Warning: this article is on immigration, I did succumb, I know.
Hopefully it is just a coping strategy and people are not surprised for real over the recent/ongoing immigration wave to Europe. I know, it is a completely new situation for all of us and getting used to novelty takes time.
But does everyone actually think that the West will keep on living forever from the East, their cheap labour and their restrained political power (how much can one change in a country with no functioning state, with no power)? That people in countries devastated by war, famine, political experiments will just silently continue to suffer, struggle and hope for the best while we are either exploiting their labour, participating in war conflicts in their territories or ignoring them in oblivion?
Looking for solutions outside the we are accepting the unfair order of the world, that people’s destiny is sealed with the moment they are born. That if you happen to be born in Afghanistan you have about 15% chance you will get (provided you are a boy) primary education. That you will probably never be able to leave the country “the legal way” – and that is the moment the people smuggler mafia steps in (I wonder how much has been done in fighting the smugglers prior to 2015? How many people are on the spot, spreading information about living in Europe, etc.?).
It is natural to be afraid, it is also OK to be somehow short-sighted for some time due to a lack of perspective, but I think enough has been said and written and filmed in order for us to overcome the anger and disillusion. The concept of European nation states, social and political security, cultural policy, the concept of European citizenship and refugees, these all are changing, yet the change doesn’t have to be a negative one and this time WE can shape the further scenario, learn from the abroad and the past while looking out into the future, using logic and ethics and bearing in mind principles of humanity.
The solution to the current situation, whatever it is, and yes, we need a solution because no party is happy right now, can have two possible outcomes: it can help us change the world order for once, bridge this discrepancy between the West and the East, North and South, stop us living of the people’s misery which we buy with every top from a high-street brand (or a piece of food we waste). Or the solution we are looking for now – and this solution would include creating Fort Europa and other extreme measures – can deepen this divide even more.
We are celebrating a windy and stormy independence day today, and I cannot stop thinking of those who have less luck than I do. This could be due to my contact with the asylum seekers, or through my travels in Russia, or just due to my own experience with illness and powerlessness, I simply feel that I have become much more aware of the fact that many people (some of the much closer to us than others) are suffering and it is not their fault, not their choice.
One doesn’t really wish for presents on the Independence day, but if I only could wish myself something it would be the wish to make people more aware of others. Give them a chance instead of trap them in poverty and insecurity. You can do much more than you think – buy less, waste less food, try to connect to those fleeing to Europe in a hope of a better life just like I did 10 years ago.