Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Being a ‘second generation’ immigrant, I

These last few days I have been thinking about sharing my experiences of being “second generation”, that is the son of immigrants. The other day, during my landing in Geneva, the wires between my sentimentality and my intellectuality suddenly got disconnected. Beneath me I saw a rather normal city laid out – just like my own – Stockholm. This is one of the many cities where cousins of mine have settled and where second generations of cousins are now being born. While we were descending I was thinking that they must feel the same way I do when I land in Stockholm and see this familiar view in front of me. They must feel it is their city as well as one of the many places in the world where they belong; perhaps the most reliable one of them all.

I know I feel something similar but not quite the same when I land in Barajas or Alicante. I have lived there many times and periods of my life fully knowing that these places are also my home, my comfort zones in the world. Little by little throughout the years I have also added cities like Barcelona to my list where I decided to live for a while in 2011.

Once in an article I started to play with the idea of reuniting with a brother who had grown up in another family. The contextual background was that we both knew we belonged, we both shared the same roots, but we did not share the same lives. On the contrary, we lived and led very different lives in very different places. We were formed by: different movements, different circumstances, different background stories, and even different rules of democracy.

But I will talk more about this in time because I notice that in a lot of countries where the second generations (the children) are still not that many, they view these issues with interest and worry, and a lot of times I receive questions about this. In Sweden for example the immigrant population is currently peaking at 1, 4 million. These immigrants have in turn given birth to one million children – we ‘the second generation’, who almost reach up to their level now. If we include my kids (the third generation), than we have already passed the first in numbers. But then we stop counting right? Or do we continue? This spring I plan on developing these lines of thoughts and more so stay tuned for more updates.