Friday, December 08, 2006

vivir sin fronteras

I came across an interesting survey conducted by the BBC:

Four out of five youngsters believe people should be able to live in any country they choose, a BBC global survey of 15 to 17-year-olds suggests.

Two-thirds also say that they would emigrate to secure a better future, and one in seven said they would risk their life to reach another country.

. . .

The 10 key cities involved in the poll, conducted by Synovate, were New York, Nairobi, Cairo, Lagos, Rio de Janeiro, Baghdad, Delhi, Jakarta, Moscow and London

. . .

The results show the desire of young people to be highly mobile, with very little difference between developed and developing countries.

Well, with the caveat that these are all city-dwellers. The opinions of New Yorkers are not particularly representative of the country as a whole, and I imagine this is true in many of the other countries surveyed.

Based on my experience studying in Buenos Aires three years ago, educated, urban, globally mobile middle/upper class youth often have more in common with their global counterparts than with working class and rural people in their own countries. Europeans, Japanese, porteƱos (residents of Buenos Aires), North Americans, Australians, Mexicans, and Lebanese all spoke the same languages—Spanish and English—listened to the same music, watched the same movies, drank the same kinds of alcohol, went to the same dance clubs, and all hated George Bush (he’s a uniter, not a divider. I once met a Romanian law student in Geneva who had good things to say about Bush’s foreign policy—he’s the only one that comes to mind out of the places I’ve been.)

Of course, most of the people I met in Buenos Aires who could afford to live abroad were fairly wealthy in their home countries—probably the vast majority of kids outside of Europe either don’t have the opportunity or the inclination to travel for pleasure. But many of those who can't travel for pleasure will travel for work. This generation, more than any other, does not believe in borders. To many kids around the world, the idea that you should be able to live and work where you choose feels like a human right. The idea that your opportunities should be limited by something as arbitrary as where you are born or who your parents are makes little intuitive sense.
When asked which was the most important issue globally right now, 36% of the respondents listed terrorism.

The issue caused most concern in New Delhi (66%), New York (63%) and Baghdad (59%).

And an overwhelming majority, 71%, said that the so-called US war on terror was not making the world a safer place. Just 14% of respondents disagreed.

Ninety-eight percent of Baghdadi respondents said the war on terror was not making the world a safer place.

Lucky for them, they’re the most direct beneficiaries of the US war on terror.

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