This summer’s News is dominated by tragic reports of thousands and thousands of refugees and migrants, mostly from Eritrea, Syria and Afghanistan, trying to cross the Mediterranean and get into Europe, and then those already in Europe trying to get to a place that will accept them.
The best comment I have come across comes from Bishop Alan Wilson, Bishop of Buckingham, Diocese of Oxford, writing from the UK and reflecting the overwhelming feeling of my Facebook News feed….
“..We started a war in the Middle East, radicalised Iraq (which was a largely secular state), caused a flood of refugees out into a simmering war zone, with the effect of destroying various vulnerable minorities, including Yazidis and some ancient Christian communities. This argument suggests that the responsibility for picking up the pieces rests solely with Turkey. What?!
Meanwhile the Germans, who had the good sense to stay out of Bush Wars and counselled everyone else to do so, take ten times as many refugees as we do. In the short term this is an act of charity. In the long term, of course, this will turn out to have been a canny move.
We know from the experience of absorbing waves of immigrants in the past that people who make it out of oppressive regimes usually bring great zeal to making a go of it in their new countries of residence. Some will eventually, DV, return to their original homelands taking with them a cultural affinity with Germany (which gains new influence in the region — soft power), a new language, and massively increased capacity to build a better society there. Others will stay in Germany, bringing energy and more than their fair share of productivity to the German economy. Win-Win.
Meanwhile our own glorious leaders have another plan. We coop up the refugees on a campsite surrounded by barbed wire with no visible means of support or permission to work or develop themselves until we’ve sorted out the entire politics of the middle East for them, then the economies of the region grow and those who remain prosper sufficiently to send their relatives in these camps the train fare home. I have no doubt which is the more stupid policy.”
May God have mercy on us all.