Birds are the epitome of the migratory species; nature’s natural refugees. They wait. They watch. They fly. They are … free.
And then they left …
I wonder where the world might be without politics or, dare I even suggest, intolerance. I see petty squabbles in school playground politics daily. I see the same petty squabbles – with considerably wider consequences – in international politics; essentially these are just older people who you would hope should really know better. The Russians weren’t involved in bringing down an Australian passenger airliner… because they weren’t in Ukraine. And when a Russian airliner is brought down, their foreign minister’s first reaction to the UK stopping flights to Egypt ‘They’re only doing that because they don’t agree with what we’re doing in Syria…’ Barely a day later and Russia had stopped flights, too; but the most important thing, let’s get the petty international knee-jerk political response in first.
Rinse and repeat; until, one day, there’s nowhere left to fly. Unless you’re a bird.
The gates of Europe are creaking. This is the modern world; a mixture of tragedy, aspiration and access to social media. Immigration has become a broadly contentious issue in the European Union [EU] because its open borders policy toward freedom of movement and work opportunities generally only runs one way: in simple terms, east to west. And then the refugee crisis began in Syria. And following one notable, widely reported, tragic death of a little boy drowned in the Mediterranean igniting consciences throughout the EU [in Germany the people were quick to make Welcome banners] … tragedy and aspiration truly combined.
People are now arriving from Iraq, Iran, Eritrea, Libya, Afghanistan, Pakistan and other non-EU European states … the list is almost endless. And the vast majority are heading to … western Europe. And one of the most popular destinations is Sweden. Tragedy or aspiration is well-informed in the modern world. Any reasonably educated search of the Internet will tell you Sweden is an alleged utopia. In the past two weeks alone 18,000 migrants have arrived in Sweden. It’s unsustainable. [Update: Just a few hours after writing this Sweden introduced a ‘temporary’ border control in an attempt to stem the flow of migrants entering the country. Bearing in mind the numbers have increased exponentially, if the present number arriving were maintained at this level for a year it would equate to 5% of Sweden’s population!]
The gates of Europe are creaking. Welcome to the modern, already overpopulated world. And now we have begun to migrate in unprecedented numbers.
Also, since writing this, I heard another story in the week about a Syrian refugee. He had been interviewed on BBC Radio 5Live after arriving in Slovenia. In joyful broken English he told how he was heading for Germany ‘Angela Merkel is our [refugees] mother…’ he exclaimed. He repeated it joyously again. A few weeks later the 5Live team had tracked him down … in Sweden. He was disillusioned following his arrival in Germany. It hadn’t been as he’d expected; not understanding the language he moved on to the alternative utopia, Sweden. And, here again, he was disillusioned – provided with temporary accommodation in a village in the back of beyond and separated from his traveling companions and a family member who had arrived before. Somehow I sense this is only one story of what we likely become commonly held experiences.
The social media and its associated connectivity may’ve been alive with Leave and Come now messages back down the line. But the messages of lingering disillusionment and reality of migration will likely be very different. Migrants at The Jungle encampment in Calais wait to cross the channel “We will be given a house, a job, a car,” said one; seemingly oblivious to the fact that even Londoners are finding it increasingly difficult to live in London; and presumably equally oblivious to the 7,500 homeless living on its streets in 2014/15.
“Everyone deserves a better life.” With this level of migration, the likely reality promises to be something quite different.