Last week was again a perfect opportunity for thousands to reach the lands of stability and order. In the Mediterranean Sea more then 10.000 refugees were picked up on there way to the Italian Island of Lampedusa or wherever they dare dream about. Smugglers must have had a good weekend spending their money.
Large scale immigration is nothing new, the most notorious one is probably the immigration of the 4th century caused by invading Huns. The disruption of occupied land divided by many different tribes was so total that the borders and tribes of the Eurasian continent were redefined. For example, a group of East German tribes called Vandals, were pushed from the area of Berlin to Belgium, France, Spain, Morocco, Libya and ending up in Tunisia where they started a new kingdom. Also from where they led the sack of Rome in 467. In 2016 immigration is in basic points exactly the same, as are for sure the answers to this human theme.
Two main reasons for immigration are wealth and safety, stability and order or the lack of it. Most simply put: poor and rich. Wealth will always have an attraction opposed to poorness as order have above chaos. People are organisms and are bound to natural principles. We need to eat and we prefer stability above chaos for raising our children because the odds for our siblings will be better.
Why people in general don’t like immigration is because it disrupt the old way of living or the “the natural way”. Anno 2016, we live with 7.4 billion people and expect to reach 9 billion within 25 years. All the growth will occur in the Middle-East, Asia and Africa. Population growth in Europe and the American continent are stable or descending. This simple fact states that large scale immigration for Europe will come mostly from Africa and the Middle-East as they are our neighbours.
Momentarily the wars in Iraq and Syria are still creating big numbers of refugees searching for more stabile areas to live. The whole Iraq was completely destabilised after the US led Operation Iraqi Freedom and subsequent so called “Arabic Spring revolution”, whereafter complete chaos overtook order. I am still not sure what to think exactly about this social revolution. Probably it’s a first global step towards a more modern Islam, but as it is with revolutions, paradoxical they always span long periods of time.
Connected to immigration, the Arabic Spring has created a loose frontier between Europe and Africa. Hosni Mubarak, Abidine Ben Ali and Muammar Gaddafi are gone, but also are the borders of half northern Africa. The revolution has created a route en Europe. The other main route is called the Balkan Route, but with easing hostilities in Syria could this route be of less importance. More concerning is the African Mediterranean route.
Different this time with the 4th century immigration waves is that the source is not as disruptive (yet) and that we have technology. Satellites can read the book you are holding or see and hear what you talk about, gen-tech is improving agriculture and human health, algoritmes are forecasting climate systems, most cancers will soon be cured, we fly and we touched the moon. All in all, we are pretty close to gods in the eyes of our ancestors. In this sense our own imagination is the limit. Moreover we can manage the coming immigration waves better then our Roman ancestors. The thing is how and people need to be more aware of the upcoming problems. To understand a problem you always need to understand the source of it, the heart of the immigration problem.
We can stop boats and put the people back on the African continent, or completely wall off the Balkan Route, beef up immigration protocols and force people out. To a certain degree we need to, but overly draconic methods will do only harm and crush our moral responsibilities to universal laws. We need to understand the bigger problem at heart. Shortly: “It’s the economy, stupid”.
Immigration is created by the desire for a better live. Who can blame people for such a simple but complex wish, is it not that we all want the same? But finishing or high priced resources as land, food, water, minerals and subsequent following wars will push people to areas where their desires can be crystallised. With immigration the immigrating always export some of the problems with them, not to forget also opportunities.
Mostly the problems concerning Europeans are about jobs and safety. Europeans feel threatened by terroristic attacks, religious social unrest, economical inequality, uncertain political and economical forecasts and all what can fall on your head. The referendum that led to the Brexit and the coming elections in Germany, France and the Netherlands are and will be dominated by immigration and the negative consequences on national economies and safety. Personally I fear stronger right political factions to gain dominance over more moderate and liberal factions. As we already have seen for the last 10 years the sentiment of the European people is picked up by little populists who exploit these fears and misunderstandings. We need to come with an answer to the problems in these foreign lands or wall ourselves out, which non nation on earth has ever done successful. Ask the Chinese if you want about the 19th and 20th century or the British in 5 years.
“To do, or not to do”, is pretty much the main question as it is to accept we are all humans. Are we going to act in Africa and the Middle East? Or do we isolate ourselves from the problems we will see everyday on our phones and screens at our work, in our homes and in our gardens and parks? I doubt we can bare those sightings as fore sure we cannot manage the problems that will arise if we don’t act together now.