Hanif Kureishi: The migrant has no face, status or story


Immigration has become a prison of cliche in Europe: The Guardian

Hanif KureishiThe immigrant has become a contemporary passion in Europe, the vacant point around which ideals clash. Easily available as a token, existing everywhere and nowhere, he is talked about constantly. But in the current public conversation, this figure has not only migrated from one country to another, he has migrated from reality to the collective imagination where he has been transformed into a terrible fiction.

Whether he or she – and I will call the immigrant he, while being aware that he is stripped of colour, gender and character – the immigrant has been made into something resembling an alien. He is an example of the undead, who will invade, colonise and contaminate, a figure we can never quite digest or vomit. If the 20th century was replete with uncanny, semi-fictional figures who invaded the lives of the decent, upright and hard-working – the pure – this character is rehaunting us in the guise of the immigrant. He is both a familiar, insidious figure, and a new edition of an old idea expressed with refreshed and forceful rhetoric.

Read More