France, Europe, “welcoming lands”? What a sinister joke! Hollande may cry over the fate of the people of Aleppo, but those fleeing wars from Syria and elsewhere are treated as lepers by the government, while the racist and xenophobic demagogy is becoming commonplace here in France.
A criminal policy
The countries bordering war zones are the ones that host the vast majority of refugees. The Syrian conflict has already caused nearly 5 million refugees, who went mainly to Turkey (2.5 million), Lebanon (1.1 million) and Jordan (628,000). These countries have welcomed more than 86% of the Syrian refugees.
At the same time Europe has built barbed wire, with its Frontex agency. While increasing the wealth of suppliers of concrete, barbed wire, sensing drones, aircraft and surveillance boats, not to mention detention centers, it turned the Mediterranean into a cemetery: 10,000 people drowned since the beginning of 2014, more than 3,500 deaths in 2016 only, according to the United Nations. And yet these official figures are far below reality.
Walls, more walls…
All those billions going to the business of migration control should be compared with the meager amounts devoted here to a few miserable shelters and accompanying measures. And now a “European Border Control Agency” replaces Frontex, with more resources and prerogatives, and double staff.
Woe to the people thrown into poverty and exodus when war wreaks havoc in Syria and Iraq. That is the only response from the richest countries of Europe, starting with France.
We don’t even need to go to the EU’s borders to find walls. In Calais, the Valls government is building an “anti-migrant” wall four meters high and a kilometer long, at a cost of €2 million.
The jungle is not in Calais
Most importantly, the Interior Minister Cazeneuve prepares the breaking up of the “jungle” of Calais, which groups migrants wishing to go to Britain or chased from makeshift camps in Paris.
The government’s policy has opened the door to all the racists and to anti-migrant discourse. It seems like everyone is echoing the ideas of the far right. Some cities even organised protests against the opening of shelters. There are very few of these centers and they are given very little to operate. They only welcome a few dozen refugees each, in buildings that were mostly abandoned.
Fortunately, even if the media have talked less about them, there were also demonstrations in favor of welcoming migrants, often with more people than those hostile to migrants.
Solidarity with the refugees
Sarkozy, in an election escalation, lashed on to family reunification, for which he announced a referendum. Family reunification involves 12,000 people annually in France. There is great deal of red tape to go through to finally reunite with a family member who lives and works in France. But that doesn’t matter to demagogues.
There is unemployment and poverty here, but the ones responsible are the bosses who layoff with the green light from Hollande or Sarkozy, who have always been on their side. The world is covered in wars, and the leaders of major powers are primarily responsible.
Let’s not choose the wrong side. We, the workers, have more in common with migrants than with the employers and the political leaders at their service. We have nothing to gain from the multiplication of borders and walls. Oppressed and exploited of the world, Unite.