Displaced was written by Hilary. I wanted to write something different. We saw two different groups of people entering Greece, and no doubt bound for northern Europe. We had this confirmed by islanders as well, that many of the the migrants would head for Athens and then leave Greece.
The first group was young people, mostly males. These seemed to be coming mostly from Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan. We saw ripped up UNHCR papers with text in Turkish, identifying individuals from these countries. Refugees from conflict, but like all young people desperate for a better future willing to travel to find it.
The second group were Syrians. These were family groups, men, women, children, infants. People who had risked not only their own lives on a night sea crossing across shipping lanes, but the lives of newborn.
So why risk the crossing, why risk life and limb on the hope of reaching France, Germany, UK? Why not remain in Turkey? Why is this movement of displaced people happening?
Why not remain in Turkey is probably the easiest one. Jobs in Turkey are hard to find, when they can be found, wages are not good. Sometimes are commission only, sometimes it is all day in a field for a few lira. Foreigners are often not allowed to work, and to be honest, there are more than two million known refugees in Turkey, Turkey is struggling to cope, the refugees are on the streets with nowhere to go, and the EU is not providing the assistance to Turkey to help the refugees that it is treaty bound to do. So the refugees leave.
Why Northern Europe. Well in a sense it is chasing Shangri La. It is where jobs pay decent money, even in the black economy. It is perceived as safe, where it is safe to bring up children, safe to express ideas, where the rule of law is upheld, where human rights are protected. This is the perception and to a point these people are right.
Why flee their native countries? This is of course the real source of the problem. The simple answer is they are fleeing war, genocide, hatred. I ask all who might read this….. If you were living in a country where the military might drop a barrel packed full of explosives and nails onto the street where your children were playing, would you stay? Would you stay in a country where your daughter might be abducted and raped because she was of a different religious sect? Of course you would not.
But the real question we need to ask is how have we got to the position where these things are happening? What part has the Western world played in creating this unprecedented movement of displaced people? The west has raged military war on Afghanistan, on Pakistan, on Syria, on Libya, on Iraq. The west has raged economic war on Iran. The west incited political unrest and civil war in Libya, Syria. I could easily add more to each list. The reason for all of this is not political, is not ideological, it is all driven by greed, by the desire to acquire resources, to plunder the local wealth, to asset strip, to essentially take the wealth of these nations, these peoples, and transfer it to western economies. It is therefore no great surprise that when people are forced to flee war, terror and genocide, they follow the route of their plundered wealth, to those very countries which created the unrest in the first place.