Friday, September 04, 2015

Migration complexity

Cross-border migration and the refugee crisis are dominating the news after a number of high-profile and totally avoidable tragedies, the latest that of a father losing his wife and children after being abandoned on a boat by people smugglers when the half-hour journey from Turkey to Greece became too perilous. He commented that his family's death should be a wake-up call to the world, and everybody is lining up to cash in with their political agendas on this highly visible emotional image of suffering. Political correctness reigning supreme, nobody blames the father for having put his family in harm's way. I do. But first a number of qualifiers.

Refugees across the world are the outcome of the ruling elite of the current leading Western nations running the world as if it was their exclusive birth-right. Exploiting other people's resources in order to fund an unsustainable consumer culture aimed to buy the acquiescence of their own population in return for ever more games and gadgets, and using military power to force this one-directional flow of wealth, they have wrought havoc all over the globe, generating poverty, fear and despair and thereby displacing people. America and her allied cronies in Europe have shook up the Middle East, toppled governments and financed and trained militias for their own economic and Israel's political ends, and the increase in refugees is a direct result. Britain, as did others, has funded ISIS and other rebel groups in Iraq and Syria as part of their proxy war against Russia and China in the hope that they would topple the Syrian government, just as they erstwhile funded Iraq to fight Iran, funded the Mujahidin and al-Qaida to fight Russia in Afghanistan, then topple Libya, and so on. In this context, David Cameron and the rest of the British government are directly to blame for the death of this Syrian and many other families.

The United Nations with its non-representative Security Council and the International Monetary Fund with its majority Western shareholders are relics of the past when European colonial powers divided the world among themselves without any consideration for indigenous populations, drew artificial borders to suit them and, in most cases, subsequently installed minority puppet governments heavily dependent on their economic and military support against their own subjugated populations in the fiefdoms they had carved out in this manner after the First World War. America continued the tradition having become the dominant power after the Second World War, but wherever possible replaced direct rule and military occupation with indirect rule and economic manipulation, propagandistically termed Free Trade, and intervening militarily only when deemed necessary. After too many people believed the propaganda lies and took the idea of freedom at face value, and with their imperial reach weakened, the USA are now reverting back to direct rule and military occupation.

Today, Americans and Europeans often talk as if there is something morally wrong with people from Africa or Asia wanting to share the spoils of their alleged hard labour, forgetting that American and European affluence represents in most cases the pay-off of colonialism and slavery and that therefore the colonised and enslaved of the world actually have a greater right to those riches than the colonisers and slave masters. British slave owners were compensated for the losses when slavery was finally abolished, slaves were not.

From a true global perspective - not the one world propaganda of the global village which merely means that no corner of the world should remain out of reach of Western domination - fortress Europe is unsustainable as is the exploitative modern lifestyle fuelled by compound interest being the foundation of our economic system, where there is always more to pay back than there was in the first place, requiring the disappropriation of others. So when it comes to the problem of global migration, I can only blame the West for its own conjured demons.

Yet, none of this absolves the father of the family currently making the headlines or numerous others like him. Sure, there are people smugglers unscrupulous enough to abandon a sinking boat with the passengers on board or to park up a lorry full of migrants, leaving them to suffocate. They cash in on a dream for which there is ample demand. The problem, when it comes to the migrants themselves, many of whom are from Muslim countries, is that they were malcontents to start with. The youth in many of these countries does not want to work for a better future, they simply want to take what others have already worked for. They don't want to build their country, they want to abandon it. In many cases, they are not running away from poverty or war but are running to an imaginary destination of full and plenty sold to them on Western television screens.

In what happened off the coast of Turkey is indeed a wake-up call, not just for Europe, but most of all for the migrants themselves: the risks are not worth it. A father lost the family he wanted to give a better life to. His parents still live in a part of Syria not ravaged by war. If he feared for his family's safety, then they had already managed to cross over to Turkey, a country having taken in a huge number of refugees and treating them as brothers rather than outcasts. Instead, he chose to leave the safety of Muslim Turkey to cross the sea in an unsuitable dinghy to Greece, an orthodox Christian and much poorer country. No doubt, Greece was thus never the intended final destination, it was meant to be a stepping stone into the European Union for moving on to Austria, Germany, the UK or Scandinavia. Thus, even if this family originally fled war-torn Syria, once they left Turkey, they were no longer refugees but economic migrants who had fallen for the myth that happiness can be bought at a department store. This father miscalculated and destroyed what he had in the vain hope of obtaining what he was never going to get anyway.

None of this absolves the British government, but future would-be Muslim migrants would do well to ponder on the advice of our prophet, peace be with him: "Richness is not having many possessions. Rather, true richness is the richness of the soul." (Abu Hurairah, al-Bukhari 6081). Or: "Whoever makes the world his more important matter, Allah will confound his affairs and make poverty appear before his eyes and he will not get anything from the world except what has been decreed for him. Whoever makes the Hereafter his most important matter, Allah will settle his affairs and make him content in his heart and the world will come to him although he does not want it." (Zaid ibn Thabit, Ibn Majah 4105).