Wednesday, 20 May 2015

I shocked someone yesterday

by saying that the answer to the "refugee crisis" was not to allow everyone who wanted to come here simply to come. It isn't.
This woman holds a position of some power but she has a rather simplistic view of the world.
I asked her, "Where do you draw the line?"
Her answer was, "You don't care about refugees."
Well hold it right there. I do care about refugees. I care passionately about people who, if they return to the place they called "home", will be in genuine danger of persecution and death. 
Refugees are not migrants - or, if  they are "migrants" then they are unwilling migrants. They don't want to be in the situation they are in. Almost all of them would prefer to be going about their daily lives, earning a living, eating meals with their families, having their children go to school, being able to chat with friends, and much more. They would also like to be able to do it in safety. They would like to do it without facing anything more than the dangers everyone everywhere faces.
Migrants are people who want to move. Yes of course they are searching for a "better" life. I don't blame them in the slightest when they see others with more than themselves. It is natural to feel envy. Many of them come from places with appalling living conditions. 
It is those living conditions which have to change. Migration is not the answer. 
Those who try to migrate tend to be younger and fitter. Many of them are the more intelligent but poorly educated, or those who believe their skills will get them a good job even though they lack formal qualifications. 
Their own countries need those people. They need to be there to change their countries. We need to take more of them as students and give them the extra skills and training that will allow living conditions in their own countries to improve. Somehow we need to  help them be rid of the dictators and despots and religious masters who rule some of those countries. 
I don't know how we do that but I do believe that simply allowing people to migrate is not the answer.  Migrants are taking places refugees need. 
There will be refugees who can never go "home" but they should be accepted on the understanding that everyone is working towards a solution to the problems that sent them fleeing. There should be an understanding that, just as many of them want, they will be able to go home one day.  We need to ensure that they can use their time in their host country learning and/or maintaining the skills needed to rebuild their lives on their return.
But we aren't doing that sort of thing. We grudgingly allow migrants in and leave the refugees in camps and at sea. We say we can't interfere in the internal affairs of other countries while placing sanctions on them that hurt the poor. 
We allow some countries to do nothing and others to do little and yet others to do far more. 
I think my question about drawing a line is a valid one. There is no easy answer to it. It won't be a straight line but that doesn't mean the question should not be asked. We need to think about it so that those most in need are those who get the help. 
That is not what is happening right now. If you are Rohingya and out on the Andaman sea right now I could weep for you.

No comments: