Recent events in Europe have brought the crisis in far-off Syria to the door of Europe, and focused attention on this war like never before. Suddenly, it is not just someone else’s problem. Europe has to deal with it, and they don’t like it.
Many of the countries involved seemed to have conveniently forgotten their own recent histories. When Hungarians fled their country after the 1956 uprising, they were welcomed all over the world. Many went on to live good lives in the countries that took them in, finding respect for their opinions, a voice for their protests, alongside shelter and work too.
When the Balkan wars erupted many years later, humanitarian aid and genuine sympathy and concern provided assistance, shelter, and in some cases, new homes for those displaced or persecuted. Nobody asked about religion, ethnic origins, or whether or not those refugees were considered to be criminals in their countries of origin. They housed them, fed them, and tried to do the best to help them, as is right, in a civilised society.
So what of the current refugees, fleeing wars in Syria and Iraq, or fundamentalism in Afghanistan? They are treated like potential terrorists; fifth columnists, sent to destablise the west. They are fingerprinted, interrogated, and denied access to aid in some cases. They are kept out with razor wire, blasted with water cannons and pepper spray, or herded into overcrowded trains, that then take them somewhere they do not want to go.
Germany has done its best, taking a huge share of the number of people arriving in the EU. But what of other countries in the world? Where are North America, South America, Australia and New Zealand, for example? I hear no outcry to welcome them in these countries; often richer, larger, and better placed to deal with an influx of more people. It is seen as a European problem, and I am at a loss to understand why. I have no doubt, that if these people were Russian, North Korean, Cuban, or Chinese, asking to be given sanctuary from Communism, the doors to these other countries would open wide to them.
Perhaps it is because most of the refugees are Muslims. Maybe it is because they are fleeing war, not Communism. They are just the wrong kind of refugees, through no fault of their own.