interactive blogging post and you will be ready to hop in and do some damage!
Lots of thanks to those who participated in the first part by reading, commenting, personally giving me ideas and thoughts etc. Specially, few of you have provided very detailed analysis and thoughts to the first post.
However, interesting part is beginning just now!
As you would have guessed already by now, to discuss all the aspects of the problem and discuss all different solutions will require little more than one post. So I'm going to split this across few posts. This will also allow us to gather more feedback (keep them coming please!) and include them in future posts.
As is the fashion of the day, let's start this series by a nice little story...
Long time ago, (even I was a kid those days) we lived near university of Peradeniya, due to some reason or the other lot of my fathers friends from university used to visit us time to time. Most of them were doing there post graduates so they were uncles and aunties to me. When ever I found them planning to leave the country and migrate to some other developed country (which happened very often) I was curious and wanted to know their reasons. Now, this was in like mid to late 80s there were no series problems in the country by then, IPKF havn't come here yet, LTTE was not a such a big monster yet, 87-89 dark days were yet to come.. Still, there were bright and educated minds trying to leave.
A typical coversation went like this :
Me : Uncle, why are you leaving Sri Lanka ?
Them : Well, difficult to do things in here and get things done. Those countries have so many facilities, good pay... etc
Most of the time conversations stopped there, but once in a while I get to talk to someone who is more close and and friendly with me that even I would not hesitate to ask a bold question or two.. When someone like that is on the menu, I would ask the question which was and still is bothering me the most.
Me: But you got your education by free education system, from poor people in a poor country. Don't you have to serve those people first? can't we build this country ? If we all migrate and go to developed countries, 3rd world countries will get even poorer and developed countries will get even richer. When will that stop ? Why don't we try to serve and build up this country instead ?
Now, I may be lot naive there, probably wouldn't have said all those in those exact words as well but that was the problem I had and I was trying to convey it. Now, those folks were generally very good, kind and understanding, even if a kid asked a good question most of them (well, all of them infact) did not ignore me. They really tried to give good answers.
There was only one which really made an impact on me. Only one answer which sounded as a good argument.
Them : Well, important thing is to serve the world isn't it? important thing is to serve the fellow humans and the human race. Why should it matter from exactly which place we deliver that service? we are world citizens. (yes, even in 80s there were people who used that phrase "world citizens". "global village" was yet to appear then)
Convincing answer isn't it ? even to this date this is the most challenging reply I get to this particular question.
However, even in those days I had a little answer ready (or another question really) for just that! I still put that to my friends who making this particular argument for the case of migration. So, I put the same to interactive bloggers..
"If Russians argued like that in 1940s and choose to serve the world from America, Hitler would have still running the world. If English fled and choose to serve from America when Germans have surrounded them in world wars, we would be speaking German now. If our ancient kings fled (well, we were an island so was not easy to flee those days) when mighty invader armies landed here, it would have been a whole different story now."
Well, in short, there are challenges in any country in any period of time, some challenges are greater than others but those who shape the future and build the world are those who fight with those adversaries on the spot and try to make a difference. Those who serve from where they are or (better) from where the need really is, are the heroes.
Now, this struggle may be a long term one, in the case of black Americans, it was a struggle of few generations, in the case of Russians against Hitler or Napoleon it was just a few years but extremely hard few years. In the case of Sri Lanka, we too have won a struggle recently, it was a few hard decades for us. Some times the fight can be brief and short but still a history making one in magnitude! Like the recent threat of nuclear melt down of Japanese reactors, some could have easily choose to serve the world from a safer place (so that they can do a better service uninterrupted :-) ), but there were heroic Japanese workers who chose to risk their lives for others and fought with it, if not for their efforts, it could have been a much bigger disaster for all.
There is a time the fate call for our services. At that time we have a choice to ask "why me?" and run away leaving someone else to do the job. We all have our duties to perform and debts to pay and unique opportunities and responsibilities to serve our communities at times they need our services most. This is how I would argue against that particular argument of serving the world and humanity from a comfortable place where there are less challenges. Very word "serving" means facing the challenge and help where the help is needed.
What do you think ?
The issue of migration and brain drain for developing countries is not a simple black white issue all the time. What we have discussed here is just one case (we could be wrong as well!), this may not apply for all cases. That's why we are splitting this discussion for few posts!
Do send in your thoughts/comments/disagreements etc.. We will see where we end up!