Tuesday, May 5, 2015
Almost every day for a few months now we have witnessed tragic scenes as thousands of refugees are drowned in the Mediterranean. That these people are so desperate to risk this dangerous journey, having paid a great deal of money to unscrupulous ‘human traffickers,’ says much about the lives they are leaving. The criminals who prey on them have much to answer for and there seems to be no end in sight re the people lignin up to come. I have heard estimates of one million waiting in Libya alone. Europe is not united in its response to this human tragedy. The politicians do not have an answer and the people of Europe are also divided in the way they see the issue. Opinions range from ‘humanitarian in nature; those wanting to help and accept the migrants, through to a growing number, who wish to have nothing to do with the ‘arrivals. Political parties are staking their fortunes on their response, hence the rise of extreme policies that would stop the ‘flood at sea,’ well before they arrive on European shores. The next test for that is in day or so as the UK goes to the polls. Expect a rise in numbers voting for parties wishing to tighten up on ‘entry to the UK.’ Europe is not going to be able to ‘fill the needs of this modern day exodus!’ The driving force behind the flow of refugees needs to be addressed. People have always sought new futures; indeed I am the product of such desires, so it would be disingenuous of me to claim that others cannot seek a better future, but the fact remains, that Europe is possibly going to take a stronger stance, given that many European economies are also ‘stretched,’ to say the least. What drives the refugees? One hears the term ‘failed nation states,’ a term that accurately describes swathes of Northern Africa and the Middle East. Political struggle, religious divides and wars and an endemic feature of the region. Look back to not so distant events in Europe to witness similar vast movement of people, so we are not dealing with a new phenomenon, more one that is prevalent at the moment. Can we turn to the obvious body that should be seeking solutions to these issues---the UN? Yes, but it does not have the will or the teeth to bring about solutions. Can we trusts ‘coalition-of-the-willing,’ to find a way forward? No----given the results of recent attempts to solve regional issues, militarily, thereby feeding the rise of extremism, in the form of ISIS Boko Haram and similar groups. Would massive ‘economic aid’ to the ‘countries of origin,’ of the refugees work? Not unless those with the political control can work with their populations to forge a better future. I see little evidence that pouring aid into these countries will deliver hope to the people who need it most. The divisions, both historical and more recent, brought about by a combination of colonization and much older divisions, continues to create barriers to peace. I feel pessimistic about just what the future holds, given the history of both Europe and the regions I am discussing. August bodies like the UE, the UN and other power groupings have failed. Now more sinister groups are attempting to forge their own solutions, ones that will impact on Europe and wreak havoc upon the people beyond the shores of the Mediterranean. Underlying this, are those who gain from such ‘permanent chaos—those who manufacture and sell the ‘arms’ that kill and destroy. They are the real constants in this terrible dilemma. No-one else benefits!