Refugees and xenophobia

This post is political and controversial, as such I figure there’s a need for a comments policy.

Comments Policy:  Comments are welcome but please keep them civil, no abusive language, no name calling, no attacks on commenters.  I reserve the right to delete/edit obnoxious comments.

In the strawbale house

RIMG1846

Earth plastered strawbale house interior

alongside the horse-float that I’ve been calling home for the summerRIMG0723appeared an unplanned artwork, a commentary on international policy and humanitarian crises.

RIMG1842

Your produce is welcome, your labour is welcome but you, my friend, can stay where you are.

I’ve been watching the unfolding of the Syrian refugee crisis and the various responses to it.  Here on the opposite side of the world there’s not much else we can do but think about our own responses to what is going on in our own backyard.

Back in Europe Angela Merkel took the politically brave and equally astute step of opening Germany’s doors to the refugees.  Sadly, Germany is now back-pedalling after the electorate back-lash.  The move was astute because most refugees return to their country of origin when peace returns, and they will go with gratitude for the country that gave them shelter in their hour of need.  They will have a new appreciation for things German and a willingness to trade with Germany over countries that didn’t help.

Nearer to home our government has agreed to raise the pitiful cap on how many refugees get settled here (better than nothing I suppose?), and Winnie has been wind-bagging on about NZ for New Zealanders – what is a NZer anyway?  We’re all descended from migrants and refugees.

Australia persists with the Pacific Solution despite the stories of atrocities filtering out of the concentration, I mean detention camps on Nauru and Manus Island.

Meanwhile in the US the primaries are drawing to a close and Don Trump appears to be soaring to a high note on a wave of nationalistic, anti-immigrant fervor.  It’s the same xenophobic ranting that’s being repeated throughout Europe and is giving Angela Merkel such a hard time.

What really surprises me is that the nations of the former ANZUS pact, whose populations are built from migrants and refugees seeking opportunity and freedom from persecution, seem to have forgotten their roots and lost any sense of compassion in the process.  Come to that the ongoing nature of the Syrian crisis is, at least in part, due to the intervention by the West.  It seems that even as we move to a global economy, global communications and a global labour force that we are also determined to prevent people engaged in a struggle for existence from escaping the hell that they face daily.

Refugees are not the problem, our attitude is.

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