Isabelle  Lafarge, April 30, 2017
Migration is a theme that finds its place in our eJournal, a space where psychoanalytic thoughts from all continents come together. As analysts, the place of the stranger and of strangeness is particularly revealed through unconscious forces. This touches us especially. The burning news of the great migratory movements, urges us to share our experiences.
Those who leave.
In this edition, several authors concerned with exile in their flesh/bodies and in their history, offer us very moving texts.
The personal experience of migration makes it possible to distinguish the forces of life and death. The hope of a better life, opening to new horizons, the encounter with a new culture and a new language; all these forces come up against disillusionment, cruel uprooting, irretrievable losses, and feelings of humiliation and revolt . These ruptures in the continuity of life often make necessary mechanisms of dissociation and fragmentation in order that we are able to face shame, fear, confusion. Sadness could become a frozen affect when grief cannot appear. The transmission of trauma then effects migrants over several generations.
Those who witness what is happening.
When personal history is not brought to the fore, authors always insist on the need to identify with the migrant, the double, the other who constitutes us but whom we also want to ignore. Let us think of our state of mind at the return of a long journey, the delight of returning home, and consider what if this joy never again be granted to us. Imagine that war or hunger drive us away from our homeland, our home, our habits, our loved ones. The unsustainable nature of these thoughts makes us expel them from our minds and this compromises our ability to empathize and identify. Adding to this, the spectacle of the great exodus live on our screens, further blunts our ability to identify ourselves with the life of our neighbor, the immigrant.
Populist leaders who want to strengthen their power exploit the migrants' crisis to divert attention from their own abuses and corruption. They consolidate the mechanisms of splitting and projection with images and propaganda. They generate a climate of anguish and uncertainty in which it becomes easy for them to present themselves as saviors, by the promise of a return to a simple world where security reigns, a paradise lost.
On the side of eros.
The trauma that comes with immigration could also be a source of stimulus for eros. If we recognize that exile is part of our constitution, solidarity and hospitality could also become second nature; an opportunity for the individual and the collective to give new impetus to cultures. This would require an effort to reintegrate our projections, an effort to overcome regressive group processes and an effort to tolerate ambiguities and uncertainties.
The psychoanalyst who works and writes in the public sphere helps us to understand what migration arouses in us. By showing the defense mechanisms we put in place to reduce anxiety, he helps to decode the role of the media and deconstruct the political recovery that is made of it. Our work here can also support professionals, forge ties with migrants, and offer psychic containment to hold suffering.
Discover these reflections on migration developed with talent and depth in these articles that we are pleased to offer you.