Senate Your asylum is in another country: Europe, refugees, and xenophobia.

Discussion in 'Community' started by Darth Guy, Sep 4, 2015.

  1. Darth Guy Chosen One

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    Aug 16, 2002
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    Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Eritrea, South Sudan, Somalia, and others are all terrible places to live. They're wracked by war, extreme poverty, and government oppression. So what are parts of their populations doing in response to the nigh-hopeless states of their homelands? What anyone else would: getting the **** out and trying to find better lives-- namely in the relatively wealthy European Union. This amounts to the biggest migration of refugees since WWII, according to the UNHCR.

    Shockingly enough, there are hurdles to travelling thousands of miles across international borders. Human traffickers extort and abuse these desperate migrants, shipping them across the Mediterranean and Aegean in rickety, overcrowded boats and overland in airtight trucks. It can take a year or more for the refugees to complete their journeys.

    Millions of Syrians are packed into camps in Lebanon (20% of its population are Syrian refugees), Jordan, and Turkey. What Europe is experiencing pales in comparison, but due to its proximity to Turkey Greece is bearing the brunt of the migration. Austerity-riddled and tiny, Greek islands are struggling to accommodate everyone.

    In comparison to the European Union's existing population of roughly 500,000,000, these hundreds of thousands of refugees a year are nothing. Evenly distributed-- with larger, wealthier countries taking in more-- the migrants should be easy to deal with. But politics interfere!

    To their credit, Germany, Sweden, and Austria have stepped up; Germany alone plans to accept 800,000 refugees this year. In contrast, the United Kingdom has so far accepted... 5,000. Pillsbury-Doughboy-in-Chief David Cameron has called the migrants a "swarm" and is, at best, extremely reluctant to accept any more. Thankfully the British public is pressuring their government of pasty white Tories to show a little humanity. Hungary's government has had the most extreme reaction-- stating outright that they will not accept Muslim refugees. They've built a fence along the border with Serbia (that the refugees bypass anyway), closed train routes to Austria, unleashed the police, and have been very slow to provide any humanitarian aid.

    I have developed a Jabbadabbadubian fascination with this situation. The behavior of many EU governments and the body's glacial response is appalling but not surprising. The solutions to this "crisis" are readily apparent and perfectly doable. I also think my own country should open its arms to many more refugees especially from the mess that we helped to create in the Middle East. "But terrorists!" is not a valid reason to deny them asylum. There's no evidence there are terrorist groups infiltrating these masses of people, although mistreatment could easily radicalize some.

    Some select sources:

    http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2015/9/4/austria-germany-to-accept-refugees.html

    https://www.hrw.org/news/2015/09/03/refugee-crisis-isnt

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/03/world/europe/europe-migrant-crisis.html
  2. Lord Vivec Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 17, 2006
    star 8
    Everything Darth Guy said is true. Right now, the main anti-migrant player is Hungary's Orban, who is resisting pressure from Merkel to take in refugees. However, one thing we should add to the discussion is the Gulf states, who have probably the strictest anti-refugee policies and, despite being the wealthiest nations in the region, simply don't want to take in any.
  3. Point Given Mod of Literature and Community

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    I don't think terrorism is the main reason why some governments have been reluctant to accept the refugees and migrants. Rather whether they will be able to assimilate, the benefits and welfare that will be spent on them and what skills they can provide to the countries that take them in. There's also the question of how many are economic migrants vs refugees.
  4. Darth Guy Chosen One

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    Aug 16, 2002
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    Personally I think that "economic migrants vs. refugees" is a stupid and useless distinction when we're talking about the level of desperation and effort required for migrants from east Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia to get to Europe. (I think closed borders are stupid regardless but I realize that's unrealistically radical.) Anyway, the majority of them are from Syria and Iraq. They're refugees fleeing violence.

    There's also the consideration that they probably will be a boon to the workforce in a rapidly aging continent.
    lexu likes this.
  5. Lord Vivec Force Ghost

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    Apr 17, 2006
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    I don't understand this need to assimilate. So what if people want to keep their culture and traditions. This kind of cultural supremacy and oppression is exactly what's wrong.
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  6. Jabba-wocky Chosen One

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    May 4, 2003
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    Also, given their extreme resistance to facilitating normal integration of even legal, regular migrants, it is more than hypocritical to complain that these might face trouble.
  7. Point Given Mod of Literature and Community

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    I don't see why the level of difficulty should matter when it comes to economic migrants, particularly unskilled ones. Refugees I can understand, though I am struck my how many want to get to Germany even when passing through already safe countries. also look at the mess in Calais. France is a wonderful country, yet you have migrants snarling traffic and attempting to stow away on trucks to get to England. It's ridiculous.

    Anyway a major concern of mine is that this crisis will lead to a continent wide turn towards nationalism. Obviously Orban is already in power, but the FN is polling well, Cameron is already trying to outflank UKIP, Finland has turned to the right and we all know how Europe is when it goes nationalist.
  8. Point Given Mod of Literature and Community

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    I'm not talking about adopting the host country's religion, food, literature, arts, sports or so on. I'm talking about backwards traditions such as female genital mutliation, arranged marriages, anti-homosexuality, anti-women, a disregard for human rights. Many refugees and migrants come from places notorious for such things and there is the worry that they will not or cannot adjust.
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  9. Lord Vivec Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 17, 2006
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    The idea that being anti women, anti homosexuality, and having a disregard for human rights is a third world brown person's culture is laughable. There's plenty of that among whites.
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  10. Point Given Mod of Literature and Community

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    I'm not talking about white people vs brown people. More like Western values vs Third World values. Yeah there are a lot of Westerners who are backward. But at least many Western countries have laws that try and provide for the equality of women, gays and have laws protecting human rights. Meanwhile the countries that the refugees and migrants are fleeing from don't have these. Or worse have laws that actively discriminate against or harm them. So yeah there's a need for assimilation on that front.
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  11. DarthPhilosopher Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 23, 2011
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    Here in Australia we have been dealing with this as the major political issue for many, many years. Unfortunately our current Prime Minister has shifted the conversation sharply to the right - so much so that any refugees arriving by boat is subjected to detention in terrible conditions and guaranteed not to be resettled in Australia, but instead countries like Cambodia. This deterrent has admittedly stopped the boats and the deaths at sea, although it has likely made it more difficult for people to escape persecution, so make of that what you will.

    I agree with @Point Given about assimilation. It isn't about asking them to give up their cultural identity or customs, but rather that they learn the language and understand and accept our cultural traditions. You have to remember that these people, through no fault of their own, live in extremely different societies. We have to make sure they integrate into our society, for both their benefit and ours.

    I commend Angela Merkel for doing what is right and not necessarily what her entire base would want.
    Violent Violet Menace likes this.
  12. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
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    I am on a mobile device watching BbC coverage of it in london now, so won't type too much. As an ex-immigration I will say that Even has failed to account for factors such as capacity to integrate migrants into an economy and society. Intakes of all people - legal, illegal, refugees, economic migrants- is not just a number ripped from the air. If you can't see these people in jobs you will end up failing your constitutional obligations to your citizens whilst doing the refugees no favours either. Under pressure from well meaning but vapid leftists we put some Somali refugees into a rural community and were surprised that rural people were racist. So yeah. Its complicated and fair enough if you haven't been privy to migration policy you may not realise that the numbers are generally best case scenario.
    Additionally I think a lot of countries prefer to not have the terms upon which it takes people dictated to by those people. Hence why Cameron has said the 5000 Britain will take will be from the camps.
    Note - according to the Beeb most of these Syrians want to go to Austria or Germany or Sweden. Not Britain. Worth mentioning.
    Oh and before we get stuck into Europe - how many is the richest country on Earth, whose epic combination of ignorance and arrogance caused the conditions for IS' rise, taking? 1500 since 2011 but now? Breathtaking hypocrisy no?
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  13. LAJ_FETT Tech Admin and Collecting/Lucasfilm Ltd Mod

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    I'm glad Cameron has agreed that the UK will take some people and I think having them apply at the camps is the right way to do it. That way the applicants' backgrounds can be checked (as far as is possible) and any skills they have can be assessed. I'd rather see people with useful skills (like a medical background, for example) come here than someone who has nothing to offer. However, why should it be up to Europe? As has been pointed out, there are plenty of closer countries that aren't under attack that could take the refugees. Also the US has been pretty quiet on the subject, at least from news coverage I've seen here on the BBC and Sky News.
    GrimdarkRose likes this.
  14. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
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    Oh, there is.
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/w...ts-coming-to-europe-report-says-10255887.html
    http://www.express.co.uk/news/world...ler-THOUSANDS-Extremists-into-Europe-Refugees
    http://www.breitbart.com/national-s...ught-crossing-into-europe-posing-as-refugees/

    Besides, you must know what a convincing argument "But terrorists!" is. It's been the main argument for the foreign policy of both our countries for roughly as long as we have been on here.

    I'm not saying it's a reasonable fear, but it's a real one.
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  15. Darth Guy Chosen One

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    Aug 16, 2002
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    No, not my hypocrisy. I mentioned it in the first post.
  16. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

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    Mar 19, 1999
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    My son was in Vienna earlier this week participating in a pro refugee rally. He's back in Chicago now, but he visited the tragically overcrowded Traiskirchen refugee facility. 6,500 more refugees arrived in Austria overnight in Hungarian buses specially chartered to remove the refugees from Hungary. All the refugees had to get off the buses at 4 in the morning and cross the border by foot where they boarded trains. The Hungarians refused to allow the buses to cross the border to unload.

    Yesterday Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland categorically rejected any kind of EU imposed refugee quota system.

    More about the refugee rally in Vienna:

    http://www.euronews.com/2015/09/01/no-person-is-illegal-vienna-holds-rally-for-refugees/
    Last edited by Jabbadabbado, Sep 5, 2015
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  17. Ender Sai Chosen One

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    Feb 18, 2001
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    Where was it that was saying it would only take Christian refugees?
  18. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
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    Well, it's Sunday and I'm off to work.
    I just got an assignment to make a logo for a Red Cross "Welcome Store", opening tomorrow - it will be a place where refugees can get information and products and where locals can drop off stuff they want to give to refugees.

    America, your move :p
  19. Lord Vivec Force Ghost

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    Apr 17, 2006
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  20. LAJ_FETT Tech Admin and Collecting/Lucasfilm Ltd Mod

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    BBC News is indicating that the Austrian Chancellor wants to start moving away from the emergency measures that have let so many refugees in. (Story here, scroll down about halfway.)
  21. Ender Sai Chosen One

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    Feb 18, 2001
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    Syria has always been moderate, so well played guys. Wear your discomfort with funny brown people on your sleeve.
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  22. slightly_unhinged Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 28, 2014
    star 4
    Germany has agreed to take in 800,000 refugees and over 70,000 applications have already been processed. Sweden is doing its bit. Many other European countries have agreed to take in tens of thousands. Britain is in a housing crisis, with not enough homes to accommodate the current population, yet has agreed to 20,000 over the next few years. This number is almost certain to increase.

    Southern and Eastern European states are not wealthy.

    Saudi Arabia is very wealthy. Might be worth looking at what they're doing before critcising Europe. Ditto the good ol' US of A, whose activities in the region have been a major catalyst for the situation in Iraq and Syria.

    As it is, Germany is doing more than anyone. I distinctly remember their opposition to the invasion of Iraq, and still enjoy watching Fischer giving Rumsfeld a good telling off for pressuring the German government to lie to its people like the British government did. Naughty Rumsfeld.

  23. Jedi with a TARDIS Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Mar 4, 2013
    star 2
    How are these countries able to sustain a healthy enough economy to ensure that their able to actually help the refugees? I mean, let's face it, there are very few countries left that aren't crippled by debt. I just don't see how these governments can help when they can't even take care of their own citizens properly. I sure hope there's a way.
  24. LAJ_FETT Tech Admin and Collecting/Lucasfilm Ltd Mod

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    I read that the UK will be using money already earmarked for foreign aid to help any refugees that come here.
  25. Violent Violet Menace JCC moderator

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    Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the UAE and perhaps even Bahrain could all have absorbed considerable amounts of refugees, but choose to look the other way as their own brothers in faith, as they would put it, are escaping tyranny. All the while they have actually been fanning the flames of this situation with large amounts of funding to extremist groups.
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