“The flow of refugees from Africa and the Middle East into Western Europe has provoked a set of reactions strikingly similar to those we display on learning we have a terminal illness, according to the schema described by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in her classic study On Death and Dying. First there is denial: ‘It’s not so serious, let’s just ignore it’ (we don’t hear much of this any longer). Then there is anger – how can this happen to me? – which explodes when denial is no longer plausible: ‘Refugees are a threat to our way of life; Muslim fundamentalists are hiding among them; they have to be stopped!’ There is bargaining: ‘OK, let’s decide on quotas; let them have refugee camps in their own countries.’ There is depression: ‘We are lost, Europe is turning into Europastan!’ What we haven’t yet seen is Kübler-Ross’s fifth stage, acceptance...”
When I started reading the article “The Non-Existence of Norway” on LRB Online · 9 September 2015... I was just amazed and thought to myself “This is the best analogy I have ever read!” It described the situation so perfectly.
Of course, I right away checked the name. Who had written this? It was Žižek. Slavoj Žižek. The Slovenian philosopher. Or “psychoanalytic philosopher, cultural critic, and Hegelian Marxist” as Wikipedia calls him. Or “Elvis of cultural history” as he has been dubbed.
I had heard of him, but had not really gone into reading him. When I bumped on this piece about migration, I dag into him too. I do that. I read almost everything what they have written, what people have written about them once someone comes into my circle of interest.
Anyway... The piece which started out so wonderfully, went on logically, then deviated horribly!
“What should be done? Public opinion is sharply divided. Left liberals express their outrage that Europe is allowing thousands to drown in the Mediterranean: Europe, they say, should show solidarity and throw open its doors. Anti-immigrant populists say we need to protect our way of life: foreigners should solve their own problems. Both solutions sound bad, but which is worse? To paraphrase Stalin, they are both worse.”
It's logical to conclude that they are both worse. I accept, open borders is not an easy task given the current situation and the political order of the world. However, I believe there is no way around open borders. It's a moral imperative and if there is somebody to pay the price, we are the ones to pay it. As both are worse, the thing to do is to set up a policy based on principles. And that principle has to get rid of perhaps the biggest crime in the history of mankind: #InjusticeAtBirth
As I wrote in“The case for #FreedomOfMovement is clear – let’s start planning now” the case for Open Borders is clear. We simply need to accept it as Žižek so precisely makes the analogy with acceptance of our immortality. The sooner we accept it, the lesser the damage we will cause.
Žižek, however, deviated from this perfect analysis when he went on saying:
“The greatest hypocrites are those who call for open borders. They know very well this will never happen: it would instantly trigger a populist revolt in Europe. They play the beautiful soul, superior to the corrupted world while continuing to get along in it.”
I'm sorry, as someone who practically calls for open borders, I fiercely reject this accusation! He is the one in denial, I know very well that it will happen! There is no way things will go on like this. Movement is a natural human force. It cannot be stopped or controlled. Eppur si muoveranno...
But yes, he is right about the fact that it would trigger a revolt. That's why we need to accept it as soon as possible and start discussing how to make it happen instead of losing time and energy over who is a migrant who is a refugee and what are our international obligations. Let's have the tiniest bit of a brain.
And yes, we continue to get along in this corrupted world. Žižek is right about that too. But that's because we are obliged, that because states have the police force, not because we like it. I personally cannot stand national sovereignty being above humans. I cannot be a spectator to all this. That's why I spend my time attached to this stupid computer reading and writing about migration and freedom of movement instead of writing my travel books, writing my fictional memoir or playing around with my sweet 5 year-old daughter, or simply going out in my garden and enjoying the beautiful day and the sunshine.
If there are any hypocrites, they are the ones saying #RefugeesWelcome They pretend they care about the sick and the elderly, they are the good souls. It's only their generosity and their ego. They expect gratitude in return.
If you haven't read it, read the Guardian article “The Ungrateful Refugee” written by Dina Nayeri:
Here is an excerpt:
“In Amsterdam, I got to know Iranian refugees who didn’t have my kind of luck with their asylum applications. One man in our community set himself on fire in Dam Square in 2011. He had lived in Amsterdam for a decade, following their rules, filling out their papers, learning their culture, his head always down. He did all that was asked of him and, in the end, he was driven to erase his own face, his skin.
Remembering Kambiz Roustayi, a man who only wanted a visa, his family and his own corner of the world, I want to lash out at every comfortable native who thinks that his kind don’t do enough. You don’t know what grateful is, I want to say. You haven’t seen a young man burn up from despair, or an old man faint on a football field from relief and joy, or a nine-year-old boy sing the entire Marseillaise from memory. You don’t know how much life has already been spent settling into the cracks of your walls. Sometimes all that’s left of value in an exile’s life is his identity. Please stop asking people to rub out their face as tribute.”
Enough! Enough of this torture of people because of their birthplace. Enough!
Yes, I may be pretending to have high morals as well. Maybe I am. But even if so, let's pretend to have the moral high ground on a principle of justice. It's certainly much better than all the other states of mind!
Or let's admit our selfishness and let's stop the real hypocrisy: let's stop pretending justice. That's fine with me too.
* The Real Dreamers
I have changed my mind. Yes, I want applause.
If Oxford professors write such unbearable articles and they get published in the Guardian, if they get published at the Washington Post, if they give speeches at TEDSummit and get a standing ovation, if “refugee crisis activists” give TED Talks, I want applause too.
No, I correct. I believe the things I write and say deserve applause too. What do I care about applause for myself, I want to hear the things I say repeated. I want my articles to be published and retweeted and shared and talked about. I want to spread my ideas too!
I want to know there are people out there who believe in the same things I do, who see things the way I see them. Is that too strange to ask or to want? I mean there are people who want open borders. But they want it for other reasons. I just wish Steve Cohen was alive. Still... There are people who think like me. I know. I want to connect to them. I want the sense of community. I long for that sense of community. I need to get out there and do stuff, get involved. But I am stuck here in the countryside of Rome with a small child. I feel crippled! The only way for me to connect right now is through the internet, and that doesn't seem to be working.
Anyway... When the time comes, it will happen. Nothing is found searching for it, if not for serendipity.
“What do I have? I don't have anybody apart from you. You are the only one I can get along with. And that's only because of you!” I cried. “Not because of me. You are the one who gets along with me!”
That actually was an accusation against my husband who gets along with everyone; at the same time, a stone at myself as I know I am not easy to get along with. I try people. I push them hard. Only the ones who succeed can get close. And that has been only one so far.
“You are a unique and special person,” replied my husband. “Everybody has different traits.”
He knows how to boost your ego. He doesn't hit everybody on the head like me.
In the talk “Former CIA Officer Will Teach You How to Spot a Lie” when Susan Carnicero said:
What would you say if you went to a work interview and they asked you “Have you had any arguments with a supervisor?”
I gave a hearty laugh! I would just say “Have I ever not had an argument with anyone I worked with!” That's my trait! Not getting along with anyone.
Carnicero continued answering her own question: “You'd hear everything about how good an employee they are, but you wouldn't get an answer to your question.”
Well, people get answers from me alright. Even though they generally are answers they do not like. Perhaps I hold people up to a very high standard as some keep telling me. I expect the same precision and care I show people. And that's difficult to find. Yet, some people find those people.
Sometimes it really hurts. To be so alone... Even so, I'm grateful that I have my husband at least. And my daughter of course. Even though she needs to grow up some more to keep me intellectual company.
But I am so used to disillusion. I should know not to care.
Yet, there are things I seem to never learn. We cannot change our natures much. We just learn how to live without getting ourselves too much broken. That's it.
The Moody Blues, Melancholy Man...
I'm a melancholy man.
That's what I am,
All the world surrounds me,
And my feet are on the ground.
I'm a very lonely man,
Doing what I can,
All the world astounds me,
And I think I understand.
That we're going,
To keep growing,
Wait and see.
When all the stars are falling down,
Into the sea and on the ground,
And angry voices carry on the wind.
A beam of light will fill your head,
And you'll remember what's been said,
By all the good men this world's ever known.
Another man is what you'll see,
Who looks like you and looks like me,
And yet somehow he will not feel the same.
His life caught up in misery,
He doesn't think like you and me,
'Cause he can't see what you and I can see.
Last night someone retweeted my post “Protest and Sacrifice.” I had a look. She had only 6 followers. “Anyway, it's still something,” I thought to myself.
“It's a Russian,” Carlo said. He had come over to look when I made the announcement that somebody retweeted me. You see, it's a big thing in the house. That anybody gets me seriously!
I didn't dwell on it much. Only later during the night, when I was tired of writing and wanted to take a break looking around on the internet, I went in to have a look at who the person retweeting me was.
And my shoulders, along with my soul, literally sank.
I have had enough. There really was no point in going on with this stupid thing of trying to get my voice heard in the cacophony of the internet. People were not interested anyway. I don't know why they were following me, I had reached 115 followers at one point. Some people and organizations came and went, came back again and went again. I understand. Sometimes somethings attract you, then they seem a waste of time. As for the others who stayed... Probably they got interested at one point, but not too much, just clicked the “Follow” button and then did not bother at all to read or to actually follow. I understand that too. It's a tough competition out there. So many people vying for our attention, too many “friends” on social media, too many events going on both in the world and in our daily lives. Impossible to catch up with all.
Still... I expected just one person at least. One person to be really interested in my project, in the things I say. I expected that from my so called “friends” or “followers”. This was a Pinned Tweet put up there exactly one month ago. I was asking for people to RT. Nobody did.
I was infuriated and indignant. It really was time to stop this imbecilic effort to try to get attention on the internet for the things I say.
“Nice! What nice, it's wonderful! Only one person retweeted this & it's a Russian sex girl to get attention. I guess it's time for me to QUIT!”
I wrote and went on to send a message on FB. People there were even worse. People whom I have no idea of who they are sent me requests of friendship. I feel like telling them: “Hello, thank you very much for wanting to be friends. Let's be friends, but who are you? I guess you probably know something about me, why don't you introduce yourselves?” I mean I am upset at the discourteous ways of the internet. Call me old-fashioned, but I expect people to at least write a short message to me saying how they came across me, what they think of the things I say before asking for “friendship.” Even the people I know... They are school friends from long long ago. I haven't heard from them for 30 years. Then, all of a sudden, because of Facebook, they reappear. Fine, but at least say “Hi” and ask what I have been up to, how I am doing etc. No; no need for that. They just click the “send a friendship request” button, we become friends. Virtual friends. Are they worth anything? Do they even read anything I post, are they interested at all? No, not really. So why are we friends?? Why? I do not want virtual friends, I want real ones. I do not want followers who do not follow either.
Don't get me wrong, I don't expect anybody to read my long and heavy articles. I do not want them to “like” either. One friend keeps putting a like on all my posts. But I'm not sure if he reads any of my articles. “Like” is not enough for me, it's not of use to anybody. Besides, thankfully, I do not need to be liked; my husband has liked me and likes me, that's enough. What I need are people who will spread my ideas and my project to burn passports, people to support me materially and morally. Where are they?
If there is no one, then I am out of this game. Out of this social media. I write my articles, publish them on my website, I play on my own. I have more than enough fun writing, and satisfaction by publishing them on the spot. There is no disappointment there.
“Don't worry, we get retweeted by Russians too as Infocamere,” my husband tried to console me this morning when I was once again expressing my infuriation and disillusion.
“Yes, but you get retweeted by others too!” I said. My disappointment would not have been so great if anybody had retweeted or shared what I wrote. It's really upsetting. It really is.
In the article “Pope Francis calls refugee centers concentration camps; Jewish group says there’s no comparison” (April 23, 2017) Cleve R. Wootson Jr. from The Washington Post writes:
In Greece, Interior Minister Panagiotis Kouroublis, touring the Idomeni camp on the border with Macedonia, compared it to a concentration camp. Idomeni was where a photo emerged of two Syrian parents washing their newborn baby, Bayan, in a puddle.
“I do not hesitate to say that this is a modern-day Dachau, a result of the logic of closed borders,” he said. “Whoever comes here takes several blows to the stomach.”
I haven't been to any refugee camp or any detention center; yet, I get a blow in my stomach every time I read anything about migrants.
What would happen if they let loose those people? Let everybody go wherever they wish. Our comfort would be perturbed, let it be. Seriously, let hell break loose. This is hell for so many people. Let it be hell for us too. I mean of course I don't want hell for myself. I am no masochist. I want to go on living my life free from hassle. But I want the same thing on behalf of everybody.
Let's not pretend. As Pope Francis says these are “discarded people”.
Say it openly, this is Nazi Germany. This is eugenics. Just of a different kind. Those who were born poor or those who were unlucky enough to have war break where they lived, who had natural disasters, who were targets of racial hatred... they are randomly “killed” by states who have imposed borders and employ border controls. The only difference between a direct genocide and migrant deaths being in the randomness of it, people being “killed” not in concentration camps but while trying to move around the world they were born on, and their being killed by “nature”, i.e. drowning at sea, or suffocating while hiding under trucks... Yet, the main, the root reason for their deaths is the same: Borders. So big big people who are running countries can pretend to be busy doing a serious job: that of protecting their borders and wring their hands off of these deaths. They have the “international laws” on their side.
In fact, the Pope has made a concentration camp analogy to refugee centers. And David Harris, the chief executive of the American Jewish Committee said “Precision of language and facts is absolutely essential when making any historical reference...” Well... I agree with him. But not only when making any historical reference, precision of language and facts is always absolutely essential.
I'm sorry, if you call the death of Armenians a genocide when they were forced from their homes during harsh winter conditions, you have to call what is going on today by the same name. Even if you don't call migrant deaths genocide, killing is killing. Just don't pretend to be doing things according to some “rules” and “laws” you have set. Just don't. The deaths of tens of thousands in the Mediterranean and elsewhere, deaths of migrants are the collateral damage of (Y)our borders. All political leaders of the world have blood on their hands, whether by will or by consequence, makes no difference.
In the Guardian article “Human migration will be a defining issue of this century. How best to cope?” subtitled “Whether they are fleeing armed conflict or economic deprivation – or both – people will continue trying to cross borders in search of a decent life, and the global community needs to address this” (20 September 2015) Alexander Betts writes:
“States continue to pursue the politically expedient fiction that they can unilaterally assert sovereign control over immigration but the reality is more complex.”
Sovereign control over immigration is an expedient fiction alright. If only people knew and accepted this. It's true that the reality is more complex too. Just as the reality about open borders would be too, and I accept that.
“Throughout the crisis, a debate has been on whether it is a “migrant” or a “refugee” crisis. It has been important for the public to understand that most people coming to Europe have been from refugee-producing countries and that “refugees” have a particular set of rights under international law. Furthermore, people have a right to seek asylum, and have their claims to refugee status adjudicated.”
Yes, exactly. We are just losing time and energy over a, sorry again but, stupid definition and discussing if we have an obligation to this person or not. This is ridiculousness and idiocy at its premium, at its utmost top! Instead of arguing over this, just focus on the real issue and do something about a real problem, do something helpful. Something that will be of use to someone. Immigration officers trying to assess people's situation, immigration lawyers spending time and energy to defend people, and those people spending money and going through so much hardship... This is really c-r-a-z-y. Trying to distinguish if people are “genuine” refugees or economic migrants, spending so much time, money, resources on such a task is INSANITY in capital letters. And the world is run by people who believe in such a thing. People who have set up such a system. People who are devoid of all logic and reason and people who kill all logic and reason.
How do people “prove” that their lives was under threat in their country of origin? What documents do they need to provide? How do they prove they are atheists who were persecuted? Do they need to “demonstrate” they are homosexuals? How does one prove they belong to the persecuted minority groups, how do you prove your faith, the faith which is only in one's heart?
Who cares if a person is a refugee or an economic migrant? I mean if you want to distinguish and help accordingly, do it on a personal level; individuals may choose to help someone or not, but what business is it of the state? Be they refugees or simply migrants, these are all people who are in need of a decent life, obviously. A life we all want for ourselves.
“The world as a whole lacks a vision for how to respond to the changing nature of displacement. So much of the current “crisis” is not a crisis of numbers but a crisis of politics. We need bold leadership that correctly and honestly articulates the causes of movement and outlines global solutions.”
Yes, it's true we need bold leadership. We need bold leadership to confess this classifying people into nationhood, this setting up borders has all been an insanity. An insanity, I don't know, caused by some sort of virus injected into our bloods by aliens who want to ruin our world... I mean even such an explanation makes more sense than believing that we are run by “leaders” who truly believe in this thing they are doing. Any person with the tiniest bit of a brain should be able to see the insanity of all that is happening in the world today. Putting money on walls, fences, police, security instead of humans and infrastructure. Seriously... Any person with the tiniest bit of a brain would see the insanity of their rules and regulations and laws and conventions.... Any person with the tiniest bit of a brain really would...
Unfortunately, that tiniest bit of a brain seems to have been hijacked or put out of order by aliens. Yes yes, evil aliens with bad intentions must be interfering with the minds of the world population. There is no other explanation of how we can be in such a state given the brains that produce the technology of today.
Or, of course, this world is simply a dream. That I will be waking up from one day... I'll take a deep breath and say “Wheeeew! That was so intense! Sure glad it is over and it was all just a dream.”
“Why denying refugees the right to work is a catastrophic error”... That's the title of the article in the Guardian of 22 March 2017, written by Paul Collier and Alexander Betts.
Big big people, professors at Oxford University write such articles. With all due respect to their knowledge and expertise... I am appalled! I am appalled at the... I don't want to say this but for lack of a more appropriate word... the idiocy of it all!
Is this a serious piece? It is. I am afraid it is. I know it is and I am appalled.
Two professors at Oxford University wrote this piece and a highly respectable newspaper, the Guardian, published it. There is nothing wrong with it, they are just defending the rights of migrants or rather refugees, right? Sure, they are. However, they are also accepting a ridiculous status-quo as the norm, they are basing their arguments on an outrageous premise: The premise that people can be “not allowed” to work!
Is “the right to work” really any argument to take seriously??? Can there be such a thing? I mean there is... but is it something acceptable in the first place? It is an oxymoron. Just like Freedom of Movement, Freedom to Live in Stables, Freedom to Breathe...
We have 193+2 Big Brothers telling us what we can do. If we can go into their “holy” territory, if we can work, if we can go to the hospital, if we can go to the toilet...
Yes, we are 5 year-old school-children who have to get permission to pee!
Why denying anybody the “right” to work is total madness?
Why denying anybody the “right” to work is being a total asshole?
Sorry for the curse word. But it really is. And I really cannot understand why everybody does not see this. How is it possible that people don't see something which is so transparently clear to me? Or how is it possible that people just look away? How is it possible they sugarcoat, or say these things so “politely” so “lightly”? “Why denying refugees the right to work is a catastrophic error...” Is this political-correctness? F... political correctness. Let's all be politically wrong but morally right.
Ok, they have used a strong adjective: catastrophic. But what are they defining with that word? Mistake. So “denying the right to work” is simply a mistake according to these two Oxford professors!
Why even the concept of a “right to work” is so unacceptable, why such a thing can and should be reason enough to overthrow states?
These should be the correct title of any piece! We are living in a total totalitarian world. And people criticize Erdoğan: “Oh he is authoritarian, oh he is getting into the sultan state of mind, oh he is putting people in jail.” Yes, these may all be correct, or at least have partial truth in them. But no state, let me repeat, no state is any better in my eyes. And YOU, my dears, are putting people in pens, putting people who have done nothing wrong apart from wanting to go someplace on the world that they were born in, you have NO RIGHT to criticize anybody. You are NOT in a position to look from above and say “Ah but these states are bad.” You, the leaders of any state, are all the same kind. (Safe from, I guess Ecuador, which accepts all refugees, and Uganda, which lets people work, and the Vatican, where the Pope is trying, but only trying, to defend migrants.) It's just that some of you put on a nicer face by make-up, that's it. And it's so sad but most people do not see your real ugly face behind that make-up.
“Inevitably, many of those directly affected by it become disillusioned.”
Disillusion disillusion... That's my life. Full of disillusion in people, in institutions. It's either how the managers of “big” companies, editors of “big” newspapers, people who have graduated from best schools behave. No ethics, no logic... No care or attention. This is the world we live in. We don't have time for people, we don't have time for thinking, we do everything superficially.
Collier and Betts write:
Concentrated in a small number of host countries, close to war zones, displaced people have been settled in what have become known as “humanitarian silos”.
Then they say “This strategy undermines autonomy and dignity.”
Just this strategy? Does just this strategy undermine autonomy and dignity?! What about the strategy of blocking certain parts of the world to some people just because of their birthplace? What about requiring visas, requiring work permits, imposing so many fees and bureaucratic paperwork in order to achieve these? What about the police force they use against people who simply want to do normal daily stuff to live? Don't these undermine autonomy and dignity just as much?
“We need to rethink the humanitarian silo. What are the key rights that refugees are entitled to?”
What are the key rights that refugees are entitled to????!!
Oh, right, I forget, you (states) are the ones bestowing rights!
What are the basic human acts that everybody is entitled to? What are those? What does a decent human life entail?
Let's discuss if anybody, or any higher authority has any right in the first place to block or redirect these acts! Let's discuss that first. That is the only thing to discuss. That is the root of the problem.
“For conflicts that persist, integration into another society is necessary: people cannot be left in permanent limbo.”
People cannot be left in permanent limbo! Ah, thank you. People cannot be herded like sheep and told where they can dwell and graze in the first place.
Or can they? Should they be?
Maybe that's where I make a mistake. Make the mistake...
“There has been a polarisation of politics. The right has become more rightwing, the left more leftwing and the centre ground has been decimated. In Europe, the far right is on the rise. Then there is Donald Trump as US president. Across the entire political spectrum, there has been a lurch towards nativism, and populist nationalism has become the common currency of democratic politics.”
Yes, and you feed these people by your “soft”, carefully not trying to go against anybody, or rather not to go against states or the status-quo attitude...
“The challenge now is to consider ways to address alienation and fear.”
“Yes,” I thought at first when I read that sentence. “Finally, a totally correct sentence I can agree on.” But no, that is again misworded. The challenge now is how to stop politicians and some media pumping up alienation and fear. How to expose their biggest lie... The lie that we are separated into our nationhoods.
“Politicians face the dilemma of how to reconcile democracy and refuge in ways that can take majoritarian politics with them.”
Oh democracy again... that word I loathe.
But yes, taking majoritarian politics is important. I have to give that one. You may say all the correct things, you will never succeed or get anywhere. In fact, that's what happens to people who talk sense. They get ignored. Their ideas are not noisy and not popular as they are not mainstream.
“Opinion polls tell us that public concern about asylum is not about numbers; it is about a perceived loss of control.”
Loss of control... Good point. People want control. Perhaps they want control that is too unrealistic, too superficial. They don't want to accept that life cannot be controlled.
“It makes sense to protect most refugees close to home.”
It makes sense... Ah, does it?
Does it make sense to let people go wherever they wish, does that make any sense to you? Or does this, states having the right to dictate and decide who can go where make sense to you? I am afraid it's the latter.
“These rights are in the 1951 Convention on the Status of Refugees.”
We are still at a convention written in 1951. 1951! That is almost 70 years ago. Okay, let's be specific and say 66 years ago. The world we live in today is not the same as even that of 10 years ago. And you are stuck in 1951! Seriously... Come to your senses... Whoever the “leaders” of this world are! “Oh, some of our former colleagues wrote this convention back in the day. See? How we are obliged to obey that.”
Ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous. Nothing but ridiculous!
There is so much effort put into distinguishing between refugees and migrants, plus the sub-categories that it's unbelievable!
In the booklet of the Refugee Council “Tell it like it is- The truth about Refugees and Asylum- Separating the facts from the fiction” it says:
“The 1951 Refugee Convention guarantees everybody the right to apply for asylum.
It has saved millions of lives.
No country has ever withdrawn from it.”
Withdraw from it! All of you, withdraw from it. But also take your dirty hands off of people going about their ordinary lives as well.
“The denial of the right to work has had catastrophic consequences for many refugees, leading to a long-term erosion of skills and aspirations, and often exacerbating a sense of alienation and hopelessness.”
Yes, that sense of alienation and hopelessness, that erosion of skills and more importantly aspirations is another biggest crime all states commit against humanity.
By the way, about the right to work... Work will change its meaning soon. But in the meantime, let people do whatever they can. Just let them.
I mean it's not as if I am asking for a special thing from governments/states. It's not as if they have to go out of their way to help anybody, to find them work etc. It's that they go out of their way to block people from moving. They go out of their way, they sick the police on them to not let them work! Can you believe it??
“If our duty is to restore the lives of displaced people to something as close to normality as possible, reestablishing their autonomy should be high on the agenda.”
If our duty is to restore the lives of displaced people... Our duty is not to restore, our first duty should be to not allow governments, higher authorities to infringe the rights of anybody on this planet.
“Rarely have economists thought about refugees. The dominant assumption has been that they are are a humanitarian matter, and so studies have been led by lawyers and anthropologists.”
Oh no no. Economists think about refugees. They claim refugees will be good for the economy. They are after their own interests... They see people as commodities to be used to other people's ends.
“It makes economic sense to begin to break down arbitrary boundaries to refugees’ economic participation.”
See? That's exactly what I was talking about. The authors of this piece do the same thing. People argue with the fact of economic sense. They do not mention the senselessness and the insolence of states to impose a block on people to work. They accept the status quo as the “normal”. As if there is anything normal about it! As if there is any sense in it in the first place.
Arrggghhhh! I am literally pulling out my hair at this point. Do I really want to go on reading this piece??
“We need to change how we think about refugees’ needs.”
We need to change the way we classify people according to where they come from. We need to change how we think about states' rights. And instead focus on the rights of humans.
“How can we move from a focus on vulnerabilities towards recognising and building their capacities? Rather than seeing refugees as an inevitable burden, how can we find ways in which they can be a benefit?”
Yes, how? First of all, you need to change your vocabulary. When you label someone a “refugee” you are degrading them to a needy person. You cannot move away from a focus on vulnerabilities as long as you keep using that label “refugee”. Vulnerability is inside the definition. The response is automatic. Ah, that is of course, given that you accept them to be “genuine” refugees, if you do not see them as “economic migrants” or “welfare leeches” or any other degrading term some people use.
Oh yes, I bet people love being refugees, they love obtaining refugee status, they love being classified as “refugees” instead of being individuals with a name.
A name of their own! Well... That should be the title of one of my books if I can get around to write it from dealing with such ludicrous arguments as “the right to work”. We have to move a step forward. I can understand the general “public”, the “common” man, but Oxford professors??!... I'm really sorry. My shoulders sink, I am disheartened.
I seek refuge in chocolate. It doesn't help. It is just a way of self-harm. I imagine making a cut on my leg with a knife... Diabetes is at least a sweeter harm and is unbloody.
“Instead of being viewed as just passive victims of humanitarian disaster, how might they be seen as potential agents of development?
This requires a vision.”
Yes yes, it all requires a vision. It requires a vision to see that everybody should have “equal” access to the Earth we are all born on! It requires a vision to see that states have hijacked a basic right and we, I mean most people, are recognizing that right of states but not of people! We are all complicit in this crime.
“few are able to access formal work permits, either because they are prohibitively expensive or because of the restrictive bureaucratic process.”
Ah yes, here comes another lovely part! Work permits! You have to pay an extortion fee to the bandit called the state in order to be able to work!
How can I make that more ridiculous??
Ah yes, there is also all the bureaucratic paperwork, it doesn't finish with just paying the extortion fee. Not so simple folks... Know your place! You are the rat in the maze.
“When pushed to offer greater economic participation to refugees, Jordan has generally responded with two big concerns, relating to development and security.
One concern relates to competition for economic resources. In particular, Jordanians are worried about competition for jobs, downward pressure on wages, upward pressure on house prices, and the depletion of natural resources such as water.”
Those are not concerns only for Jordan, they are concerns for any population receiving refugees or migrants. They are legitimate concerns too. But if we are not going to call for genocide or the random killing of babies at the moment they are born, then we have to find a way, a solution to live together. Somehow...
It's either we all float or we all sink.
“One finds pockets of extraordinary resilience and innovation among the Syrian refugee community in Jordan. In the Zaatari refugee camp, home to around 80,000 Syrians, there is no right to work and all economic activity is supposed to be highly regulated by the government. But creativity abounds. The bustling main market street known as the Shams-Élysées – a play on words that references the Paris shopping district and the historic name for Syria – is lined with shops and small businesses. Despite strict access controls at the entrance to the camp, seemingly every product imaginable – from cosmetics to textiles to pharmaceuticals to pets – can be purchased here.
Innovation is on display in other ways. All refugee households are given a caravan, usually made from an old shipping container, to live in. Yet many of these caravans are reconverted: they might be moved across the camp, become shops along the Shams-Élysées or converted into furniture. A black-market construction trade smuggles bricks and cement into the camp, enabling further upgrades and extensions. Across the camp, one finds endless illustrations of inventiveness and entrepreneurship: urban gardening, striking murals and community-led journalism, to name just a few.
While some of this informal activity is tolerated, most is formally prohibited and selectively dismantled. The Jordanian police make occasional raids to shut down some forms of business, either because they have become too large, or for more vindictive reasons. Meanwhile, irrational contradictions pervade camp life: hundreds of Jordanian teachers are employed at great expense to teach Syrian children according to the Jordanian national curriculum, while hundreds of qualified Syrian teachers are left idle. The suppression and neglect of skills, talents and aspirations benefits nobody. What if instead refugees were allowed to join the labour market?”
Yeah what if?... What a great idea! Just allow refugees to join the labour market.
What if governments all around the world took their dirty hands off of people when the only thing they do is go about their own business living a normal life or rather trying to live a normal life? What about that??
I read articles about the Italian village thriving because of migrants: “Refugees bring dying Italy village back to life” by Fanny Carrier from AFP.
There is a photo with the caption “Migrants from Senegal and Niger joke with the waitress in the main bar of Sant' Alessio in Aspromonte, a small village of 330 inhabitants in Calabria”
The piece starts with “In the foothills of the Aspromonte mountains in southern Italy, the silence of a once-dying village is broken by the laughter of a small group of refugees.” It goes on giving information about the project and tells the remark of an elderly man: "They behave well. They live independent lives but often lend a helping hand."
“Sitting in the sunshine and watching the world go by from his front garden, 89-year old Antonio Sacca -- who spent 54 years working in a Turin factory before returning home -- says he likes his new neighbours.”
I read the French opening up their chateau... “French village opens its chateau as home from home for refugees” on UNHCR website by Céline Schmitt.
Gerard Dubois, the mayor of Pessat-Villeneuve, the small village in central France says “Hatred is noisy. Solidarity is quiet but inspiring and effective.”
Then I read the comments. Some people mention how awful it has become in Australia, that there are Sudanese gangs on the beaches in daylight etc. Then, of course, there are those pieces in certain newspapers tarring refugees and migrants, calling them cockroaches, talking about being swarmed, telling how they bring diseases, they rape, they steal etc.
I understand the well-meaning efforts of UNHCR and others trying to paint all refugees/migrants as contributors to society. But why can't they be objective and say that there are bad ones too?
Don't get me wrong. I just love the picture that these stories portray:
“The village is currently home to an Iraqi Kurdish family, a Gambian couple with a baby and young people from Ghana, Nigeria, Mali and Senegal.” I love this idea of people from so different places coming together.
Then you read this:
“There is a special project for the most vulnerable, including HIV-positive people, diabetics, victims of prostitution networks, a deaf and dumb couple, and a young woman whose toddler son was shot dead in Libya and husband is feared drowned.”
And you are once again reminded of all the things people are going through. You feel you need to lend a hand.
Gerard Dubois even received death threats after proposing to open up the chateau owned by the town council to refugees. He says “I would have resigned if the decision to open the accommodation centre had been ‘no’.”
I admire such people with such integrity, and I am very glad to know of their existence in this world.
On the other hand, I also understand the people objecting to migrants, being afraid etc. But why can't they accept it's not every migrant who is bad? Why can't they understand even if the situation is so it's our society and conditions that forces, or okay, let me not even say force- but is a trigger to these acts?
In any group, it's obvious that there are going to be the bad ones and the good ones. Why can't any side be neutral and true to reality?
I understand, we all want to confirm our biases whenever we read something. Still... Why can't we just be objective?
Why do we have to beautify or beastify? Of course, if you want to generalize, it's better to paint people with the same brush instead of tainting them with the same brush. But in the end, people are people. We are all the same. Good and bad.
"People are people so why should it be
You and I should get along so awfully
So we're different colours
And we're different creeds
And different people have different needs
It's obvious you hate me
Though I've done nothing wrong
I never even met you
So what could I have done
I can't understand
What makes a man
Hate another man
Help me understand
People are people so why should it be
You and I should get along so awfully
Help me understand
Now you're punching and you're kicking
And you're shouting at me
I'm relying on your common decency
So far it hasn't surfaced
But I'm sure it exists
It just takes a while to travel
From your head to your fist
I can't understand
What makes a man
Hate another man
Help me understand"
This song takes me to my youth. The Depeche Mode of 1984.
They have made a remastered video in 2006 which portrays the unfortunate world we live in.
I can actually understand what makes a man hate another man. There are so many reasons. The most fundamental one being a conflict of interest, and then differences in seeing the world, differences in understandings and values. I can understand the hate when you know someone personally. It's easy to love people from afar, it's when you interact with them comes the difficult part. Perhaps that's why the commandment is “Love thy neighbor” and not “Love humanity.” Loving humanity is easy. I mean as a misanthrope I do not like humans much. But I have no general hate towards anyone. I just wish some people to stay away from me, that's all.
“I never even met you...” says Depeche Mode.
Yes, you've never even met me... Me, the migrant.
“I can't understand
What makes a man
Hate another man”
That I cannot understand either... Hating someone without even meeting them, hating a group of people. Tarring people born some place, tarring people who move in pursuit of happiness with the same brush... Those are beyond me.
“Help me understand”
So sorry, I cannot help you understand...
Maybe there is someone out there who can make us understand.
Or maybe... My only answer could be: “It's because of the way politicians have set up the world game.” That's why I believe we need to change it.
A couple of hours later:
Oh... I may have one more answer: It might be the stupidity of men. Unfortunately, there isn't much to do about that. We need to wait until we grow up a bit more and mature as humanity.
Crumble the Walls, Long Live the Tunnels
“Turkey has announced the completion of a three-metre high fortification along its border with Syria to prevent refugees and smugglers entering the country.
The completed 556-kilometre section is the first phase of a structure that will eventually seal the entire 911-kilometre border between the two countries.
The rest of the wall is due to be completed by the autumn, at which point it would be the second-longest structure in the world, after the 3,460-kilometre Great Wall of China.”
“At 1,600 kilometres in length, Trump's wall will eventually beat the Turkish wall into second place as the world's longest.
The Israeli West Bank barrier, under construction between Israel and the West Bank, will be 650 kilometres long when complete.”
When I read this news in Dezeen "Turkey completes first phase of 900km wall along Syrian border” by Marcus Fairs (25 April 2017) I smiled bitterly and said to myself “So we have done it!”
We've done better than Trump. Done it secretly without creating such a fuss. I guess this is going to be our pride, when we should be proud of Diyarbakır.
Reading some more I came across “Why the wall on the Mexican border won’t happen” by Elaine Kamarck (April 25, 2017)
“And, of course, with any wall, there are tunnels. The United States has found 150 tunnels under the U.S.-Mexico border since the 1990s.”
Hahahaha! I laughed so much when I read this. “Hail to Tunnels!” I thought. “Crumble the Walls, Long Live the Tunnels.”
The allegory of building bridges is outdated in our age. We are left to tunnels.
Bridges are out, tunnels are in!