European Union is killing refugees
A real crime is being committed over the past months in Europe. Thousands of refugees from Syria, Afghanistan and other countries are trying to flee wars that others have caused in their countries and reach Europe in search of a better life. Hundreds of them have been washed up dead on the Greek islands.
Although the European governments talk about a “humanitarian crisis” and pretend they take relief measures, they hide the causes of the refugee crisis and the real face of their policies, multiplying the death toll on the Greek islands.
Despite the early media reports presenting Germany and other west European countries as open to refugees (Germany was even talking about thousands of employment posts they would cover…), the reality is totally different. The number of refugees that Europe eventually agreed to resettle is too small compared to the millions of refugees that the countries neighbouring the conflict zones have admitted. This tiny quota is the hypocritical answer of the European governments to the huge pressure placed on them by social and political groups but also industrial circles that see in the refugee crisis an opportunity for even cheaper labour in Europe.
The countries of the EU on the refugee route to Europe are doing their best to keep them out. The extreme-right Hungarian government set up fences on the borders of Hungary with Serbia and Croatia, while the “left-wing” Greek government claims that the fence on Greece’s land borders with Turkey cannot be removed. On the sea borders of the EU, Frontex intensifies its efforts to block the refugee entrance instead of helping with rescue efforts. Together with the Greek Coast Guard, they turn a blind eye to the gangs attacking refugee boats. This is Fortress Europe.
But the EU’s responsibility extends even further. The EU along with the US and Russia are to blame for the disastrous wars driving people off their homelands. Their direct or indirect interventions have fuelled the civil wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. Talibans in Afganistan and the Islamic State in Middle East did not rise on their own but thanks to the financial, political and military support by the international imperialist forces. The invasion of the US and their allies in Iraq brought about more wars and horrors for Iraqi people. Kurds are suffering an ongoing oppression and faced with fierce attacks by the Islamic State and Erdogan’s authoritarian regime. The economic, political and military interventions of the US, the EU and Russia have totally disrespected the need of people in these areas to live peacefully and are to blame for the enormous migration wave that the EU is trying to keep out of its fortress.
In the past years, European societies are under an enormous pressure due to the financial crisis, by and large paid by the lower classes. The governments in the “Europe of the people” saved the banks and international companies by providing them huge amounts of state funding. A few years ago, Greece’s public debt was transferred from the banks to the European people. Harsh austerity measures have been imposed on the people of indebted countries, while the welfare state throughout Europe is under attack. It is not only salaries that have been severely cut, but also labour rights. At the same time, flexible working has almost become the norm.
Given that neoliberal governments cannot care less about the quality of life of lower classes, a part of them fears that the arrival of the refugees will lead to its deterioration. Like every other government in the EU, the Dutch government makes sure to live up to this fear: it sets up huge cheap camps next to small neglected villages, without concern for the living conditions of the refugees or the local population. At the same time, it gives no guarantees that the refugees will not be used as cheap workforce.
The part of European population that has been paying the price of the neoliberal policies is now being told that the refugees pose a threat to its standard of living. In this way, its discontent and uncertainty are directed against the refugees, themselves victims of the EU’s foreign policy. Protesting against the arrival of the refugees or the creation of refugee camps and not against the neoliberal policies that cause unemployment and poverty for the people and profits for the capital, is very convenient for the governments and economic elites in the EU. It fits in well with their goals and plans if people fall for the racist and fascist propaganda of Golden Dawn in Greece, Wilders in the Netherlands or Lepen in France.
Humanitarian solidarity and material support to the refugees are necessary but not enough. The real solution to the migration crisis will come from overturning the policies of the European Union and the governments applying them. The borders should open immediately so that no more people are drowned at the sea borders of the EU in Greece and Italy. The criminal fences blocking their way to Europe should be removed. Refugees should get equal rights to housing, education, healthcare and work in Europe.
The foreign policy of the EU should change right away. The military, economic and political interventions in the countries of the Middle East should stop. Democracy, peace and development should be actively supported. The EU should stop backing authoritarian regimes. The right of Kurdish and Palestinian people to their own state should be admitted. Money should be given to the refugees and the poor. We should not allow the refugees to be used as cheap workforce in the service of capital.
Parties and organizations of the Left and trade unions in the whole Europe should take specific initiatives in this direction. They should point to the real culprits of the refugee crisis and play a leading role in organizing the struggle of European citizens to protect their quality of life as well as the right of every human being to live with peace and dignity at some place in the world.
Racists, fascists and neoliberals, you are personae non gratae.
(Source of the photos::http://blogs.afp.com/correspondent/?post/war-in-peace)