The need to protect national borders are perceived across the European continent from dangers on the outside. Masses of people are wanting to enter our territories. In Macedonia, as we speak, thousands of people are waiting to catch the train to get one step closer to finding security, in a Europe that is struggling to figure out how to cope with the refugee crisis. Where, how and when people will find security is not certain. Signs of islamophobia and protectionist measures are obvious in the public debate and news reports throughout the continent. In Hungary, the authorities are building a 4-metre high fence of barbed wires surrounding its 175km borders, to prevent immigrants (i.e.: refugees) from crossing. What will be the consequences in Serbia, neighbouring to Hungary, once thousands of reugees arrive, and will attempt to continue northwards? Public officials in Germany say they expect an influx of peopple up to 800.000 by the end of the year. Simultaneously there is a rapid increase in arson attacks against asylum reception centres in the country. So far this year, 202 attacks, and counting. The vast majority of them are set alight by supporters of the extreme right wing. Fortunately, most Germans are aware that people in flight from war and conflict are in need of assistance, and support them in solidarity.
As Greece is a natural point of embarkment after having crossed the Mediterranean, the Greek islands have received thousands upon thousands of refugees. So far this year, 124.000 refugees have arrived the shores of Greece on their big escape across the world’s deadliest sea journey. We all agree that Greek authorities are hardly able to pay for anything, as they are struggling to access sources for their depleted and bankrupt economy. However, they have booked a cruiseship to give refuge to 2500 of them, which the European Union has funded. Sources state that 2300 refugees have not made it across the sea alive. People are aware that there is a big risk to cross the sea, but find it a better option to try than to stay, and perhaps getting a bullet through their head. Italy is also struggling financially, as 30% of the population live below the poverty line. However, the authorities did manage to set up the “Mare Nostrum” operation in October 2013 to help rescue shipwrecked refugees in the Mediterreanean. For about a year they were calling out to Europe for help, in a continent that did not want to listen: “Help. Europe, please, help us. We cannot do this job alone.” Now we are all in it together, and we are in lack of solutions of how to handle the refugee crisis.
In the midst of this madness, it is difficult to see how we can contribute. Furthermore, many of us are frightened by the scare tactics of militant groups and militias around the world, who seem to have one goal: How to kill innocent civilians and scare as many people as possible through the use of violence and terror? In a monent of frustration you might want to say “Stop the world and let me get off!” In trying to find an escape strategy, we are told that there is future potential to settle in Mars. However, rumours are saying that we will not be ready to abandon our mother ship Earth until the year 2023. Until then, we will have to wait it out a bit longer…
In a state of frustration, anger and fear, people at risk might resort to desperate measures. For instance, Syrian refugee children staying in Greee are fighting each other for meager sources of food and water. As there is a lack of everything, people are becoming desperate. During the journey through Europe people resort to grabbing fruit and vegetables they find along their along, in the lack of other food. When you go hungry, you do what you have to do in order to survive.
Two Norwegians converse about issues concerning immigration and integration – a topic of daily discussion in public debates and national news. People seem never to grow tired of discussing such issues, regardless of whether they personally know any immigrants, or not.
“So, you see, what those rightist people in Germany are doing makes sense. Because those people, you know, they are dangerous.”
“Yes, certainly! They are traumatised. It means that they can suddenly just go mad. They might turn against us. And they’ve got lots of, ehm…. well, you know… they have plenty of…. uhm, nothing.”
“And for this reason they are dangerous?”
“That makes sense… As you say, many people are traumatised. If you were to suffer trauma from war, you might have some problems concentrating and maintaining your focus. Your mind won’t function quite as well as it was before. You might be having nightmares, and living with memories of war. If you have been subjected to torture, you might develop panic attacks, as you have lost your trust in other people. As a result, you cannot tolerate being around others. Because of your anxiety, you might isolate yourself in your home, where you feel safe.”
“That doesn’t sound too good.”
Meanwhile, in Syria people are living in fear of the selfproclaimed caliphat of the “Islamic State”. Members of the Islamic State promote themselves as being Muslim, but so far I have personally never met a Muslim who supports violence and terror. In fact, from my experience most Muslims are compassionate, warm and welcoming people. In many cases, they are concerned with how they will have the time to say their five prayers a day, in order to be “good” Muslims, while attending their language lessons, or during work. But from what I am told, it is possible to sum up the prayers until the end of the day, and say them all in one go. It doesn’t mean not fulfilling your duties as a Muslim. But what makes a “bad” Muslim, is resorting to violence and killing others, as it is “haram” – strictly prohibited, according to the Koran.
So, how does it make sense that ISIL justifies using violence, terror and beheadings of civilians, journalists and aid workers? It doesn’t. Or the fact that children between the age of 1 and 9 are being sold for the amount of $165? Girls at the age of 10 has been forced to work as sex slaves. As the age increases, the price is reduced, and women above the age of 40 are sold cheaply for $41. This is cruel, degrading and inhumane treatment, and it doesn’t have anything to do with Islam.
“Well, anyhow. We are unable to receive many of them here. We’ve got a welfare state to look after. And besides, the unemployment rate is so high now.”
“Oh, really? Has it increased? And what’s the rate now?”
WTH??!*#! “Do you realise that the unemployment rate in Greee is 26%? And in Spain, 22%? In both Italy and Portugal the rate is around 12%. And you are saying that 4,5% is high?”
“I guess that in comparison to other countries, 4,5% is not so high… But how are we going to support these people? Many of them don’t want to work, you know. They just want to receive welfare benefits and to live off the State. We have to protect ourselves.” Obviously. Stupid.
“In fact, the vast majority of them do want to work. Many have worked almost their whole lives, and want nothing else but to live in safety and to work, to earn an income to support their families. Quite a few never had the chance to begin school, and are initially illiterate when they arrive in the country. Some people dropped out of school at the age of 14 or 16 to start work. Others continued onwards to university studies, and have gained Bachelor’s degrees, or even Phd-degrees. But yet, people are struggling to find work.”
“Do they really??! Why?”
“Some people who have PhD-degrees are unable to get work that is relevant to their education, and work as taxi drivers or waitors. Or they become entrepreneurs and set up their own business, in the lack of job opportunities. Other jobseekers are struggling due to insufficient language skills. If you left school at 14 and migrated at 40, you are likely to face challenges when learning a foreign language. You might also have to learn a completely new alphabet, if for instance you come from an Arabic speaking country, or your mother tongue is Farsi, as many people speak in Afghanistan. Employers in Norway often expect employees to speak near fluent Norwegian. While others are unable to access documentation of their education, perhaps because the authorities have burnt them, or they have perished during a war. Poor language skills and no formal education or training means that many people are forced to pick up quite labour-intensive work that have consequences for their health, physically and mentally.”
“Is that so? Hmphhh….”
“Yes. And they are really just normal people, you know. They used to be doctors, lawyers, shopkeepers, or hairdressers. Engineers. Students. School pupils.”
“I still think that this is not our problem to handle. And now we are facing a drop in the value of oil from $110 to $46 per barrel, which is a problem for our economy.”
“Anyhow, our national economy has depended on the oil industry for long enough. How about finding other ways to make money? Did you think the golden oil age would last forever?”
“I think that we were doing well. We were making money, weren’t we…?”
I do realise that leaders of the Islamic State are sexually frustrated. They obviously have got their hang-ups on sex. And there is probably no woman or man in the whole world who would willingly go to bed with any of them. According to my knowledge, being hateful, violent and extremist has never been a good approach towards dating and mating.
“So to prevent these people from flooding the gates of Europe and crossing our borders, what can we do?”
“You know, if the Islamic State was dissolved and ruined, a substantial part of the problem would be gone! We should cast them away as far as possible, out of Syria.”
“Where could we possibly send them? Do you think their home countries will want to receive them? I think not…”
“I have got an idea! Let’s send them into outer space and off to Mars.”
“I agree. Let’s do that!”
“Yes. Without any food.”
“That ought to teach them. But let’s fast forward settlement in Mars to anno 2015.”
“Let’s do that.”
People were not born to hate
We were born to love and create
Love, live and let live.