Migration and asylum are sensitive issues. They create emotions and opinions that do not always reflect realities. The blog “Facts instead of Myths” (Fakten statt Mythen/Des faits plutôt que des mythes) contributes to ongoing debates by discussing generally taken-for-granted assumptions by means of verified facts. A collaboration between the Swiss Refugee Council and the Swiss Network of Young Migration Scholars, the project brings together migration experts and researchers to publish a short article in French and German every Wednesday.
Is there an “Islamization” of Switzerland? Who are migrant smugglers? What do official statistics hide? How much does asylum cost? are a few examples of questions developed on the blog. By clarifying key notions (e.g. n° 86, 74, 67, 34), debating ongoing processes (e.g. n° 88, 62, 52, 17) and presenting neglected realities (e.g. n° 92, 76, 71, 40), the articles provide important tools for contextualising and analysing the current migration situation.
Several blog authors address the so-called “refugee crisis”, which has been heating up debates since the summer of 2015. They adopt a critical stance towards the notion of “crisis” and highlight its constructed nature. Words are particularly important in this context: while the media often use metaphors that associate the arrival of refugees with natural disasters (waves, flows, tsunami, avalanche), the blog authors argue that if there is a crisis, it is a crisis of institutions and rights rather than a crisis caused by the refugees themselves. In particular, the articles criticise the lack of solidarity between EU member-states, as well as their tendency to fight border-crossing instead of implementing sustainable solutions to the humanitarian catastrophe that has already led thousands of people to take enormous risks to reach Europe.
Other articles remind us that migration is not an exceptional phenomenon and that striving for isolation is not only futile but also extremely costly. The “refugee crisis” is neither the beginning nor the end of important movements of persons. For this reason, the blog authors consider communicating the complexity of migration processes crucial for enabling constructive public debates and political decisions.
Laure Sandoz is currently conducting research at the University of Basel on the mobility of the highly skilled towards Switzerland as part of her PhD within the National Centre of Competence in Research nccr – on the move. She is also a co-founder and board member of the Swiss Network of Young Migration Scholars and regularly contributes with articles to the blog Fakten statt Mythen/Des Faits Plutôt que des Mythes.
- University of Basel: https://kulturwissenschaft.unibas.ch/seminar/personen/profil/portrait/person/sandoz/
- nccr – on the move: http://nccr-onthemove.ch/projects/the-mobility-of-the-highly-skilled-towards-switzerland/
- Swiss Network of Young Migration Scholars: http://www.migrationscholars.ch/
- Fakten statt Mythen: https://www.fluechtlingshilfe.ch/fakten-statt-mythen.html