by Dimitris Konstantakopoulos
European societies and EU governments are torn apart by the refugee crisis. On the one hand many people express in practical ways their solidarity with poor and persecuted people risking their lives and sometimes dying, in their effort to find a shelter in Europe. On the other, many are very anxious of the repercussions such a massive influx will have on European societies. Sometimes, this “anger” takes barbarian forms, like when German citizens celebrate the burning of a building for refugees. Or it translates, like in Denmark, into a state policy of robbing refugees.
Both currents of the public opinion have in reality some point (we don’t speak of course about criminal offenses against refugees and immigrants). Refugees and immigrants deserve all our solidarity, if we wish to remain humans. Especially as we supported, or did not oppose enough, military interventions in their countries which made them refugees (or the economic and “climatic” policies which turned them into immigrants). Still, is it really a solution, for them and for us, to have half of the Middle East and Africa emigrate into Europe, in order to avoid the consequences of the disasters we helped accumulate in their countries? We contributed very much to destroy them, are we going now to complete this process with the emigration of their best educated and more active citizens into Europe? What is the right solution to this difficult problem, which is already threatening cohesion and (more and more theoretical) principles, if not the very existence of EU?
It is obvious, in the same time, that both the refugee crisis and the terror threats, and also the generalized confusion about their roots and possible solutions, are used to influence in a radical way European politics, by the very totalitarian forces, like Neoconservatives and their allies, which are mainly responsible for creating them, especially by engineering military interventions in the Middle East, through their influence in the US, French, British and other states and governments. Who could have imagined, only some months ago, that a country like France, the motherland and the symbol of European Liberty, during the last few centuries, would enshrine martial law into its Constitution?
To face the situation, without being destroyed in its fundamentals and keeping its cohesion, unity, possibility of independence, but also its own democracy, Europe has to do two things in the short run. First, organize the accommodation for people having already crossed its borders and do it in an equitable and just way between EU members. Second, exert the necessary pressure on Turkey to stop the influx of more refugees into Europe through Greece. Measures should be taken to help refugees where they are now, waiting for conditions of safe return th their countries are established. Such a policy is now absolutely necessary, but not enough.
We need also to reverse radically course in the Middle East. We need to stop destabilizing any independent Middle Eastern power, we need to help immediately stop the war in Syria and help restore its territorial integrity, we need massive economic help to permit them the reconstruction of the countries we demolished or helped demolish. In the long run we need also to exert the necessary pressure for a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Many people will say that all that is nice but unrealistic, “utopian”. Ok we can try to avoid such policies. But we should be conscious of the real, “realistic” alternative. And the real, “realistic” alternative is to import into Europe the Middle Eastern chaos, permitting, in the same time, to the very same forces they provoked it to continue their destructive work (and in reality to impose their regime) in our continent.