Discernment and balanced thinking seem to be disappearing in an inverse ratio to the adoption of social media. Another casualty ofpolitical correctness.
Winston Churchill said:
The best argument against democracy is a 5 minute conversation with an average voter
Perhaps the argument should be updated to include social media users who endlessly circulate tragic photographs of drowning children on Greek beaches.
Does exposure to too much social media and tear-jerking TV images destroy our powers of discernment?
We are in danger of having our countries’ foreign policy decided by social media.
Of course the death of a child is tragic, any child, any where.
Dragging the last ounce of emotion out of images of drowned children, chaotic scenes at Hungarian railway stations or illegal immigrants attempting to hijack trucks at the entrance to the channel tunnel obscures the real problem.
It camouflages the real culprits.
The West and the wealthier European nations now being flooded with illegal immigrants are not the main cause of this crisis.They contributed to it. They failed to take the right action at the right time, but they are not the main culprits.
ISIS and the people smugglers are.
There are established routes to, and camps in, Turkey, Jordan and the Lebanon for genuine refugees. NGOs and Western governments have already poured millions into these camps. But the camps are not pleasant places to spend the next few years in. No where near as comfortable as a council flat and income support in Birmingham, Paris or Hamburg.
Prime Ministers Cameron of Britain and Harper of Canada are correct in offering to accept some genuine refugees from those camps. Refugees whose claims for asylum have been verified. Refugees who have been cleared of allegiance to ISIS or any intention of setting up terrorist networks in their new countries.
Refugees seeking asylum, rarely have thousands of dollars to pay human traffickers. Illegal immigrants frequently do.
I have the greatest sympathy for law-abiding Syrians, Libyans, Ethiopians and others trying to move to a country that will offer them and their families a better future.
I know what it is like to live through the economic and political destruction of one’s country. To lose one’s home. It happened to me and thousands of others, but we had to follow procedures to be allowed to immigrate. My first choices were countries with warmer climates, none wanted me, I am grateful that Canada did, but I still had to follow a long, worrying and expensive process to be allowed to stay permanently.
The West sowed the seeds of this catastrophe years ago when it failed to take strong action against the Somali pirates who generated huge revenues from ransoms. This provided seed capital for ISIS, Al Shabab, Baka Houram and other terrorist groups.
Prevarication by Western leaders over whether to help the opposition depose Assad of Syria or support him gave ISIS the opportunity to take over much of that country. Abandoning Iraq and leaving huge stockpiles of advanced weaponry and vehicles as easy prizes for ISIS was another mistake. Fertile ground for the seeds of chaos to germinate.
Backing the wrong sides in most of the countries during the Arab spring created better conditions for many fledgling terrorist groups to form and arm themselves.
The seeds were fertilised and nurtured when the Italian, Greek and other navies and coastguards rescued boat loads of migrants in the Mediterranean. Helped them land on European soil. Instead of escorting them straight back to the coast of Africa, then sinking the boats once they had disembarked.
Harsh, but necessary. If the people smugglers had been stopped three years ago, thousands of migrants would not have left land, thousands would not have drowned.
The photograph of the dead boy would not have been taken because if there had been no boat for him to board, he could not have drowned.
The thousands of dollars in exorbitant fares his parents and others had paid to the traffickers would have helped them travel a safer journey to a refugee camp, if they were refugees seeking asylum and not illegal migrants looking for an easy passage to a life on social welfare in Europe.
But it would not have got them to Europe as quickly.
What happens when the estimated 300 000 migrants creating havoc on European railway tracks and roads are processed? The cost of their welfare, accommodation, medical needs, children’s education added to already overburdened systems.
Unless the West takes strong action very quickly, there will be another 300 000 in small boats, more photos of drowned children in social media every day.
And then another 300 000. According to Wikipedia, there are 1.2 billion people in Africa, the overwhelming majority poor. 80.5% of sub Saharans or 380 million living on less than $2.50 a day. Millions who would take the chance on a dangerous crossing in a small boat if they thought that landing on a Greek beach would ensure their refugee status in Europe.
Life for those millions is short, brutal and miserable, it is no surprise that thousands of them will take huge risks to get to Europe. Whether persecuted or not. Without regard to the legality of their methods.
It’s interesting that Jordan and Turkey are already accommodating huge numbers of refugees and Lebanon is helping despite its limited resources and its own political problems.
More interesting that the wealthier Arab states who would be the logical destinations for Syrians anxious to escape their country are conspicuously absent from the list of countries offering refuge – either temporary or permanent.
That tells me that Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the other oil rich Arab states are smarter than we are. They have not lost their powers of discernment.
Does this sound harsh?
Yes and I make no apology, I lived in the third world for most of my life. It does not work like the first world. It understands only one thing – strength. Acts of compassion are seen as weakness to be exploited.
The West’s handling of the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean shows lack of discernment, lack of resolve and weakness.
That is why it is being exploited so successfully by ISIS, human smugglers and illegal immigrants.
It takes tough decisions to solve major crises. It took massive bombing of German cities to speed up the end of WWII in Europe. Two atomic bombs in Japan to end that conflict.
Hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths, tragic, distasteful by today’s standards, unacceptable to the would be molders of foreign policy on social media.
But the only way to end the war, to resolve the crisis.
We don’t need to use nuclear weapons to end the migrant crisis, just some determined action and the destruction of a few boats.
We should be compassionate, we should help genuine refugees using the right channels. We cannot afford to allow our countries to be flooded with illegal immigrants who would certainly include those plotting against us.
That would be suicidal.