FEEDBACK – The Foundation’s Talks and Debates: the end of hospitality in Europe?

Posted by: on May 15, 2017 | No Comments

In April 2017, Dr. Fabienne Brugère was invited by the Foundation to discuss her latest book, The end of hospitality, Lampedusa, Lesbos, Calais… Where does it end?, and the way Europeans deal with the current migrant crisis, a pure geopolitical, or even political, issue… or a question of morals and ethics?



Dr. Fabienne Brugère answers a question about her book "The end of hospitality, Lampedusa, Lesbos, Calais ... Where does it end?"

Dr. Fabienne Brugère during the Foundation’s Talk and Debate © Sonia Zdorovtzoff – Handicap International

Drawing parallels

In April 2017, Dr. Fabienne Brugère, a philosopher and Professor at Paris 8 University, accepted to take part in one of Handicap International Foundation’s Talks and Debates. During her presentation, she offered a different point of view on a much discussed situation, the current European migrant crisis, drawing her inspiration from a book she had co-signed with another philosopher, Guillaume LeBlanc, and entitled, The end of hospitality, Lampedusa, Lesbos, Calais… Where does it end?.

In this book, the core of her reflection lies in the idea that the current migrant crisis is being handled by politicians, and backed by the public opinion, quite differently from the one of the 1970s, when France welcomed hundreds of thousands of men, women and children fleeing the Fall of Saigon and the invasion of South Vietnam by the Viet Cong.

Currently, Western States indeed show unwillingness to welcome refugees and migrants alike, in line with what they perceive as the general public opinion. On the contrary, in the 1970s, the general opinion, as reflected, and maybe influenced, by the commitment of famous intellectuals from the left- and right-hand side of the political spectrum, like Jean-Paul Sartre or Raymond Aron, were in favor of welcoming those whose lives were unmistakably at stake.

Nowadays refugees and migrants receive little help and support in France whether it is from the political parties or the national and local authorities. One can only note that a handful of French, ordinary people, sometimes grouped together in a non-profit, and a few elected local officials, are involved in grassroots movements. Created out of necessity, these movements step in where the State failed, in the hope of helping the most vulnerable.


Providing a philosophical perspective on a much debated situation

Dr. Fabienne Brugère, with her philosophical background, was able to shed a new light on the current situation. For instance, according to her, the European crisis we are now experiencing shows a lack of political commitment but not necessarily a lack of morals and ethics, as she opposes the State’s and officials’ decisions to the ones of individuals.

Moreover, she encourages the use of “refuge seekers” instead of the one of “refugees” as it better stresses these individuals’ needs rather than their status. Once again, here the emphasis is put on the people rather than on the institutions, which seem to lag behind. Eventually, Dr. Brugère reminded the audience that the word “host” refers to the person hosting as well as the one who is being hosted… a subtle way of underlining the universality of the human condition.


To watch Dr. Fabienne Brugère’s intervention and the ensuing debate, please, click here.


Cover of Fabienne Brugère's book

La fin de l’hospitalité, Lampedusa, Lesbos, Calais … Jusqu’où irons-nous? de Fabienne Brugère et Guillaume LeBlanc, 18€.