*This is Sarah. Sorry to be so late posting this. I took meds before bed and they zonked me out later than usual. Yeah, I’m better, but I think the sinus infection has “evolved” into a bout of the common cold. I’m not sure what it means, and this should be a post for tomorrow, heaven willing, that write best when I’m just too sick to control it, but well enough to write. I’m approaching the edge of this. Interestingly, if I weren’t so out of this, I would have written a post on assimilation. EVEN when you’re motivated, love the principles the country was founded on AND have no one of your culture around, so you can change without reproach is hard. 30 years in I still have to check myself somehow. No one is going to do it when the incentive is the other way. Anyway, I’ll get out of the way and let Dave be far more coherent than I am.*
Birds of Passage- Dave Freer
One of the things about migrant birds, welcome or unwelcome, a sign of snow or a sign of spring, or a sign of your crops being flattened, is that eventually they bugger off back to where they came from. Like Arnie, they will be back. But at least they go.
And no matter how welcome they were, seeing them leave is often quite welcome too.
It’s a very different thing when they come… and never leave. That requires a lot more accommodation by the entire system, and, if it doesn’t work out, and they make a pest of themselves, shotguns.
It’s an image worth keeping in mind when we talk about human migrants, refugees or just… migrants.
Now I’ve long held that U.N. definitions of ‘refugee’ is a load of fetid dingo’s kidneys. You’re a refugee when you’ve gone just far enough to escape the strife you and your family were facing. That strife is serious you-will-be-shot-your-daughter-raped if you do not leave now. It’s a slippery slope if you start allowing less rigorous definitions. That means that ‘refugee status’ extends a few hundred meters outside the range of being shot and your daughter raped. That status continues only for as long as the clear and present danger exists. When you can go back, you should.
If you can never go back you need to look for a new home. You become a prospective emigrant, facing the same hurdles and challenges as any other emigrant. Country A may feel sorry for the plight of the poor refugees huddled on the border, and allow them to immigrate. But that is not being a refugee. It’s being an immigrant. If you’re going to allow that refugee to leave the 100 yards of safety and come to your country: well it would be bitterly unfair to the native born, to taxpayers and to the legal immigrants to let them immigrate and become citizens and beneficiaries of your country without the same conditions. If you’re merely granting asylum: Their status is temporary, highly conditional, and if the clear and present danger is not there: they go home.
I was an immigrant. And like any sensible immigrant, I look at what is happening with horror, and a great deal more harshness that Mutti Merkel or your current American administration. Put simply if the situation gets to shotguns, there’s a lot scatter in that shot and it’s going to hit a lot of unintended targets, including birds like us that settled into that garden well, made it a pleasure to have them. So: sensible immigrants want the influx to stop, yesterday.
It’s not a lack of understanding on my part. Or a lack of sympathy on my part. I uprooted my family from a place where long generations had fought for, worked their guts out for, died for, for the dream of a bright future for their descendants, a place where our roots went centuries down, if not millennia. We left because the country had got to 50 murders a day, a lot of which were political and race motivated… and I didn’t see any sign that it could improve. And yes, I had invested twenty years of my life into trying. The long term, with the slow collapse of infrastructure, the growing GINI coefficient, the steady and relentless fall into corruption and bribery, got to point where I looked up and saw my Jewish friends had left, and the Portuguese ones were packing. *
Back when I had been a young conscript one of my friends had quietly got on a plane to move to Israel – where he would do more time as a conscript than I would. I was one of the few people who knew he was going, and not coming back. His family didn’t. They were liberal, wealthy and very disapproving of Israel (although non-observantly Jewish). I asked him: Why? I’ve never forgotten what he said.
“White South Africans have everything, except for a future. I want a future.”
Now you can argue about his choices, and whether he was right. That’s not important. What is important is that he left his past – and I mean left it. Went to live in a country where he knew almost no-one and didn’t speak the language, and was expected to go into military service, and fit in.
I appreciate that this is what faces many people in Africa, the Middle East. They feel they have no real future, and, certainly things are much, much better elsewhere, in the West.
They’re quite right of course. But there is nothing magical about the geography of those countries. There is no reason South Africa should not be as rich (or richer), as safe (or safer) than Europe, America – or Singapore or Australia or Japan. Those places did not magically provide riches, safety, comfort and infrastructure that works. They were paid for by long generations of hard work, by wars, by blood. Those shaped the cultures of the people that live in them. THAT, not some magic of geography, makes them good places to live, heavenly compared to most of the Middle East or Africa or from what I gather, much of the Americas south of the US border. Oh and spare me that ‘but the West got rich off labor of Africans and stealing their minerals etc. The labor and the minerals had all been there long, long before ‘the West’ existed. Africa remains full of agricultural and mineral potential, and full of those laborers… It’s got some bright and educated men, all the potential in the world, but it remains a pest-hole, where many – as many as half of the people — dream of leaving, of going to Europe or America.
Unfortunately… the place they go won’t automatically make them rich. But that is not what they want to believe. Remember, to average African the US or Europe is what he’s seen on the movies. And yes, he has seen movies. The fact that single working mothers do NOT live in luxurious multi-bed mansions – and never actually seem to work — but live the good life, is just not believed. It’s a bit like the Gold Rush. No-one believes they won’t get rich and live in – relative to their present circumstances – idle luxury. And maybe – because present circumstances really suck – that is true. Besides Cousin Achmed has money to burn when he comes home. And when you ask him about work he’s kinda vague.
The problem is that there is an expectation. Just like those hopefuls going to find gold in California – you can tell them, but they won’t believe you.
And they’ve learned the levers to pull. They’ve learned how to game Western sentiment, Western mores and Western idealism. That lever, I am afraid is “refugee” – which is hell on the refugee who really can never go home. Who doesn’t do this for a better life… he just wants himself, his wife and kids safe. SAFE. Not being raped, not being shot at.
It’s rather like the cry ‘rape’. If we’re to protect rape victims or refugees, and I believe we should — as do most of us – then if and when someone makes a fake claim, it’s not just enough to say ‘off you go home then’. If you want to protect real victims and the sympathy and support they get in future, you have deal with abuse. For the sake of all future victims, you have to deal with it hard.
This idea seems to have passed everyone by. It’s important, dammit! This is not the last time anyone will need to flee a war zone. But unless this fixed it may be last time that anyone can.
Going back to the birds and the shotguns… someone posted ‘this is what you can do if Syrian Refugees settle in your area – take them baby-clothes, shoes etc. You want to be the Good Samaritan. He’s the hero in the story.’ Well… no. Oh, the Good Samaritan is the good guy – he’s helping the beaten and robbed guy survive. Live to live happily ever after. So what IS going to help that refugee (assuming he or she is a refugee) survive, learn to live happily ever after?
It’s not baby clothes. Or shoes.
It’s the one thing no one has given to migrants for the last forty years. Because some dumbasses decided they’d be better off without this essential, which is all they need, but might hurt their feelings. Huh. Much better to screw their lives up, and their kids, and possibly the lives of others and their refuge… than the bad-feelz for a few days.
It’s what, I promise you, they need far, far more than anything else. I have reason to know, it worked incredibly well for us – to point where when we became citizens of Australia – we had more than 1/5 of the entire adult population of the Island at the ceremony to celebrate with us – and one hell of a party. It’s why we’re happy, settled love the place we’re in, and have a huge network of friends here.
It comes down to four letters, and it’s the best thing you can ever, ever give migrant, or a refugee: Simple advice. Other, more material things – food, shelter, even baby clothes — follow on it. I must thank Inga, the Australian who gave it to us. She came to Australia as a refugee after WW2 from East Germany. She became one of our best friends, until she passed away, survived by three strong sons, a daughter, grandchildren and even a great grandchild. She survived, and did pretty well at the ‘happily ever after’ bit.
Just four letters (Ok, Inga just gave me the first two. I worked the other two out)
Fit In, or Fuck Off
It’s simple, cheap, and… not easy. But two out of three ain’t bad. And you know what? It works. There are millions and millions of historical examples. Most of us carry the mixed up genes of those examples.
It’s the one thing those refugees really need. It’s the one thing that will make sure that the West is a refuge, is a place they find that ‘gold’, is the place where their kids do not turn into terrorists.
It’s the one thing no one is giving them.
*There’s a saying back in Africa: ‘When the Jews go, it’s time to go. When the Portuguese go, it’s already too late.’ It’s a common saying, don’t ask me precisely what it means or where it is from… Maybe the former have, you might say, many generations of selection for surviving persecutions and pogroms. Besides, they tend to be bright. The Portuguese? I dunno. Maybe that because that’s where the Moors stopped, or were stopped, or because they survived various other attempts to destroy them. Or maybe they have predilection to obstinacy and optimism, genetic or otherwise – that could go a long way to explaining Sarah Hoyt and Larry Correia.