Refugee ‘chickens’ homebound to roost

Global humanitarian crisis is engulfing the Middle East, parts of northern and western Africa as well as South America, as economic and political refugees fight for shelter, a better life and hope in Europe, the US and Australia.

In our times, this is the biggest refugee crisis seen outside of a global conflict period, spreading across the world and affecting at least 19 million people.

While the world has always had a “refugee issue” the conflicts sparked by the Arab Spring, particularly in volatile Syria have triggered this latest crisis and most of those on the move for better pastures are citizens of the strife-torn Middle Eastern country.

First world countries, naturally targeted as “economic oases” by the war-weary refugees, are reacting in varying ways to the crisis, some opening borders and setting thresholds for admittance and others boarding up.

It is ironic that the EU, US and other Western nation’s support, both tacit and explicit, for the toppling of autocratic regimes during the Arab Spring, is partly to blame for the fact that the refugees currently on the move are mostly Syrians and Libyans.

Even prior to this, the world powers’ interactions with the volatile Middle East region has fostered unrest, stark divisions and is generally accepted by progressive analysts as a failure of both diplomacy and reason.

Through their roughshod oil and dominance seeking foreign policies, the EU and US have directly contributed to the growth and popularity of extreme groups in the Middle East and with that, the demise and unpopularity of democratic ambitions.

Today, “Death to America” is a rallying call for religious extremists across the Middle East and by extension, the EU – with its much vaunted soft diplomacy – has found itself in terrorists’ gunsights.

The refugee crisis is symptomatic of historic foreign and economic policy failures and while it is unfair to solely blame the EU and the US, being world powers their action or inaction has largely determined today’s events.

All over the Middle East, many former allies of the EU and US have become increasingly cynical about their “spreading democracy” ideals and have thus come under the spell of the Pied Pipers of terrorism.

Those nations standing in the way of refugees as they drift towards economic and social freedom should re-look the history of the establishment of Europe, the US, Australia, New Zealand and most of the industrialised world.

All were built through the entrapping of native African and Asian labour as well as the great migrations of expertise from Europe, as that continent looked outside its own borders for growth.

This is no different from what the current refugees are doing. Economic osmosis dictates that people will move from poorer to richer areas, often regardless of the risks.

Today’s thought

“If I was in a refugee camp somewhere on the Pakistani border, of course I’d want to come to Australia.”


-Tony Abbott

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