Everyone has seen the tragic photo of the little boy on the beach. It can only move the world into trying to do the right thing. But there is a conflict of opinions regarding precisely what is the right thing to do regarding the desperate efforts of migrants to reach Europe.
Angela Merkel and F. Hollande believe that preset quotas of refugees should be obligatorily accepted by every member State of the EU. But there is nothing yet full proof established to differentiate refugees who have the right to seek temporary refuge, from migrants who seem to be taking advantage of the opportunity to get to Europe in the hope of being able to reside there permanently.
The Schengen agreements don't seem to fully insure the security of the European member State confines, and is it not more the responsibility of the European Parliament to establish the necessary laws and to finance this control and security, rather than just rely on the member States concerned (whose laws differ) to try as best they can to contend with an increasingly difficult situation and all the tragedies that the problem is constantly generating?
Is declaring such an open invitation by heads of State the right thing to do? More than 2600 migrants have died this year trying to cross the Mediterranean. According to UNO, between 22,000 and 72,000 migrants have perished in the last two decades trying to get to Europe.
It has been said that Germany needs "manual workers". This may be so, but I would be more inclined to believe that Angel Merkel is mainly motivated by sentiment and personal experience. F. Holland, however, appears eager to display his concern more for demagogical motives. He closely followed Obama and made very thoughtless decisions regarding the Ukrainian crisis. Now he appears to be just as blindly following the German Chancellor.
It seems to me that if those who pretend to represent us do nothing to try to counter the problem by its roots, then the tragedies are bound to increasingly continue.
Obviously this doesn't mean a joint military engagement in Syria. It's far too late for that. But nevertheless, a considerable amount of responsibility for this human tragedy is certainly Bashar al-Assad's. Without referring to any possible future charges of crimes against humanity, shouldn't Assad be eventually obliged by international law to financially assume at least part of this responsibility?
Is it not also crucially urgent to put a stop to the criminal pursuits of traffickers and smugglers who are inciting migrants to cede to them all their resources before risking their lives by boarding whatever unseaworthy craft the traffickers provide?
If Libya has any national control regarding this, then it must also assume its responsibilities.
One is reminded of Oscar Wilde's assertion that altruism becomes an essential part of human tragedy, simply because it encourages and perpetuates it. One cures an illness by finding the essential remedy. Is the German and French solution the right cure? Or could it not be the best way of insuring that the illness becomes even more uncontrollably contagious?
Interesting to learn from Valeurs Actuelles an editorial written by Yves de Kerdrel.
According to information revealed by The Wall Street Journal this afternoon, the family of Aylan, the little three year old boy found lifeless on a Turkish beach, was not fleeing from Syria, but had been living in Turkey for three years. The aunt of Aylan who lives in Canada had financed their voyage to Europe in order that her brother can benefit from dental treatment there. Aylan died uniquely because of this (during the crossing between Bodrum and Kos).
Yves de Kerdrel concludes by reminding his readers that this by no means depreciates the gravity of the tragedy, but it should cause us to reflect a little more regarding the difference between refugees fleeing from war, and migrants whose object is to reach Europe for reasons far less avowable.
Text and image © Mirino. September, 2015