“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??