Dam the refugees!

Recently, the Greek islands were nominated for the Nobel peace prize for their reception of refugees. Hundreds of thousands have gone across them to pastures greener, in the vain hope that Europe would respect their rights. As we now know, Europe would rather sacrifice those rights than share its soil with illegal immigrants, be they toddlers or trauma-victims, wheelchair-inhabitants or the hated Young Single Males. European states have started feeding them into detention centers on arrival to contain The Flood.

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The detention center for irregular migrants in Leros.

In recent months, our society has shown its narcissistic side with ever cruder force, losing patience for humanitarianism and solidarity at every step. We only seem to talk about a “refugee crisis” when the refugees, who have for decades numbered millions, come to our continent. Until then they were in the Third World, were misery belongs. This “crisis”, it is worth recalling, consists of the liberation of refugees from war and poverty. While terrorism has almost exclusively been directed at them by fascist militias and drunk xenophobes, we nonetheless worry incessantly about the security risk that they pose to us.

Meanwhile, in the Rest of the World, refugees travel around without the monumental fuss about the breakdown of civilization that we now constantly hear from the richest, most hardened states on Earth.

I’m staying in the south of Turkey these days, not all too far from the Syrian border, and here Syrians abound. Large numbers of them came here fleeing bombardment, for example when Russians joined the war, and many are considering going home again now that Putin has announced withdrawal.

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Shelters within earshot of the Syrian-Turkish border. Behind the fence, much denser informal camps are sprouting.

The reception Syrians get from the Turkish authorities seems to depend on the political climate, and currently winds are blowing against them. Borders are more closely sealed than before, so many stay in tent camps along the border fence on the Syrian side. These camps are only the first on the road from war – precisely the same reservoirs of misery as you can see against the borders of European nations.

Meeting with Syrians here puts the European hysteria into perspective. I’ve met with a refugee that has worked in an orphanage here since 2014 after fleeing Aleppo, another Syrian with years of experience in running camps, and the staff of a community center that has helped children off the streets and into schools since 2007. It was first directed at Turkish kids, but now the homeless here are mostly Syrians. It’s located in the city of Gaziantep, where Syrians live in their hundreds of thousands or millions – figures vary, since not all get registered.

Gaziantep, which not only lets refugees pass through, but also houses them in enormous numbers, has like the Greek islands been nominated for the Nobel peace prize.

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Pakistanis walk to the “smugglers’ village” outside the Turkish city Cesme, for a boat trip to the Greek island Chios.

I’m told attitudes here toward Syrians are much nicer than on the western coast of Turkey, where they depart for Europe. Maybe it’s because of the smaller distance — cultural and geographical — to Syria, or because of the belief of the western cities in the Religion Of Tourism, which brings money-angels from the sky and teaches its subjects to avoid refugees, who are not angels and can’t fly. They are on the contrary goblins of trouble, trauma and war, and disturb the whitewashed idyll of the fantastically neat Mediterranean resorts.

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The “smugglers’ village” might easily have become a tourist idyll, but now serves as a camping site for refugees on their way to Greece.

Thus the refugees are dammed into damnation, kept down south in the fires of war when it suits the Turkish government, or at the very least outside Europe, whatever the cost.

Everybody wishes to go home, but for many refugees, that’s not an option. Maybe we’ll soon manage to lock them all into some satisfyingly confined limbo, where we’ll be able to pluck out those very few scanned, registered and vetted souls that have been proven non-terrorist enough for our fragile, timid society. Then they can enter our angelic heaven of security, white beaches and easy travels. Having thus subjugated their freedom of movement to our hysteria, our crisis will finally be over.

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Dam the refugees!

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