Thursday, October 15, 2015

Solidarity without borders

850,000 people applying for asylum in Europe this year really do not amount to very much on a total population of half a billion Europeans. The numbers also pale in comparison to the 4 million registered Syrian refugees in the region (Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt), or the 7.5 million internally displaced. Syria’s tiny neighbor Lebanon alone has taken in 1.3 million refugees – on a local population of 4 million.

Capitalism's wars, poverty and persecution remain the principal drivers of migration  through foreign interventions, predatory financial and commercial practices, and support for authoritarian regimes across Africa, Central Asia and the Middle East. We will soon be able to add  climate change to this list.

If Europe really wants refugees and migrants to stop coming in “illegally” on inflatable dinghies and overloaded fishing boats, many dying in the process, it could arrange secure safe passage to those fleeing war, poverty and persecution. Nobody would pay in excess of 1.000 euros per head for a life-endangering boat journey across the Mediterranean if they could apply for their papers and permits abroad and pay 200 euros for a commercial flight to their destination of choice. 

Perhaps all the peoples' histories may be different but our future is common.

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