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Refugee crisis: How Europeans took the worst possible decisions (to the best dramatic effect)

Refugees in Hungary, Photo: Freedomhouse

Europe finds itself on the verge of the worst humanitarian disaster since the Holocaust.

EU countries bear a direct responsibility for the origin of this crisis — the political, economic, and social chaos that conquered Irak, Syria, Afghanistan, and Lybia — because they have actively supported the American military interventions that irrevocably destabilised the region, giving rise to a large number of victims and massive migrations.

Yet, it is very unlikely that European leaders are prepared to admit any of their errors; to admit one’s failures is difficult, for it requires a drop of humility, a virtue so scanty in the West, where everyone is educated under the principles of self-affirmation and egoistic life.

What do they do instead, European leaders? Drama. Hollywood-style drama. In this refugee crisis, Europe has made use of a basic dramaturgical technique, which screenwriters often employ in action movies. The script may be this time just a metaphor, as Europeans may be acting like that out of sheer incompetence, yet the drama seems to unfold implacably in the worst possible way (ie, to the highest dramatic effect). Here’s the synopsis.

Step One: Create desire

Europe announced out loud that there is a safe haven on earth, a ‘promised land’ for the refugees: Germany, a country happy to welcome hundreds of thousands of them. The message was pronounced loudly, powerfully, and often enough for everyone to hear it. Undoubtedly, refugees wouldn’t have struggled so hard to reach Germany if Mrs Merkel didn’t welcome them in the first place.

Step Two: Create the obstacle

At this stage, the proper means for refugees to reach the promised land were severed. The basic conflict that drives the plot of the film was set in motion: Your character has a clear objective, a strong desire to reach it, but not the means.

Step Three: Time generates more conflict

To make things worse, European leaders indulged for days in endless debates whether to impose compulsory quotas or not on EU countries and how large these quotas need to be. They didn’t discuss the first and most important question: How would those refugees reach Germany and other destination countries?

Step Four: Let there be fight

What a clever idea they had, our wise European leaders! As they were not able to set up a salvation plan for those unfortunate refugees, Europeans were very quick to set up a completely different plan: Sending out special forces, the ‘turtle ninjas’, to take care of the problem! So now you have a civilian population in distress, forced to stay in a place without access to food, water, and basic hygiene facilities, a population that still hopes that the initial promise of Mrs Merkel was genuine, yet finding itself surrounded by a wall of military violence.

The next step is not difficult to anticipate. Cold weather and winter is coming soon over Europe. Imagine life under the bare sky when it’s freezing and it’s raining or it’s snowing, when the wind is strong and you’re hungry, thirsty, and angry, and robot-like special forces stare at you with no compassion, blocking your way to that mythical country which keeps smiling and sweet talking to you from a distance with Saxon accent.

That’s not how the film was supposed to be. In no way does it reflect the shared values of Europe. The solution should have started by dispersing the refugees to other countries as quickly as possible, by providing them the means of transportation, by immediately organising refugee camps under the direct management and with direct support from the European Comission.

Instead, militarisation was the option of European leaders. Including Romanians. Waiting for their potential immigrants, the first decision announced by Romanian authorities (on Wednesday, 16th September, 2015) was not the building of a few more camps and preparing logistically for accomodating refugees. The Romanian government announced a plan to hiring 6000 new police and security troupes!

Isn’t it hallucinating how coherent is the way European leaders act together? Behind their apparent dissent (Romanian and Hungarian political leaders have been quarelling over the idea of a fence at the frontier, insulting each other), they all do the same thing, in perfect discipline: They are escalating a civilian problem into a militarised conflict.

Next step: Rewind

This EU moving picture is wrong and awry. Our common cultural and spiritual heritage is dust in the wind. It is obvious that the values of both socialism and secular liberalism have proven themselves bankrupt.

October 1938: Czech refugees from the Sudetenland. Photo: Wikipedia
October 1938: Czech refugees from the Sudetenland. Photo: Wikipedia

It is a time now for all Europeans to stop whatever they are doing and ask themselves one simple question: Which exactly are the fundamental values our countries are built upon?