Reverse migration-Workers as “Rip Van Vinkle”

Reverse migration is an issue which every worker living in Arab world faces in some way or the other.

In our discussion on May Day, after reading out excerpts of Hay Market

and the struggle for the 8 hour working day, the discussion went into trying to gauge the common characters of the community-Expatriate workers and Indians in particular.

Reverse migration is a reality as people living in Arab countries like Libya which does not give any residency rights to long term workers have to face this reality in different ways.

Is this similar to the Rip Van Vinkle effect?

He awakes in unusual circumstances: it seems to be morning, his gun is rotted and rusty, his beard has grown a foot long, and Wolf is nowhere to be found. Rip returns to his village where he finds that he recognizes no one. Asking around, he discovers that his wife has died and that his close friends have died in a war or gone somewhere else. He immediately gets into trouble when he proclaims himself a loyal subject of King George III, not knowing that the American Revolution has taken place; George III’s portrait on the town inn has been replaced by that of George Washington. Rip is also disturbed to find another man is being called Rip Van Winkle (though this is in fact his son, who has now grown up).

Differences and similarities between different sectors.

Indians are generally seen as adaptable, working honestly. The previous generation of teachers in the University taught well, and gained a good reputation. This leads new immigrant workers to have a good reputation. The managers in construction companies have a good reputation –but the issue of these workers living in isolated camps rather than within the population as is the case with workers in health and education sectors came up. In health sector, doctors, paramedic staff, nursing professionals interact with the local population at a more intimate level than the workers who live in construction company camps.

On returning

The yearly sabbatical is one thing, the prospect of returning for good to your home country is different. Having interviewed some who have returned, some who try out the market conditions in their home country and return and some who do not leave these cushions gave an interesting mix.

Is the global  work space more a reality?

How many workers know about Haymarket, someone asked.

The ripple effects of Haymarket are there to stay, whether one knows about it or not.

What is the relevance of 8 hour day for persons who live away from families, as in the army or in desert oil operations?

These were some interesting lines of enquiry and discussion as we wound up our discussions on International Workers Day.


About prashant bhatt

A psychologist, interested in mindfulness practices. I practiced medicine as a radiologist for 23 years in India and Libya as a radiologist before shifting to Canada. A regular diarist, journaling since 1983 Reading journal :
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4 Responses to Reverse migration-Workers as “Rip Van Vinkle”

  1. Pingback: No man is an island, entire of itself… « Prashantbhatt’s Weblog

  2. soft spoken says:

    Better not to return to your country unless you are kicked out….you know what I mean…..( especially for medical professionals )

  3. Pingback: Who is motivated? -Lessons from “Dog Biscuit”. « Prashantbhatt’s Weblog

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