Today there are strident calls from the US -- the richest and most powerful country in the world -- to stop the entry of ‘migrants’ into the US. The present administration in that country even going to the extent of separating children from their parents in an effort to scare migrants-to-be from entering the country.
In Europe populists political parties opposed to migrants entering their countries are making rapid political gains. An example of this, the new Italian government’s refusal of entry to vessels carrying migrants who had been rescued in the Mediterranean..
Since the Arab Spring set off a string of revolts in the Middle East in 2011, and the large-scale influx of around 2,000,000 persons mainly of Islamic descent from countries such as Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, and Syria fled into the European Union in 2014. Since then a new term -migrants- has been headline news the world over.
In earlier times these, ‘migrants’ were referred to as refugees -persons fleeing war, death, persecution, and or the after effects of man-made or natural disasters in their own countries.
On an average 44,000 persons were forced to flee their homes every day in 2017. They have been mainly of Islamic descent and entered the the EU travelling across the Mediterranean Sea or overland via Southeast Europe.
According to estimates there are 65.6 million displaced people the world over and 1,809,953 of them have sought refuge in 16 EU member states - among the most developed countries of the world.
While the US and the EU -‘developed countries’- of the world are garnering headlines regarding the inflow refugees, they are not the only regions in the world dealing with this mass inflow of
The UNHCR’s latest Global Trends Report of June 2017 shows the world’s poorest countries are bearing the burden of the global refugee crisis.
The report finds that developing countries host 84% of the world’s refugees under the UNHCR mandate. While some of the poorest countries in the world granted legal asylum status to a growing number of refugees - 28% of the global total.
According to statistics provided by UNHCR/UNICEF,Turkey sheltered 2.8 million; Pakistan 1.6 million -the majority of its 1.6 million displaced arriving from Afghanistan. Lebanon houses 1 million refugees. In 2016 one in six people in Lebanon, was a refugee -meaning that the country had the largest number of displaced people relative to its own population. Iran has a refugee population of 978,000. Ethiopia 742,700; Bangladesh 836,210 (ISCG/UNICEF), Jordan 691,800, Kenya 523,500, Uganda 512,600, Germany 478,600, Chad 386,100 and India
During World War II numerous examples of Europeans fleeing to the Middle East for refuge exist.
Hundreds of thousands of refugees, mainly women and children, from Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Turkey and the former Yugoslavia, found refuge in Egypt, Syria and Palestine. Among the cities that housed such camps were Syria’s Aleppo, and Palestine’s Gaza City.
These people found solace in the Middle East. The people did not reject them as we see in the reverse flow occurring today where countries like Greece Italy and Croatia are refusing and turning back the war-affected people from the Middle East and Afghanistan.
Today we are witnessing the world’s richest countries not only rejecting desperate people but referring to them in abusive language.
What is even worse is that the people from the Middle East, to Afghanistan, to the countries of Central America are in fact victims of western interference in their countries.
For instance the Washington Post quotes then Secretary of State Albright interviewed on CBS in 1996 regarding the effects of US sanctions on Iraq which resulted in the deaths of half a million Iraqi children, replying “...we think the price was worth it”.
While the US leadership warns people from Central America against entering the US illegally, they conveniently forget it was the US instigated or supported coups, illegal death squads, imposed blockades and embargoes to protect its interests that led to creation of conditions in those countries which are driving people to seek a hopefully better future in the US today.
The ‘migrant crisis’ the EU is struggling over, and the US is baring its fangs is a creation of these two self-same powerful power blocs. It is time they face up to this responsibility. The crisis will not run away. It can only be solved when the conditions are created for the desperate people to return to their homes in safety. This is the responsibility of the US and EU.