Bill Clinton’s Secretary of State Madeleine Albright once said that killing 500,000 Iraqi children through sanctions was “worth it.” She is now a respected elder statesman close to the Hillary Clinton campaign.
I had another epiphany last week when I saw the photo of the little Syrian boy Aylan Kurdi washed up on a Turkish beach like a bit of flotsam. The little boy is one of hundreds of thousands of refugees trying to get to the safety net of Europe. The world media is in a frenzy, following the crisis by focusing primarily on the inability of unprepared local governments to deal with the numbers of migrants, asking why someone somewhere can’t just “do something.” This means that somehow, as a result, the vast human tragedy has been reduced to a statistic and, inevitably, a political football.
Almost everyone agrees that the tens of thousands of people fleeing into Europe from Syria, Afghanistan, and other locations constitutes a crisis. But there’s no agreement about the solution: whether they should be welcomed, or prevented from entering.
Even today, whilst writing, Europe has dropped the word migrant as we have recognised that there is a major difference between ‘migrant and refugee’ the U.S. is still using this deragotory term.
Try googling images of the Refugee Crisis In Europe, a plethora of statistics dated a year ago appear – however, there appears to be a wide censorship of the refugee crisis and in humane atrosocties associated – the mainstream media is running the show.
Europe is becoming Overwhelmed by thousands of would-be travelers, Hungary has suspended its train service heading towards Western Europe while countries like Serbia and Macedonia deployed their military and police along their borders in a failed attempt to completely block refugees.
Italy and Greece have been overwhelmed by migrants arriving by sea. Germany, to its credit, is intending to process up to 800,000 refugee and asylum applications, mostly from Syria, while Austria and Sweden have also indicated their willingness to accept many more. Immediate neighbors of the zone of conflict, notably Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan are hosting more than three million of those who are displaced, but the wealthy Arab Gulf countries and Saudi Arabia have done little or nothing to help.
Demands for a European unified strategy to deal with the problem are growing, to include sealing borders and declaring the seas off of preferred departure points in North Africa and Asia to be military zones where undocumented ships and travelers will be intercepted and turned back. One also has to suspect that the refugee crisis might be exploited by some European politicians to justify NATO “humanitarian” intervention of some sort in Syria, a move that would have to be supported by Washington. But while the bickering and maneuvering goes on, the death toll mounts. The recent discovery of 71 dead would-be migrants who suffocated in the back of a locked truck found in Austria, to include five children and a toddler, was truly horrific. And that was before the dead three year old on the Turkish beach.
Many of the would-be migrants are young men looking for work in Europe, a traditional enterprise, but most of the new arrivals are families escaping the horrors of war in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Yemen. Their plight has been described in the media in graphic terms, families arriving with nothing and expecting nothing, fleeing even worse conditions back at home.
The United States has taken in only a small number of the refugees and a usually voluble White House has been uncharacteristically QUIET about the problem, possibly realising that allowing in a lot of displaced foreigners at a time when there is an increasingly heated debate over immigration policy in general just might not be a good move, politically speaking. But it should perhaps be paying some attention to what caused the problem in the first place, a bit of introspection that is largely LACKING both from the mainstream media and from politicians.
Indeed, I would assign to Washington most of the blame for what is happening right now. Since folks inside the beltway are particularly given to making judgements based on numerical data they might be interested in the toll exacted through America’s global war on terror. By one not unreasonable estimate, as many as four million Muslims have died or been killed as a result of the ongoing conflicts that Washington has either initiated or been party to since 2001.
There are, in addition, millions of displaced people who have lost their homes and livelihoods, many of whom are among the human wave currently engulfing Europe. There are currently an estimated 2,590,000 refugees who have fled their homes from Afghanistan, 370,000 from Iraq, 3,880,000 million from Syria, and 1,100,000 from Somalia. The United Nations Refugee Agency is expecting at least 130,000 refugees from Yemen as fighting in that country accelerates. (Figures based April 2015) This was before the September co-alition bombing by Saudi Arabia where it is estimated that 3,000,0000 people have been displaced. Between 600,000 and one million Libyans are living precariously in neighboring Tunisia.
The number of internally displaced within each country is roughly double the number of those who have actually fled and are seeking to resettle outside their homelands. Many of the latter have wound up in temporary camps run by the United Nations while others are paying criminals to transport them into Europe.
SIGNIFICANTLY, the countries that have generated most of the refugees are all places where the UNITED STATES has invaded, overthrown governments, supported insurgencies, or intervened in a civil war. The invasion of Iraq created a power vacuum that has empowered terrorism in the Arab heartland. Supporting rebels in Syria has piled Pelion on Ossa. Afghanistan continues to bleed 14 years after the United States arrived and decided to create a democracy. Libya, which was relatively stable when the U.S. and its allies intervened, is now in chaos, with its disorder spilling over into sub-Saharan Africa.
Everywhere people are fleeing the violence, which, among other benefits, has virtually obliterated the ancient Christian presence in the Middle East. Though I recognize that the refugee problem cannot be completely blamed on only one party, many of those millions would be alive and the refugees would for the most part be in their homes if it had not been for the catastrophic interventionist policies pursued by both Democratic and Republican administrations in the United States.
But they are not the only ones to blame, our UK Government is quietly fuelling the Yemen conflict and exacerbating one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises potentially in breach of both domestic and international laws on the sales of arms, Oxfam warned today. These laws prohibit arms deals where there is a clear risk that they might be used to commit war crimes or human rights abuses.
The Government says it is not directly involved in the bombing but since the conflict began UK arms exports have been replenishing Saudi Arabia’s stocks of weapons. The Government has declined to give Parliament details of numbers or types.
Civilian targets including markets, grain warehouses, ports and a displaced persons camp have been hit in the bombing. As the conflict in Syria and the resulting refugee crisis have shown, it is important to search for political solutions before it is too late.
It is perhaps past time for Washington and London to begin to become accountable for what it does. The millions of people living rough or in tents, if they are lucky, need help and it is not satisfactory for the White House and Westminster to continue with its silence, a posture that suggests that the refugees are somehow somebody else’s problem. They are, in fact, our problem. A modicum of honesty from President Barack Obama and David Cameron would be appreciated, perhaps an admission that things have not exactly worked out as planned by their scheming.And money is needed. Both London and especially Washington throw billions of pounds/dollars to fight wars it doesn’t have to fight and to prop up feckless allies worldwide. For a change it might be refreshing to see tax money doing some good, working with the most affected states in the Middle East and Europe to resettle the homeless and making an honest effort to come to negotiated settlements to end the fighting in Syria and Yemen, both of which can only have unspeakably bad outcomes if they continue on their current trajectories.
Ironically, American hawks are exploiting the photo of the dead Syrian boy to blame the Europeans for the humanitarian crisis while also demanding an all-out effort to depose Bashar al-Assad. Last Friday’s Washington Post had a lead editorial headlined “Europe’s Abdication,” and also featured a Michael Gerson op-ed urging immediate regime change in Syria, blaming the crisis solely on Damascus. The editorial railed against European “racists” regarding the refugee plight. And it is not clear how Gerson, an evangelical neoconservative former speech writer for George W. Bush, can possibly believe that permitting Syria to fall to ISIS would benefit anyone. Here in the UK we are donating 1.3million to the refugee camps in Lebanon and will be making a decision to Launch Syria air strikes to keep British streets safe.
What is absolutely disgusting is that the UK have agreed to take only 20,000 Refugees these over the term of parliament, thus being five years. These refugees will be cherry picked from the those in “UN Refugee Camps”. The U.S. Have agreed to 10,000 refugees.
Refugee Crisis: Could New German Border Controls Threaten The Schengen Agreement?
The Scgengren Agreement was agreed 30 years ago and effective for 20 years, the agreement allows unchecked travel between the vast majority of EU countries. The UK and Ireland are not part of it while non-EU states such as Switzerland and Norway are.
The agreement’s demise would be welcomed by Eurosceptics who wish to see a looser union within Europe. Ukip’s sole MP Douglas Carswell wrote that Schengen was impractical with amid a migration crisis that has seen hundreds of thousands arrive from the Middle East and Africa, writing in The Telegraph: “Like monetary union, Schengen was a late 20th-century solution to a 21st-century problem.”
By shutting border with Austria, is clear that German government have realised the scale of their error. Schengen surely can’t survive now.
— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage)
Germany’s decision to reinstitute border checks, restricting the flow of refugees its citizens have been warmly welcoming, has prompted a debate over whether a symbol of the success of European integration can survive.
Ukip leader Nigel Farage said Germany’s decision would mean an end to the Schengen Agreement, in which EU countries waive the border checks for those entering from another country that is also signed up to the agreement.
In writing this piece I looked up Ali Hussein, the little Iraqi boy who was killed by the American bomb. He has been “disappeared” from Google, as well has the photo, presumably because his death did not meet community standards. He has likewise been eliminated from the Media archives.
The experience of Winston Smith in George Orwell’s 1984 came to mind.
Unworthy victims: Western wars have killed four million Muslims since 1990 – See more at: http://www.middleeasteye.net/columns/unworthy-victims-western-wars-have-killed-four-million-muslims-1990-39149394#.dpuf