I’m hearing a lot if yes, but’s in the discussion on refugees. For example: yes, we should let them in, but they should respect our customs. Or, yes, we should grant them access, but we have to carefully regulate their integration. While I’m not principally against regulation or efforts for integration per se, I think we should remove all conditions from the question whether or not we should let them in. Certain decisions are not fit for reasoning, they should just be made.
For that reason, I have long kept myself out of the discussion on refugees. Of course we should let them escape from war. And so should Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and all other neighbouring countries. To weigh the pros and cons of the decision on the fundamental safety of others, or even to add nuances to the discussion is an uncivilized and egoistic act. It’s putting the lives of entire sections of populations at stake. Because the confusion emerging from these discussions creates space for barbarism.
It is only once we have all, unanimously and without hesitation, decided that we let these people in (all of them), that we can have an honourable discussion on how we will arrange this. And it is beyond contempt that neither European countries nor the other surrounding regions have managed to take the humane stance here.
The fact, for example, that some sources insist on calling these people migrants instead of refugees is misleading to say the least. Migrants, or immigrants, are people who move with non-urgent motivations. Sure, there might be some among them, but most are people who’s lives are directly or indirectly threatened. They have left good, usually stable lives behind. Many of them are women and children. One doesn’t cross half a continent on foot if there’s no urgency.
Even more disgusting are the talks about ‘letting in terrorists’ among them. Sure, this could be an open discussion, but only under the condition that we let all refugees in. Okay, some people died last week. Bad. But how many drowned in the Mediterranean Sea, simply because we kept our doors closed? Terrorists have quite some work to do if they want to even that number out. It’s not a fair comparison, I know, but my point is: 1st we should let them all in, and again, I mean all of them, then we can discuss the terrorist issue with a clean conscience. And perhaps our open attitude would make terrorists more reluctant?
Then there’s the practical blah, blah. Would there be undivided acknowledgement of the need of these people to build a new home among us, then all these issues would fluently resolve themselves. We would all hand in a fraction of our luxury and these people could accommodate themselves very well, even create new prosperity. But the political will is lacking in all layers of society. Apparently we prefer conflict. Because even if we look at this in a purely practical way, there is no other choice then to let them in, and the more we resist, the harder that will backfire. But I cannot stress enough that such arguments should not be necessary. We have a moral duty here.
You surely felt the link with Christmas coming. If we are all so afraid of losing our culture, then let’s embrace it, instead of drifting from it. What Europe has been good at in recent decades, was openness to strange cultures. Christmas, even for the non-religious, has been an ultimate cultural expression of peace for all cultures. Remember? Not just during this period, but always. At the base of all of this, we are flesh and blood. If we really want to preserve our culture, then let’s carry it with dignity instead of throwing it overboard when challenges arise. Or perhaps I’m wrong, and Christmas was always just about consumerism. In that case we may be able to learn something from our new neighbours.