Wednesday, September 2, 2015


The images coming from the Mediterranean and Europe are hallucinating.  The lack of a common strategy to deal with the refugee crisis is staggering.  In the end, the new generation of "boat people" is penalized twice:  upon departure and upon arrival, looking for freedom and dying in a truck.

Most are bona fide, some are not.  The EU pretends to stand up for certain values but it ends up bowing to parochial self-interest.  It would nevertheless be unfair to underestimate the legal and bureaucratic chaos at hand and it is understandable that EU members on the "front line" expect some form of burden-sharing from member states which are farther away.

The EU commission has suggested some form of Malthusian "redistribution" amongst all member states but the message remains unheated so far. Only Mrs. Merkel has confronted the ugly side of the realty head-on. The stream of refugees creates trauma and spreads xenophobia in mostly Eastern European member states, which resort to intimidation and other measures that sadly remind us of images we want to forget.  The EU seems as if it were remaking an Iron Curtain between its Eastern and Western flanks. Not that the situation in Western Europe is ideal, far from it. The difference being that there are more signs of compassion in the Western half than the brutal rejection in the East.

The EU Commission is ignored and individual states are trying to deal with this human corridor of the "unwanted" in more humane, organised ways, so that political refugees do not have to be further penalized for the sins of the opportunistic, the nefarious or the economic-minded. The summit in Brussels later this month does not look very promising, given the overall negative attitude from countries such as Hungary, Macedonia or the Czech Republic. Greece, Turkey, Spain and Italy need urgent support, supposedly there is still room for solidarity in the EU.

Schengen--the free movement of persons in the EU--is on trial.  The principle must be maintained but the applications might be asymmetrical.  In certain situations a correction could be considered whereby the "automatic" free-pass might be monitored for non-EU citizens who could be asked to provide credentials regarding cause and effect. This would require proper medical, bureaucratic and housing facilities.  Otherwise, the model of the Calais "jungle" will spread and conditions would be created wherein expectations turn into hatred.
One should never be naive, however, and it can be expected that the wretched serve at times as cover for the felons.

The Southern flank of Europe is becoming a season in hell. Europe has to prove that there is an alternative, indeed. If it fails to do so, intelligently, in a verifiable way, it risks taken in what might become a fifth column inst read, seeking revenge by way of Europe's demise. At times morals should overtake expedience. If the body of the drowned child washing ashore in Bodrum does not break open hearts and minds (which have already preferred to ignore the deaths of hundreds), we have entered the ice age of civilization! At the other hand this tragedy should not hide the contradictions which come with individuals who are diffrently programmed! The clash of civilizations knocks at the gates.

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