Last Saturday I attended the expat community's meeting in Montenegro, as always organized brilliantly by Carine. This time it was held in a cozy hotel by the beach in Tivat, the Carrubba Hotel, and only a bunch of us participated, around thirty from the group. It was pleasant and we spent a delightful evening meeting all kinds of people, from a lady that was born in Scandinavia, lived in Switzerland before marrying a Bolivian and living thirty years in Paraguay while working for the Latin American Football Federation, and later choosing Montenegro because the name sounded nice, to a brilliant Israeli entrepreneur that loves nature and business, building in Montenegro all sort of luxury villas, as well as few Brits, French, Turkish, a woman from New Zealand, one from Kazakhstan and many other nationalities, in total I counted over twelve provenances.
While in the process of meeting all these people I started grinding the name "Expat" in my brain, something didn't sound right, as I always thought of myself as a "Migrant", a free bird without fixed country and the world to discover, but than the question hit me, why are white people expats while the rest of the people are Immigrants? Africans are immigrants. Arabs are immigrants. Asians are immigrants. However, Europeans are expats because we can’t be at the same level as other ethnicities. We are superior. Immigrants is a term set aside for ‘inferior races’.
It became clear I wasn't the only one thinking about this differentiation when I stumbled upon an article by the Wall Street Journal featuring a story 'Who's an expact, anyway?' of which the main conclusions were: “Some arrivals are described as expats; others as immigrants; and some simply as migrants. It depends on social class, country of origin and economic status. It’s strange to hear some people in Hong Kong described as expats, but not others. Anyone with roots in a western country is considered an expat … Filipino domestic helpers are just guests, even if they’ve been here for decades. Mandarin-speaking mainland Chinese are rarely regarded as expats … It’s a double standard woven into official policy.”
How can we still live in an outdated supremacist ideology? Now the world has no longer borders, and every country became accessible at our fingertip so using the Latin terms ex (‘out of’) and patria (‘country, fatherland’) can be considered an antiquity, we are all migrants or citizens of the world, like our small group of migrants that meets bimonthly to chat about the beauty of the country where we live, network and complain about politics, as no matter where you are from or where you go, politics will always be a pivotal issue!