By Bikram Vohra
3 September 2015
The idea of building a wall a la Berlin between Canada and the US to keep out illegal immigrants has been ridiculed in most quarters and rightly so. Walls do not keep people in. Peace and the right to live with security and an absence of constant fear is what mankind wants. And mankind is not getting it. But it is not just boat people now. The tensions in Calais last month as migrants tried to cross the Chunnel into England is containable as compared to the crisis in Europe and the war of words between eastern and western Europe.
The influx into Germany will cross 800,000 paperless refugees this year, four times that of last year and Chancellor Merkel is calling on other European nations to share the human burden. As Germany opened its doors, countries like Hungary and Austria blew a gasket about the overcrowding at their ports of exit including jams at train stations.
It is no longer Africans and oriental sardine packed men women and children being literally trafficked across treacherous waters for that elusive better life. In a bitter irony the empires of history have come back to haunt the colonizers and they must soon be thinking if they hadn’t set sail to conquer the new world, the new world would not be coming back to them in droves.
It is a socio-economic problem and one which does not sit well with the citizenry in Europe. On the contrary walls are coming up and they do not always have to be made of brick and mortar to be impenetrable.
The present surge in Europe is largely Syrians leaving their war torn country and in Europe the slanging match has reached an unfortunate high with some countries blaming Russia for encouraging the Syrian conflict and being responsible for the flow of homeless humanity.
Spain has practically shut its doors on Merkel’s pleas saying it understands the situation in humane terms but no one can force foreigners upon them.
It is not going to get better. Not in Euroope, not in the Mediterranean and not in the South China seas. The more trouble spots that erupt the more the numbers of the displaced.
It is a massive tragedy and in its enormity it is not making an impact because the numbers are just too high to absorb. According to the UN there are now over 50 million refugees and rising exponentially.
Is there a solution? Ideally, if the internecine wars all halted there could be a retracing of footsteps. However, it is not an ideal world and the fact is cruel. People will be reduced to flotsam being carried by arbitrary tides.
We can expect far more strident rancour in Europe and more clashes between the authorities and the migrants as well as rage in the local populace against both their governments and the migrants.
There is no guarantee that the EU will sit down and avert the spill from becoming violent. The walls are rising faster than we think and it will be fatal if we don’t notice them.