My view on migrants, immigrants and those fleeing war.
Immigrants, and immigration are very very touchy subjects this year. Touchy to mean, politically amplified, and like an elephant in the room, socially speaking, a moral ethical blind spot. The subject matter influences a lot of people who hardly talk about it, for various reasons. Often, avoiding the discussion so not to get into an argument. It’s a divisive matter, a tricky one where you should step carefully, like barefoot at night in a garden of hedgehogs.
Unfortunately, the question of immigration, and conditions for gaining citizenship to any country, and/or seeking refuge from war, famine, disaster, have been muddied by highly specialized disinformation artists. “But, they could be terrorists” is a popular negative argument for supporting tough immigration policy. Tough to mean, an end to the free movement of people (Whatever that technically means at any specified moment). Besides the existing border controls and regulations, I think that politically motivated actors have combined a far-right anti-immigration policy, with the popular “war on terror” narrative, such as “All muslims are terrorists”. As blunt as that sounds, I think that’s the size of it. If refugees were coming over in the same numbers from a war torn country in say, 1999, do you think we would have the same kind of public response? Surely we can afford to help 2000 refugees per year, who enter the country illegally?
I would argue that since 9/11, and the war of terror, instigated by Bushware 2.0, the creeping fear of Muslims, and new narrative of the foreign invader has slowly wormed its way into the “will of the people” until now, 18 years later, and the Trump Brexit nightmare, and rise of the right building upon seeds of anti-immigration and anti-muslim rhetoric, stolen from Nazi’s, reinvented by neoliberals. And meanwhile the climate changes, or gets worse. Bad.
“It is easy for these politicians to condemn the gangs of traffickers cashing in on human misery. But our governments could put these gangs out of business and alleviate the mass of human suffering by opening up legal routes to sanctuary, shared fairly across every EU country. Instead of doing this they ramp up fears of the other by clamping down on a few dozen desperate refugees who are trying to reach our shores.–Diane Taylor, Guardian. 1/1/19.
I started this piece of writing due to revisiting a friends blog, Michael Jaidev, since reading the latest pronouncements from British officials concerning refugees on boats, entering the UK illegally. Now I can understand the concern, that “terrorists” at worst, and dirty refugees with no money or skills to offer, at best, are entering the UK illegally. Of course, we should not just let them in to make their own way. But for Christs sake, LOOK! Some but not all of these poor souls are truly fleeing from horrific scenes of war and oppression and hate, crime and death and famine. SOME but not all, of these illegal immigrants really need help. If YOU were to see them I think you would help them, the sense of human connection is strong like that. Yet, from a distance, and through the lens of the Tory led UK Gov, and tabloid media, no such desperation exits. The possibility that they are terrorists is highlighted, and becomes the narrative. “Foreign invaders” as if they were Vikings, here to sack the British isles. I digress, my point…
Michael Jaidev, and his wife, volunteered to go and help refugees in Lesvos, Greece. He travelled there, and went out on boats to both assist those coming ashore, pluck some out of the water, and try to help, meet, greet, show warmth and care. Really, incredible fucking stuff that he and his wife did. He blogged about the entire experience, which you can read for yourself to get all the details of his journey, with pictures and brilliant, insightful feedback about the often harrowing work in service of humanity. Man, Michael, you’re one of the brightest lights I ever had the pleasure of meeting. For context, Michael and I met in the Yucatan, for the 21st December, 2012 celebrations. His volunteering in Lesvos speaks volumes about his character. Visit: https://www.satnamfoundation.org/
Today, 1st January 2019, you can read UK headlines about new waves of immigrants on boats, entering the UK, and quotes from Saijd Javid, fanning flames of confusion, following the tired narrative of fear about immigrants. When, in fact, the numbers of migrants has fallen over the last 2 years, “The number of clandestine arrivals at UK southern coastal ports in 2017-18 was 1,832, a 23% decrease on the 2,366 of these arrivals the previous year.”
“The idea of the Hope Center is to create a stable place for Refugees to arrive and receive hospitality – the ability to make their own tea, serve themselves food, and change clothes in privacy. The hotel can hold 2-300 people at once, and will be set up with hot showers, toilets and space for people to sleep if need be. We will provide refugees with sleeping bags, changes of clothes and basic necessities to help them on their journey.”-M. Jaidev.
Where are the volunteer (or the paid) people on their boats, out there in the cold waters looking to HELP anybody entering the UK in some shoddy boat or vessel. Maybe they have some warm clothes, some food, and maybe, just maybe a bed to sleep in temporarily, until they can be properly processed by the authorities. At help until they are out of clear danger? No? Oh, you mean, we should look after 1, 831 of our own, proper British citizens first, before lending our humanity and charity to some strangers, to some immigrants coming on a boat, who could be anybody, they could be here to blow up a nuclear power station or something, right? Wrong.
When faced with the possibility of saving a human life, and the added IMPACT of saving a refugee, a relative stranger, it sends a powerful message to the world, so go take the torch and carry it into 2019. It’s not difficult to love all sentient beings and prioritize your fellow humans. Help, simply, practically.
Like Michael did. He volunteered to help strangers, fleeing war and murder, fleeing with families and hardly any belongings, to show that some westerners care about them, and what happens to them. Still others feel that, since they may have had a hand in causing the disruptions in their homeland in the first place (back to 9/11 and war on terror) said countries should be the first to offer resources, funds, charity, personel, warm greetings…to those poor victims.
“So, here we are. Is part of me enraged? Yes, everyday. Though it typically turns to sadness as I look around at the current state of humanity. We continue to bomb Syria, displacing millions and killing hundreds of thousands. The profound culture of Tibet continues to slowly die. Civil unrest is rampant throughout Africa. Central America is filled with crooked officials and drug runners. Suicide is now one of the top 10 causes of death for children in the United States. The list goes on.–M. Jaidev
Oh, I hear you at the back shouting “You don’t fucking live in the UK, or by the sea where they come in, so, you can’t tell us nothing from out in Amsterdam mate. Invite em’ into your fckin’ ouse, into your town, into Holland, see how you like it.”
“Bollocks”, I say to that. I live in a city with over 190 different nationalities all getting along very well. There are probably refugees here, but to be honest I don’t care. They’re not blowing shit up and murdering people in the streets. People here have to learn to get along and keep their prejudice tamed, at least on the surface, sure, bubbling underneath Dutch society, and most European countries right now is the dormant immigration nightmare, the horrors of the Muslim invaders, intent on bringing the caliphate state to Europe, as Wilder’s likes to promote. The classic western paranoid nightmare of Oriental invasion. Wilder’s is like the brother of Yannis, and step brother of Stephen Yaxley Lennon, a.k.a Tommy Robinson, fortunately Wilder’s remains less successful with the youth. Let’s leave that in 2018, and move onwards and upwards, show and share some humanity however you can. Help a stranger, be nice. Love all the people.
“I cannot give up on Humanity – as it is my duty to serve this planet and all she creates. I see the possibility for a future where we embrace one another in peace and love. It is your choice to dream what you dream. What do you choose? What kind of world do you wish your children to live in?
Begin dreaming now.–M. Jaidev.