Monday, September 7, 2015

immigration catastrope

To judge by the news media's droning drumbeat, day after day, of the migrants trying to get out of northern Africa and the Middle East, there is desperation afoot. People are willing to put their own children in harm's way in order to escape some more awful arena of existence. Some achieve their goal. Others, including their own children, die. The European countries that are targeted as relatively safe havens are awash in conflicting opinions about these desperate people -- whether to take them in or shun them.

It would be impossible to sift out all of the reasons, all the twinkling facets, of desperation that are in play. It goes beyond heart-wrenching and becomes numb ... and the line attributed to Stalin floats to the surface like some oddment from a sunken ship: "A single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic."

England and France are so conflicted that they are considering attacking one of the sources of discontent and desperation -- the government of Syria. It might be easier to go to war with the source of the desperation than to absorb the financial impact of this tsunami of migrants. Isn't there a source of desperation that prompts families to put their children at risk?

And the answer is, for the simple-minded like me, yes. The governments that rely on the population for sustenance have not sufficiently nourished the nourishers. And, as the Somali official once opined when asked about the pirates operating off his shores:
If you do not share your wealth with us, we will share our poverty with you.
There is nothing political in this statement. Rather, I think, it describes an imperative for those desperate to protect their young. Never mind Marx, never mind decency ... let's talk water; let's talk bread.

Catastrophes are too hard to compass. There needs to be a shorthand. The mind cries out for a Donald-Trump-esque oversimplification that is nevertheless true: 
If you do not share your wealth with us, we will share our poverty with you.
The catastrophe has not yet quite reached the U.S., one of the arbiters of unshared wealth and instigators of military tumult on foreign, often lucrative, shores ... but be patient. "It's not my fault" simply will not wash over time.

1 comment:

  1. And just as Europe begins thinking about going into Syria, the Russians have already begun building a military installation there.