More of the same?

 But what of the other, the foreigner, the stranger?

Even the stranger waits for time as time itself waits for no one.

This present does not wait for, does not know the stranger for the stranger is a product of the past: "timing others as the embodiment of the past is, of course, a way of keeping 'them' out while simultaneously suggesting that 'we' gain access to 'our' past through 'them' in ways that enable 'us' to predict their future as our present and imagine our present as more of the same".1

But who are they - these others, these foreigners, these strangers - and how do we know them?

In this land, a massive open space, the stranger might simply be devoured by that space, for the other is always available for consumption. In this land, referenced as a timeless land, the immigrant is continually represented as an embodiment of time, that rupture from which longing begins, that melancholy, that nostaligic impulse which fixes them in the border zones of ambiguity, between the third world and the first, the old and the new. Waiting and wanting a better life, a pathway into the future.

We have no history, no authenticity, no name. We have no roots, just migrations, trajectories and terminals where we arrive.

We terminate. We arrive. We are in a constant state of arrival, using artifice to avoid capture.

It is the act of immigration that forever inscribes the foreign body as immigrant.

It is not the act of immigration, but the act of arrival which renders the body foreign and which forces the subject to experience her/himself as other, as stranger. Until that point of arrival, the migrant might just be another traveller pursuing a trajectory of indeterminate dimensions.

The foreign body is at once seen as transitory and not rooted to any place, yet inextricably linked to a place of origin.

Waiting to arrive. Entering the realm of desire, for completion, to obliterate that lack.

That place is not here, but there.

To have arrived from over there is simply to have arrived from elsewhere - somewhere, not here. Somewhere is nowhere in particular and subsequently, it may be everywhere or anywhere but here which is not there.

Notes

1 Efi Hatzimanolis 'Timing differences and investing in futures in multicultural (women's) writing' in Sneja Gunew and Anna Yeatman, Feminism and the Politics of Difference, Allen and Unwin, Sydney, 1994, p 128