Abby Martin, a journalist I highly respect, published recently the following video dedicated to the immigrant crisis in Europe. I noticed how polarized are the comments below the video, so I decided to write a little something.
I think the reason why people are so unhappy with her position is that it still comes from the point of view of the empire. Standing on the top, it's very difficult to notice the nuances on the bottom. Europe is not really "one place". In theory, it is a union of 28 sovereign counties, but in practice, it is an empire with Germany on top, followed by France, UK and Spain and the little ex-soviet countries like mine on the bottom. The common politics is more resembling a bickering among vassals under the careful eye of the Emperor than a democratic discussion among equals. Something which is probably difficult to see from the outside, say USA, but which is very clear from the inside. On top of that is the fact that the whole EU institution and apparatus serves one master and that is USA. It has long lost its independence, with brief glimpses of disagreement in very situations like the Snowden leak, even though technically even then, the EU landed the plane of the president Evo Moralez upon a request of the USA. So let's be realistic, there is no independence or free will when it comes to USA-EU relations.
For this reason, I think very little people in the EU will actually understand Abby's point. - that everybody, no matter where born, has the right to live and to look for a better life. This certainly is the humane point of view and I couldn't agree more. Civilisation should be for everyone, not only for those born on the right place. However, when in your fight for better life comes to the expense of the receiving country, the balance of what is right and wrong is not so straight-forward. Because even when those immigrants are actually refugees, it is a huge challenge to accommodate them in such numbers, when the continent is still in crisis and stagnation and unemployment is high. And especially when most of those refugees are males, aged 18-30 with very questionable background. And with very different understanding of what is socially acceptable.
Obviously, the immigrant wave today is a direct result of the disastrous politics of the USA and its "partners". In that, no one of us is actually innocent, because most of the EU countries are actively supporting the US in its reckless external politics. But how much the individual voice of a country matters on the EU scale is another issue. In most cases, smaller countries are bullied into agreeing with whatever the US decides with all the means possible - political, economic etc. The democracy is a myth - look at what is happening in Portugal now, and before that in Greece, Bulgaria etc. So while no one is really innocent, the guilt is not evenly spread.
And also the social strain is not evenly spread. The USA doesn't welcome any of those immigrants,even thought it holds the biggest responsibility for what is happening. The EU came with the idea of "solidarity" and quotas, but what solidarity when the standards of living in the EU are not equal?
For example the salary of a social worker in Bulgaria is 190 euro/month (with about 10x in Spain). The money for social activities are proportional. The living conditions that can be offered to the newcomers are extremely poor and no wonder, nobody actually wants to stay here. But the EU quota will send around 1500 people here, against their will, claiming this is solidarity? Well, it is not. It is not right neither for the immigrants, who are moved around like sacks of potatoes, to a place where they clearly don't want to stay nor live, nor it is right for the locals who need to provide care on a European level when their own standard of living is nowhere near the EU level. How can Bulgaria give say 600 euro per immigrant, when the minimal salary is 160 euro? And is this fair toward the retired people in the country with average pension of 140 euro? And how can we expect from anyone to be humane and good and well-coming when nobody asked of his/her opinion on any of those war, nobody even asks him of how the country should be ruled, because when the EU is not happy with the government, it just freeze the EU money until a new one gets elected. What is democratic about all that? The refugees run from bombs, but they don't want to stay in a devastated country. They want to live in Germany. I think that's ok for everyone. Because Germany, France, UK were who decided and convinced everyone to follow the USA in their wars. So they should take their responsibility. As for the rest of us, maybe next time ask us for our opinion?
The bottom line - the immigrants are a side-effect of the wrong economic model of the world - that of parasitism. The only way for rich nations to be rich under this model is if they are robbing the "poor" nations. It happens inside Europe (the division East-West and North-South), it happens on global scale. The players are always the same, the victims - whoever is available. So don't blame Europeans for not being humane, we came up with this model on the first place. And we apply it to our own member-states, so it's way too much to expect us not to apply it on far away countries. Even when they are not actually that far away.
Maybe I should clarify, I do think immigrants should be treated in a humane way, which protects their dignity and rights. Because they are human being, they have the right to prosper. But instead of thinking how to accommodate them in already too densely populated Europe, maybe we should stop destroying their own countries. Maybe we should think of a way to ensure peace and prosperity for the whole planet and not only for the selected few which happen to be born in the right place in the right time.