Before embarking on the journey of blogging the migrant crisis in Europe, I was only partially aware of the extent to which the issue stretches. I assumed it had effects ranging across political and social fields, but did not realize at first that these various categories were so intertwined.
The fact that hostility toward migrants inhibits their growing accustomed to their new country and becoming integrated into society is somewhat of a given. But this hostility is so pervasive that it even has effects within immediate families, as in the case of Marine Le Pen and the growing chasm between her ideals and those of her father.
Even within a cultural group, there are misunderstandings as well – for example, President Netanyahu’s assumption that all Jews would want to “return” to Israel for security and acceptance whether they viewed it as their homeland or not. Solving a demographic problem can be difficult when the interests of the people in question are largely misunderstood or ignored.
In addition, the problem of immigration in the EU is more widespread than I had previously thought. Migrants travel to Europe from a number of African and Middle Eastern countries, including but not limited to Tunisia, Nigeria, Egypt, Libya, Syria, and Somalia. The sheer number of countries that are experiencing political, social, and economic turmoil to the extent that there is continuous mass emigration is astounding. And by astounding I mean terrifying – such levels of displacement are a clear indicator of a fundamental social issue.
Clearly the key to solving the problem is to target the countries of origin themselves in terms of improvement. The root of the issue lies in the environments that are hostile toward their citizens, so the focus should be on making these countries more secure. There is no clear method to achieving this, however; the U.S. government may be able to justify intervention in light of humanitarian crises, but our military is not sufficient to cover all the territories at hand, nor ought it to be our responsibility. Even organizations such as the EU have limited power to completely override a country’s government and social structure without explicit warrant, and revolution ought to lie under the control of the people themselves.
That isn’t to say that in the meantime we should scale back rescue and relief programs, since the crisis in the Middle East is ongoing and has been more or less for all of recorded history. They are crucial to ensuring that more migrants survive than not during their perilous journeys in search of freedom and safety.
So a concrete goal could be to raise more aid at the international level, and to ensure that it is properly allocated so as to actually improve the journeys of these migrants and their integration process afterward. If more people understand the scope of the issue, especially those with the power to act on it, there is hope for improvement.