generation Tamil Brahmins in Canada connect to their heritage through the internet, and Punam Kumar Gill’s The Lesson, about the filmmaker’s father, who helped his Punjabi community in Edmonton by teaching newcomers how to drive.

(Read more here)

It sounds like the sort of trans-national and cross-border understanding that we need to develop in our pro-migrant network. Do check it out. I am sure we would come across some powerful narratives of value and worthy of discussion.

  • Scientists study house mice's genetic traits to investigate human migration

Study – Globe-trotting house mice are helping scientists investigate the history of human migration around the world.

By studying the rodents’ genetic traits, researchers can tell what part of the world they – and their human travelling companions – hail from. So far scientists have established that mice colonised northern and western parts of the British isles with Norwegian Vikings. House mice from elsewhere in Britain reflect both Iron Age migrations and the early development of large human settlements. On the other side of the world, there is evidence in New Zealand of a large influx of mice from the UK. But eastern European and southern Asian subspecies of house mice are also found in New Zealand, underlying the fact that the country’s settlers had a wide range of origins.

We probably have all sorts of mice in the United States if the study has any bearing on our immigration reality. And a lot of them are probably already extinct …

  • This one is downright hilarious and also really sad but it seems like the ‘immigration restrictionism’ has spread to tiny island countries in the middle of nowhere. The Public Accounts Committee on the Isles of Fiji, (which constitutes 350 islands, a majority of them uninhabited) has released yet another report stating that “effective control of our borders has been problematic because of the non-availability of funds and manpower.”

The report stated that the Immigration Department was unable to accommodate the security and records of all visitors to Fiji because of the shortage of staff and the unavailability of data machinery and funds.

[…] Director Immigration Viliame Naupoto agreed with the contents of the report saying Fiji needed to properly manage migration because it was a major global phenomenon.

Is Fiji having trouble with tourists overstaying their visas? Can we blame them? Hey, the islands has seen a massive flight of Indian people (myself included) in the past 20 years, maybe a few thousand immigrants on the beach won’t hurt the bulgeoning population of 900,000 …

Under the plan, Tuvalu would be based in Australia but would continue to function as a sovereign nation, in the hope of one day returning to its island home.

The Tuvalu Government would maintain its seat and vote in the UN as well as continuing to compete in the Olympics and maintaining its membership of the Commonwealth.

Tuvalu previously approached Australia and New Zealand to open up a migration channel, but Australia’s former government twice refused, although New Zealand accepts 75 immigrants a year.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change forecasts show that over the next century sea levels will rise by up to 0.8m, making Tuvalu uninhabitable.

Sounds fair enough although I doubt there would be a home to return to should sea levels rise and not level / fall. They should ask the United States as well …

  • What’s up with our trans-atlantic neighbors? More immigration restrictions. As the EU unveiled a new set of policies on immigration this past week, thousands took to the streets of France in protest of ‘Fortress Europe.’


French demonstrators unfurled a banner proclaiming “Bridges, not walls” at the Paris rally. Other signs that read: “We are all immigrant children” and “Detention centres are lawless places, a state secret.”

In Le Mans, central France, a 60-year-old woman doused herself in flammable liquid in front of a detention centre and set herself on fire in protest at authorities’ threats to deport her partner back to Armenia.

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