It is risky to take the rickety boat from Africa to Europe. Nevertheless, masses embark on a journey to a dream that dissipates once reached. Unshaken by the perils, the goal remains to enter an assumed paradise. The participants put themselves in harm’s way and antagonize hosts that have rolled in the welcome mat.
A part of the resulting horror story is, that while the corpses are real, the response remains superficial. That is so as the matter is handled as being accidental, temporary and limited in scope. Official Europe’s response is a palliative that even ignores the next election.
Coping with the challenge begins with a rational perspective to be had by stepping back from PC’s shibboleths. Solutions that work emerge once moralizing posturing is replaced by cool-headed measures.
Let us begin with the problem’s origins and magnitude. From there we go to meeting this modern version of the “migration of peoples” that had toppled Greco-Roman civilization. This hesitantly made analogy is anathema in influential circles: They insist upon problem solving within their ideology’s confines. Thus, the Old World is as helpless to cope, as was the Roman Empire before 476.
While the local details that energize the human wave that bangs on Europe’s boundaries differ, a common denominator is discernible. After decades of independence, Africa and the Near- and Middle East are politically and economically misgoverned. (In East Asia, where democratic politics have not yet been achieved, the modern economy functions. It lifts dozens of millions out of historic poverty.)
If the above explains why masses of economic –and not political- migrants wish to leave, the remedy is evident. The developed world –which is not “Ameropean”- needs to nudge retrograde tyrannies toward reforms. Calling a country “The Democratic Whatever” does not suffice. Alas, doing so rates as “interference” and so PC charges “neo-colonialism” while local cleptocrats are angered. Further aid’s use should be monitored and donations should be made dependent on meeting standards.
Shipping capacity is a factor in having transferred hundreds, then thousands, now tens of thousands and soon many more, across the Mediterranean. Human costs are related to the quality of transportation and its criminal management. Europe needs to send a few frigates into the harbors where such vessels pick up their cargo and sink the floating coffins operated by the pirate traders in human bodies. Regardless of its efficacy, the measure encounters difficulties. Again, a paralyzing prejudice is the explanation. Destroying the means of illegal transport that exploits failed states, reminds some of “gunboat diplomacy”.
An adjunct of this policy would be to intercept smugglers just beyond territorial waters and then return of the boats to their harbor. Illegal immigration needs to become practically impossible. Where the migration originates, an uninformed society ignores the risks of the adventure and concentrates on the “success” of those survivors that reached Canaan. Alas, every such case motivates two new attempts to sneak into the good life. Only the testimony of returnees will prevent talents and capital from becoming invested into the fashionable attempt to seek forced entry into Europe.
This approach requires an information campaign that goes beyond calling attention to the perils of the journey. Additionally, it must explain that local skills are insufficient to find employment in the menial jobs that have disappeared long ago.
Once entry is blocked, the growing human emergency –a million waits to cross the sea- must be met. Bearable conditions need to be provided in holding camps, while the repatriation of the economic migrants is implemented. A difficulty arises. Some countries refuse to take back their citizens unless these return home willingly. Therefore, continued funding should be made to depend upon readmission.
Problem denial complicates the picture. The Left rejects such measures; their solution is to take all people from “the other shore” and settle them where they wish to be. A Swiss government minister, when reminded of a growing million waiting, responded that she does not even wish to discuss such objections.
A factor related to the problem created by the mass that demands admission, is the point of view of the new settlers of their hosts. A publicist that risks his life to aid the Syrian opposition said about accepted refugees: “few of them will find happiness here”. Indeed, cultural incompatibilities –besides skills- make solutions through immigration impractical. Oddly, even the Muslims among the fleeing do not wish to enter the lands ruled by co-religionists. At the same time, the incompatibility with the ways of their chosen hosts is evident. An underreported incident in which, to enhance flotation, Muslims, that will go on to claim moral status as victims, threw Christians overboard. Rejecting the ways of the adopted society, and the wish to live according to traditional ways, has negative consequences. One is employability. The other is ghetto building followed by radicalization that is provoked by “rejection”. Lastly, since a sense of obligation to the community is missing, criminality as a way of life becomes overrepresented. So is illegal behavior mandated by tradition, such as forced marriages, honor killings and female genital mutilation.
A fundamental problem that hinders assimilation – a question of numbers - is that most of the illegal and legal immigrants do not comprehend how wealth is generated. Thus, those that integrate become active in leftist parties. Of these, we know that they might be great in dividing the wealth they are unable to create.
As things are, the public tends to agree that the solution of third world problems is not more immigration because the fight against poverty is not winnable by giving alms.
Europe’s and any other society’s ability to absorb an unlimited number of resistant migrants is limited. This has many expressions that grow in “acceptance”. A recent example comes from Hungary. (Like her neighbors, in 500 years they have not managed to integrate their resistant Gypsies. Unless, of course, renaming them “Roma” passes as a solution.) After calling the EU as solid as “Swiss cheese”, the government sent an inquiry to its citizens to discover what they want.
The preamble: “There are those according to whom, Brussels’ policy on immigration and terrorism has failed and that this demands new approaches. Are you in agreement with the statements below?” A shortened sample of some of the questions: “Would you support it if, contrary to Brussels’ permissive policy, the government introduces more restrictive regulations?” “Do you agree that after the least possible delay, illegal border crossers need to be repatriated?
We are left with the certainty that, reflecting the new, technologically driven globalization, uncontrolled migration will continue to grow and spread to become a worldwide problem. We should keep in mind that, as this happens, the challenge is not the “problem” but our self-imposed inability to confront it.