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:: Friday, 24 January 2003 ::

Thinking Differently. Probably wrongly

Caught a show on the SBS tonight (not much of a link I am afraid). It was all about human smuggling, illegal immigration and Continental Europe's actions to address and seek to limit it. I have not looked for a transcript, but I sribbled a few choice quasi-quotes as the show went on, cos some of it was just logic defying.

~European countries are the best friends to smugglers because the governments create a market for smuggling~.

Wha'? Create a market?

Okay. First ask - how do European countries do this 'create-the-market-for-smugglers' thing? By being successful. More successful than the countries where the smugglees come from. By being countries where work can be found, life can be lived with some welfare net, some medicine, some housing and even education and a distinct lack of civil war or just generalised violence.

Next ask - are these European countries successful in order to attract smugglers to do their business? Or is it just that, as a consequence of being successful, a smuggler driven market that has grown up around those successful countries? Is success therefore an indirect cause of smuggling from unsuccessful countries? I would answer yes. Consequential. Smugglers do not pay European governments to smuggle. They get money from the smugglees. And then they keep that money. So, European countries are not creating a market for smuggling. Smugglers are acting in a market driven by crank countries. To lay the blame on the successful country is really absurd.

Some footage from the show featured a yound African guy, trying to get to Spain via Morocco and the Spanish/EU entrance location walled off on the northern tip of Morocco, a mere 17 kilometres from Gibraltar. He said he wanted in to Europe cos his country was stuffed and all Africa was stuffed because of lousy leaders.

More footage followed a bunch of Iraqis trying to, and actually managing to get to Greece (only to be captured 3 days later, poveretti). On the infrared camera at night, as they arrived one young guy grabbed a sod of earth in his hand, the gesture too poignant really - European soil. So much better than his very own soil, the soil of his family and all the memory and history of his own personal life.

Put these guys together and what have you got? You got two guys who have no respect for where they are from. Now, why would that be? Because where they are from has been ruled ruinously for too bloody long. And they would rather respect the dirt of someplace else than where they are from. Christ. And some idiot says it is Europe creating the market for smuggling? How incorrectly can you read a situation?

~The people who pay to get smuggled into Europe are the victims of Europe's failed border protection policy, because immigration is the same now as it ever was~.

Again. Wha'? Europe's border protection is being breached over and over by newer and newer ways of breaching borders - lorries, fuselages, mountain paths, night-time river crossings etc etc whatever. And that is Europe's fault?

See above reasoning. Blame lies with crap leaders who cause their populations to flee. (I know, I know. Broken record.)

One of the last words on the show, was a German guy and he said something that made me sit up cos I have never even bothered to think of this. He said something like ~we here in Europe need immigration. The great nations built on migration, Australia and the USA and Canada have always been smart. They have always targetted clever young people from the Third World skilled in languages. We should learn from their approach because they are successful nations. But we should also ask, should we also target those kinds of folks from the Third World. Should we deplete those assets from the Third World, thereby keeping it the Third World?~

It is not a bad sentiment - to care about where people come from and worry that they are leaving behind a bad situaiton which they could help to fix, instead of helping an already successful spot, like Europe. But I reckon he is being patronising here. Cos skilled migration, something we here in Oz bang on about all the time, is never permanent. Heck, being born in Oz is not a permanent ticket to staying if you wanna change. People do move. Not for whole of life, but for goodly parts.

Dunno. Gonna have to think on that last point more. But it was a thought provoking show, the SBS doing its thing - playing to its audience on multiculti stuff.

:: WB 4:25 am [link+] ::

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