Writing about Europe’s refugee crisis is not an easy task when we consider the fact that this crisis could be presented and understood in many ways, depending on one’s political standing. For some progressive political thinkers, this is the refugee crisis of the century and all people who come to Europe need to sheltered and taken care of. At the same time, the conservative part of the European societies insists on conserving their national identity and their religious composition, which excludes the majority of the asylum seekers with other geographical, political and religious backgrounds.
What we called as “refugee crisis” in April 2015, started years ago, perhaps in 2007 when a significant number of undocumented migrants from the Middle East and Africa crossed between Turkey and Greece, showing us that borders control don’t mean anything to those who lost everything. Italy has had its own dilemma with people, who are coming from Africa, through the Mediterranean Sea, causing the deaths of many before they reach Italy. After the Lampedusa migrant shipwreck incident in 2013 and more than 360 deaths, the Italian government established Mare Nostrum, a rescue operation which didn’t help much but it did devastate Italy’s budget.
Until 2015 all countries which were under “immigrant attack” had their own policies towards immigrants. These were not managed by the European Union, and they were formed on to go. It is worth noting that Greece, Turkey and Italy already faced with this “refugee wave” for several years and they tried to alarm other EUmember countries, but no one really bothered. Panic set in only when the number of immigrants skyrocketed and when the political problems in the Middle East seemed to become a global nightmare.
The Arab Spring which made the biggest political changes ever in the ME region, turned into hell in Syria, full of dust and blood, since 2011. Almost 5 million people have fled the country, which was divided among Bashar al-Assad’s regime, the terrorist organization ISIS and the aggressive group Jabhat al-Nusra. All of them are fighting each others. As a Syrian journalist wrote:”Today, ISIS is a friend with Jabhat al-Nusra, tomorrow Jabhat al-Nusra will support Assad’s forces. It is a mess”. In this cocktail of political tensions, civil war, an international intervention lead by Russia, no-no rhetoric from The White House, and diplomatic silence from the EU, the Syrians concluded that it is best for them to search for new homes in far away Europe, to knock on heaven’s door to Germany, bringing their asylum desires, the shadows of the ruined lives, and new ideological, cultural, religious and social expectations. Some of them left Syria for small crowded Lebanon, some searched for possibilities in Jordan, but those who decided to go through Turkey, didn’t want to stay in Turkey. They only wanted to go to Europe and to stay there. One must emphasize that Syrian people are considered as refugees because they are coming from a country which is at deep war and it is not a safe country, according to EU law, they are legally eligible to apply for asylum in some of EU member states.
Based on statistical data, there are about 348,540 Syrians who applied for asylum in Europe as of July 2015. The majority of them applied for asylum in Germany and in Sweden, but this number is not final because it is growing by the day, as the popular Balkans route becomes crowded with new refugees. The current situation is not anymore about the silent pain of a few states; it is a loud problem of the whole continent. The EU expected only Syrian refugees to come, they didn’t expect all sort of other immigrants to join them in this new exodus, especially not from Africa and South Asia. Semi-registration at the border check-points have shown us that only one of five people is a Syrian refugee and the rest are young men from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Eritrea, Nigeria, Somalia, Sudan,Gambia. Not only that, but 69% of them are adult young males, according to UNHCR.
That is a very important reason for the big political in the EU. How could we call those people refugees when they are coming from safe but poor countries? We will call them “economic immigrants”, a term which was immediately adopted by some hardliner EU-members. These economic migrants are using this global chance for their own journey into a better world. Despite the pictures in the main stream media, showing exhausted pregnant women and crying children among the tired, the reality is different. Young men in their best ages, most of them are ready to fight for what they think they deserve. Such a groups of people are migrating from Greece, through Macedonia and Serbia, heading into Hungary and then to Austria and finally to Germany. They only have one word on their mind: Germany. This is their alpha and omega, their highest drive and fuel to endure through the hot days, rainy roads, hateful comments and angry border police. They don’t know how to stop because they have a goal.
It seems that main goal of the migrant’s goal is Germany. The American dream was replaced with a German dream. Germany is a free country with all kind of benefits and opportunities for people whose only option in their homeland was to survive. But, for how long will Germany stay that kind of country if it adopts thousands of immigrants on a daily basis? Even if only a third of those coming chose to stay there, how will they be integrated into the Germany way of life, already broken deeply inside for a number of reasons. What will happen to the rest? Where will they be sent? Sending them to another EU member state, or non-EU member but safe state, or simply sending them back to home, if that place still exists, are the options. Many immigrants say to themselves: “Germany or nothing.” In other words, they would go rather back to their deserted homes than to stay in any other place which is not Germany.
European politicians, Mercy and Solidarity, lead by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, appear to be bigger than budget and domestic worries. However, after welcoming the “refugees” with sweets and flowers, the Germans are starting to realise the crisis is not over, it is just moved to their neighbourhood. Security experts all around the Europe are warning for fake refugees, ISIS terrorists, who are infiltrating Europe through the reduced level of security checks. It is like a virus, which comes silently and it kills softly. Not every immigrant is a jihadist but those who are, they are dangerous and they are ready to recruit new ones. It is like a wolf in sheep’s clothing, you may never recognise him among a thousand sheep but you are certain he is there and he is watching you. Some young males who went to Germany are already disappointed. They expected a glorious life in some big cities, but they were put up in small villages with no idealistic picture. Not all of them will be happy. Some of them will be angry. One of them will be very frustrated, one will pray for terrorists plots, one will draw plans. This is the time for us to think. We don’t want to feed bad wolves but how we can be sure about those good one?
Hungarian PM Victor Orban insists that his country doesn’t want Muslim immigrants and he claims that Hungary defends Christian Europe from illegal Muslim immigrants. That is definitely based on historical and political facts. This is some kind of Hijrah, a massive migration of Muslim people, which is capable of causing social tectonical changes. Those changes may already be here. The Turkish smuggling and political interests, the Greek poverty and inner chaos, the Macedonian inability to answer the challenge, the weak Serbian reaction to the emergency situation, the Hungarian border fence, the Croatian confusion about everything and the Western European hypocritical human rights vocabulary are all merged into a spicy meal but that cannot feed hungry migrants. They will demand more.
The EU is not united, that much is obvious in this immigrant’s crisis. The liberal and leftist ideology has opened the flood gates for all kind of sick demands and multicultural distortions. In this Europe, being European is the last thing you are able to be. Everything else is desired, everything else is allowed but not being a proud European, concerned for future generations of Europeans. If that is the case, you will risk to be called a Nazis or a Fascist, to be deaf for new multicultural aspirations and to be blind to religious freedom. Unfortunately, these freedoms easily lead to anarchy and a lack of national security. Having aggressive population statistic of the Islamic world in mind, you just have to worry for the future of the old lady called Europe.
The coexistence of Christianity and Islam may be possible if some structural and international crucial issues were solved. Europe, as well as the US, is so far away from having a key to that. The Middle East crisis is getting worse; terrorism reinforces itself every hour, hitting us without any break. The typical reaction to this is an awaking conservative nationalism and right-wing populism in EU states, as people’s answer to the official government immigrant policies. People want their countries back. Back from upper classes, back from foreigners who are taking their jobs and future away, back from changes which will occur not only in remote cities but also in the neighborhood they live in.
The simply question is: Why Muslim refugees did not go to oil rich Muslim countries like KSA, UAE, Qatar or Kuwait? Because those countries do not want them. The Muslims are against Muslims. The current Western policies towards the crisis in Syria and ignorance about Russia’s role over there makes this problem impossible to solve. The EU member states are forcing each other to deal with this, passing immigrants on like hot potato, without real intention to address the primary cause. In between are the poor countries of Western Balkans which feel the consequences of the diverging European Union policies, they are stuck with the illegal immigrants and their legal rights to hope for.
Islam is the youngest world religion and it is the religion which makes sweeping changes in the Western world. Those changes might be benign and integrated but they also may be malign and they may result in total separation and cold war within a society.
The European story with the immigrants started when global diplomacy failed. We may erect border fences and we may deploy our military forces against this uncontrolled migration to the EU, but we can’t stop them coming this way. That is like a disease. You need to diagnose it and you need cure it from ground zero. The EU and the US should stop playing chess against Russia but with Russia against the negative forces in the Middle East. They should work together or they will be destroyed together. This is not a childish one hour diplomatic mission to a conflict zone anymore; this is a global war in its beginning.
By Sandra Maksimovic
Sandra Maksimovic-Sara, has an MA in Biological Counter Terrorism Studies, with special interests of researching and writing about Biological Weapons, Biosecurity and Biodefense. Sandra hails from Serbia