Convened by US President Franklin D. Roosevelt in response to the massive refugee crisis triggered by Hitler’s violent Anti-Semitism, the Evian conference, held at Hotel Royale in Evian-Les-Bains in July 1938, was a cataclysm. And its disastrous outcome ought to be recalled in the light of Europe’s current Refugee Crisis. The outcome of the meeting was clear: Europe, North America and Australia did not receive significant numbers of the refugees.
People from Middle East and Africa are fluxing into EU countries like Italy, Greece and Hungary. According to the International Organization of Migrants (I.O.M.), 350,000 refugees have crossed the EU’s border from January to August 2015. This is just the detected figure by I.O.M. Conflicts in Syria, Afghanistan, Libya and Iraq etc. are the key drivers. The refugees cross border and sail perfidious seas where more than 2006 people have died so far, via the Islands of Kos, Chios, Lesvos and Samos, risking their lives in the course. Harrowing nature of the refugee crisis was depicted in one image of a child, named Aylan, who had drowned and was found in Turkey, caused the indignation from all over the world and they rightly called the tragedy as “Humanity washed Ashore”. The parents of the toddler had left the cursed land of Syria to secure the life and future of their children, so that they could live the rest of their lives in peace but he never knew that for them the word peace will altogether have a different meaning.
Recently 800 people died when the boat in which they were travelling capsized in the Libyan waters South of the Italian Island of Lampedusa, or the 71 fleeing Syrians who were found dead in a truck in Austria last week spot the magnitude of the human catastrophe that is recounting in this part of the world. These are just a few examples that have been detected, many among them go unaccounted for and many are still in the high seas fighting with the dreadful waves to reach a peaceful shore. Tired, hungry, weak from the heat, they speak of a traumatic journey and the joy of finally making to the European Nations.
Everyone is calling it a crisis, but I think it is rather a “humanitarian problem” than a crisis, which has evolved by the illegal intervention of the west into the Middle East states, including the illegal and immoral support to the Bashar-Al-Assad in Syria. When America’s presence increases anywhere in the world, whatever minimal order and stability existed there rapidly evaporates. Spreading terrorism, armed conflict and collapsing political authority in the Middle East are now powerful causal factors equaling or exceeding continually economic disparities. Chaos and killings in Syria by the Assad Regime, where cities have been turned into rubble, South Sudan where war and poverty has crippled the life, Libya where Warlords maraud and people suffer, Iraq where ISIS like to videotape its slaughter are a few examples that drive the people to leave their homelands and seek refuge in EU. The human inhabitation has apparently become impossible in such countries, which according to me have seized to be called as countries. The lands are no place to thrive and no place to raise one’s children. With the efflux of the people, these lands have turned into barren waste lands.
Europe fears being overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of people on the move thereby losing control on decisions on who to admit and who to turn away. They even fear that there may be trained ISIS militants trying to conceal themselves among these refugees to gain access to Europe. These concerns are legitimate but there are deeper risks as well. Finding a home for the refugees is important but the governments must also tackle the root cause of the problem. The fact is that the refugee resettlement alone cannot, in any part of the world, solve this problem. Under EU rules asylum seeker has the right to food, shelter and first aid and even such right is enforceable by court orders. The Europe must implement a more humane and conscientious asylum and immigration policy on the refugee crisis or be devoted to it.
It is a quaint irony of history that the countries that complained the most about the existence of border fences and walls and vowed to bring them down forever, is now busily constructing them. Despite the sickening lurch in my stomach that occurred when I saw the picture of the Syrian toddler Aylan, who drowned trying to reach the shores of Europe. I still do not blame the countries who are unwilling to take in the fleeing refugees. To do so would be hypocritical. I could only criticize those countries if I took in a starving beggar or handicapped child from the street and brought him/her into my own home. I do not do that and I rationalize my decision in many ways e.g. I do not have the money to support everyone or they might rob me or hurt my children or it is not my responsibility etc. well it is the same argument that all the nations make on a macro scale. Countries will say that as a whole they do not have the money to support everyone, or there will be an influx of conservative religious values that might violently clash with the liberal values of the western democracies or it is not their responsibility to feed all the hungry, poor and homeless people of the world.
I might be sad at the emotional level, but this is the harsh reality and a valid argument at the intellectual level. Now many of us have taken the poor people into our homes as cooks, chauffeurs, maids etc and allowed them to sit down at the dinner table in a metaphorical way. We pay them to do the work that we do not have the tendency to do. So the economic argument could potentially be addressed. Refugees or immigrants can add to the economic value of by bringing an entrepreneurial energy and by doing those jobs that the richer residents are unwilling to do, especially with an aging population that needs young workforce. But for me the biggest problem of the western democracies in taking the refugees is that they fear the clash of the cultures. But the cultural conservatives have turned the lands into hell by instigating the sectarian religious fighting and then argue for the dissemination of the cultural values in their homeland that created the craphole, they escaped from.
European Union and the other western states have in past made several blunders that have provoked the crisis and created volatility on its borders. On one hand, the mistakes include the mindless and monotonous overthrow of Middle Eastern rulers during Arab Spring and on the other hand, the current impasse over Greece threatens to create chaos not only on the borders of the Union but within itself. The political and economic deterioration of countries from where the refugee flow is the greatest are due to the large military intervention carried out on the strength of promises to bring democracy to the people who were portrayed as the sufferers of the totalitarian rule. Not only has the promise been belied, but the doors have been closed on the people who now frantically seek to escape the mayhem, anarchy and the civil breakdown of those countries, which were once relatively stable. All the world countries must act swiftly and prevent further loss of the humanity else the problem will develop into a black hole and will swallow up every state.


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