Letters to my MP: The worst refugee crisis since the 1940’s.

This letter concerns the ongoing refugee crisis caused by the Syrian Civil War, one of the worst humanitarian disasters since WWII. This letter was not only addressed to my MP, but also my MEPs, and was sent via WriteToThem.

Dear representatives,

Available figures from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimate that of the total refugees from the Syrian Civil War, Turkey has accepted over two million, Lebanon over one million, Jordan over 600,000, Egypt over 130,000, and Algeria over 25,000. Even Iraq, which is facing a civil war of its own, has taken in over 240,000 refugees.

By contrast, most European nations have barely lifted a finger to help those in need of sanctuary. At the borders of Southern Europe, refugees have been subjected to police brutality, abuse by citizens, a media campaign of demonization, and the sneers of uninterested politicians like the EU’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, who recently said she was “fed up” of being asked to understand their suffering. Right now, Sweden, Iceland and Germany are the only three nations demonstrating any compassion towards these people.

I know selfishness and inhumanity are common virtues in this country, as evidenced by the Cameron government’s hostility towards the poor, but isn’t it about time we took in our fair share of refugees, who are human just like we are? I have heard economical arguments that suggest Britain “can’t afford” to take in any more vulnerable people, and while I wholeheartedly disagree with that assessment, I do not think it matters anyway. The people fleeing the Assad regime, the rebels, and ISIS are all human beings who deserve basic protections from war, atrocities, and extreme suffering, and it is our duty to help them.

The 1951 Refugee Convention is quite clear that we as a nation have obligations to lend a hand to those who are drowning, quite literally, in the Mediterranean. Furthermore, if economic arguments were so important, how has Lebanon managed to take in over one million refugees, when its inept sectarian government can’t provide basic services to citizens already living there?

Today I ask you to do one thing: Stand up in Parliament (either EU or Westminster – this email is to all my representatives) and immediately demand that we put in place a system that allows refugees from places like Syria, Iraq and Libya to have safe refuge in European countries. I ask you to tell your respective chambers that the negligence of the EU is costing thousands of people their lives, and it must not go on, lest we all be implicated in their deaths. You have the power to pressure those in charge, and you must do so. It is beyond despicable that the EU, which models itself on freedom and tolerance for all, is turning its back on some of the most disenfranchised and impoverished people in the world. I want you to help these people – will you?

Sion Simon, Labour MEP: Replied after 3 days.

Thanks for your email about the refugee crisis in Europe.

We’ve all been appalled by the pictures of children drowning on European shores, and by stories of people suffocated to death in smugglers’ lorries. I strongly believe this is now the most serious humanitarian crisis since the Second World War.

The time has come to take meaningful steps to end the tragic loss of life at European borders.

The EU must do what it was brought into existence to do by showing solidarity between members, and proving to the rest of the world that the EU is a union of values. The EU must present itself as capable of managing a migration policy with fair rules, the utmost compassion, and the rule of the law.

Ahead of the emergency migration summit on September 14th, it’s crucial that the UK shows international solidarity and opts-in to key measure to help refugees coming to Europe.

Next week the European Parliament will vote on proposals made by the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs committee calling for the equitable distribution of refugees across the European Union. I want to make it clear that along with fellow Labour MEPs I’ll continue to push for a critical upgrade of the EU’s response on the refugee crisis.

Outside of the European Parliament I’ve also been doing my bit to support refugees in Calais. Last Friday I stopped by the refugee camp on my way back to the UK to drop off some supplies for those in need. You can find out more about my trip by clicking here.

Thanks again for getting in touch with me about this important issue.

Dan Dalton, Conservative MEP: Replied after four days.

Thank you for your email regarding the terrible plight of refugees and the ongoing tragedies that are unfolding in the Mediterranean and in South-Eastern Europe.

Britain has voluntarily agreed to take more refugees due to the crisis in the Mediterranean, as recently announced by Prime Minister David Cameron. I also firmly believe that more aid and help on the ground in refugee camps in the Middle East and North Africa is a vital component in tackling the current crisis, Britain is already providing significant resources to support the refugees there, and this support is being increased, something I welcome very much indeed.

The solutions to the current crisis obviously go well beyond the shores of the European Union, and deeper engagement and help in the countries people are leaving for Europe from remains the only long-term realistic way to help protect innocent civilians in the Middle East.

I hope the above is helpful to you in explaining my position on this tragic situation.

Neena Gill, Labour MEP: Replied after 32 days.

Dear Will

Thank you for raising your concerns about Europe’s ongoing refugee crisis.  I note your concerns.

We’re facing the biggest refugee crisis since World War II in Europe, and it’s deeply worrying that EU member states have failed to agree an organised response. Time is most definitely not on our side.  I spoke on the refugee crisis in the European Parliament’s Strasbourg plenary session last month expressing my concern at the 3,000 unaccompanied children that have arrived in Europe in recent months.  It is on exactly this issue that HRM Queen Elisabeth II – now the longest reigning British monarch in history –  spoke compassionately in her first ever speech, calling for protection of British children escaping the dangers of WWII.

The EU urgently needs a cohesive plan to manage the reception and redistribution of migrants arriving both through the Mediterranean and now increasingly across land borders.

The EU must do what it was brought in existence to do – show solidarity between members, and show the rest of the world that the EU is a union of values – that it is capable of managing a migration policy with fair rules, compassion, and the rule of law. Ahead of the emergency migration summit on September 14, it is crucial that the UK shows international solidarity and opts-in to key measures to help refugees coming to Europe.

Last month, the European Parliament supported the European Commission in its push for a binding system to help the countries most exposed to the refugee crisis – notably Greece, Italy and Hungary – by proposing to relocate 120,000 people in clear need of international protection to other EU Member States. This was on top of the 40,000 that the Commission proposed in May to relocate from Greece and Italy. On Monday, individual EU member states blocked the proposal though.

Thank you again for taking the time to express your concerns.

Craig Tracey, Conservative MP: Reply time unclear – MP publishes responses on his website with no date.

Thank you for contacting me about Syrian refugees.

The UK is one of the leading providers in foreign aid and the Prime Minister has recently announced that 20,000 Syrian refugees will be welcomed to the UK over the next five years. Britain continues to be at the forefront of the international response to the humanitarian crisis in Syria – including as the second biggest bilateral donor of humanitarian aid, having already pledged £1 billion. Some £60 million of the additional funding will help Syrians who are still in Syria.

I know that Britain is a moral nation and we will fulfil our moral responsibilities. That is why we sent the Royal Navy to the Mediterranean, saving thousands of lives; why we meet our commitment to spend 0.7 per cent of our economy on aid; why Britain is the second biggest bilateral donor in the world to Syrian refugee camps; and why since the crisis began we have granted asylum to nearly 5,000 Syrians and their dependents through normal procedures.

However, It is important to differentiate between genuine refugees in need and economic migrants.

We must reach a balance as to the number of migrants that are allowed into this country – there is an impact on the NHS, schools, and other public services which we must be aware of.

I appreciate your concern with this issue. Recent photos are clearly shocking and harrowing. This is why we continue to be at the forefront of the international response to the humanitarian crisis in Syria.

As you will know, the Vulnerable Persons Relocations scheme (VPRS) is already up and running, and has already welcomed 216 Syrians to the UK. This scheme will make a real difference to the lives of some of the most vulnerable Syrians by giving them protection and support in the UK.

The Prime Minister has proposed that Britain should resettle up to 20,000 Syrian refugees over the next five years. These refugees will come straight from the camps in the Middle East to discourage refugees from taking the perilous journey across the Mediterranean. To support our local communities we will use the foreign aid budget to finance these refugees for the first year and help local councils with things like housing. In the longer term, we will continue to direct our additional aid spending to these failed states and to the refugee crisis. The Prime Minister has also appointed a new Minister for Refugees, who will be solely responsible for overseeing the work welcoming these refugees to the UK.

Simply taking people is not a solution to this crisis. We need a comprehensive solution that deals with the people most responsible for the terrible scenes we see: President Assad in Syria, the butchers of ISIL, and the criminal gangs that are running this terrible trade in people – we have to be as tough on them at the same time.

Anthea McIntyre, Conservative MEP: No reply received (yet).

James Carver, UKIP MEP: No reply received (yet).

Bill Etheridge, UKIP MEP: No reply received (yet).

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8 thoughts on “Letters to my MP: The worst refugee crisis since the 1940’s.

  1. The answer to the questions you raise are rather self-evident.

    On the preservation of culture, the Japanese model is instructive in both action and attitude. Japan is unapologetically and unabashedly proud of its efforts in ensuring little immigration from *anywhere* in the world, without the slightest regard for “world opinion”.

    As to what problems can arise from what is currently taking place, a cursory look at the article below is also enlightening. Let’s not even mention the “Muslim rape epidemic” in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, France, Britain, etc. Why do they engage in such acts? Well, descriptively, a Muslim male has a duty of sorts to violate a woman whom he sees as immodestly dressed. What you and I think of such a moral philosophy is irrelevant. What matters is the ideology and the willingness to act on those ideas on the part of the adherents. I doubt you would entertain a “laissez-faire”, maverick, and cavalier attitude toward such a phenomenon if the victims were loved ones like a sister, or mother, or partner.

    My point throughout has been “look, we can’t even say that Abdullah raping Jenny is inherently wrong because he certainly doesn’t think so, and neither do the theological underpinning of his actions consider the deed as morally objectionable. Simply do NOT allow such individuals in a 3-dimensional space where they would have the opportunity to interact, no matter where that may be.”

    https://www.intellihub.com/schools-in-germany-order-girls-to-cover-up-to-avoid-being-attacked-by-muslim-refugees/

    I leave you with the following from Alexander Hamilton: The safety of a republic, according to him, depended “essentially on the energy of a common national sentiment, on a uniformity of principles and habits, on the exemption of the citizens from foreign bias and prejudice, and on that love of country which will almost invariably be found to be closely connected with birth, education and family.” He then drew out the implications of this point: “The influx of foreigners must, therefore, tend to produce a heterogeneous compound; to change and corrupt the national spirit; to complicate and confound public opinion; to introduce foreign propensities. In the composition of society, the harmony of the ingredients is all-important, and whatever tends to a discordant intermixture must have an injurious tendency.”

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    • I knew it was only a matter of time before you revealed what you actually think. “Muslim rape epidemic”. How disgusting. Please refrain from commenting on my posts in future, I make a point of refusing to engage in this conspiratorial Islamophobic tripe.

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      • I’m sorry to say that from an intellectual point of view, you’re an exceedingly immature individual. You can not refute a FACT, so you refuse to hear it, or as is usual, operate in the realm of reflex and instinct, and engage in cheap ad hominem. Astoundingly, and allegedly, you claim to be have a “philosophy” background. Wow! Your responses are more synchronous with the m.o. of a pub brawler than with someone familiar with the decorums of civility and civilised debate. I don’t know how familiar you are with Soviet history, but how you respond to reality is exactly how the Stalinist and Leninst mind set operated. “We shall banish (or worse) anyone who disagrees with our ‘dialectic'”.

        Oh, no worries, I had no intention of further commenting because I started to sense a severe intellectual and spiritual myopia and staleness in your responses. Feel free to erase this entire comment thread! … Wouldn’t expect any less from you. I leave you, as an homage of sorts, with an attempt at British humour: the motto for your blog ought to be “Angry Meditations … of a devout Stalinist!”

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        • “You’re ignoring the arguments and here’s a tirade of personal attacks to prove it”. It appears I touched a nerve. Case in point why I won’t debate with Islamophobic people like you. This is a textbook irrational reaction to not engaging with conspiracy theorists – anybody that doesn’t immediately accept the validity of the claims and doesn’t have time or the energy to repudiate them all is a Stalinist sheep who loves Muslims, etc. It is not I who has behaved immaturely, it is you. I shall leave this thread here because I refuse to engage in censorship and I have no worries that I’ve come across as a Stalinist. YOU on the other hand… Well we best leave that unsaid.

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  2. While I applaud the sense of decency and humanity in trying to help, as best one can, another suffering human being in need, I have deep misgivings about granting automatic asylum to the countless numbers of migrants coming into Europe, which will not stop anytime soon. This trepidation to the “open borders” policy is not based on economic factors.

    First, let me be clear on what I believe the true, real, permanent solutions is: ONE, the Eurpean powers MUST get the f**k out of the respective countries of the migrants and stop meddling in their internal affairs. There may be no colonial forces and soldiers stationed across Africa and the ME, but the same type of “old school” exploitation and colonialism, like the 19th century, is still going on, albeit in a more “sophisticated” version via the IMF, World Bank, etc in creating immeasurable suffering and destitution. TWO, billions of Euros, or dollars, MUST be made, by the EU, in *war reparations* to the various countries, starting with Syria, for stoking civil unrest and unleashing chaos and destruction in those countries. This will at least allow the respective traumatised populations to start rebuilding their shattered and broken lives, with the hope of re-establishing viable and civil nation states.

    However, the massive influx of people from radically different cultures with extraordinarily differing world views who have been deeply traumatised by, in some cases, decades of conflict, is a recipe for catastrophe for both the migrants and local populace. Regrattably, submitting such a thesis can quickly degenerate into accusations of “racism” and other such ad hominem attacks, but both personal and intellectual honesty and integrity compels us to face the unpleasant realities and consequences.

    Unlike the internal European population shifts of the past due to wars, the fundamental universal outlook of the peoples did NOT differ much in substance. Your average Polishman has a view of himself, Life, and the universe not much different from the Irishman , the Scot, the Dane, or Frenchman. Not so with those originating from North Africa and the ME. This is not to suggest that one view is “good” and another “bad”, or “superior” and “inferior”, and other such nonsense. It’s descriptive and not a value judgement. Serious problems arise, invariably and inexorably, when you mix such irreconcilable understandings of existence. An honest discussion of this issue is lost in the current incoherent mindset of Europeans.

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    • Again I find myself wholeheartedly agreeing with half of your argument and completely disagreeing with the other. Your suggestions of non-interventionist foreign policy coupled with war reparations is nothing short of admirable, and would certainly go a long way to helping these fledgeling economies get from under the stamping boot of globalization. Furthermore, evidence suggests that the Arab Spring would have been a lot more successful had it not been for Western governments continuing to back their oppressive dictator buddies across the region. The reason the Spring has been pretty much a failure is because Europe and the U.S. were determined to squash it because they fear secular nationalism far more than they do radical Islam. This is true for South-East Asia too.

      But, then again, your suggestion that these “migrants” have radically different world-views and cultures is not the intellectual honesty that you claim. For one thing, international obligations are quite clear that we have a solemn duty to help refugees – not migrants, refugees – when they are fleeing extreme persecution, war or suffering. The Geneva Convention is quite clear, as is the Refugee Convention. It is intellectually dishonest to ignore international law.

      Your suggestion that this influx of desperate people are a threat to Europe is, sadly, bordering on anti-multiculturalism and xenophobia. It may not be overt racism, but it is ludicrous to suggest that desperate people with absolutely no possessions aside from the clothes on their backs are going to stir up trouble in Europe. One might do well to look at the vast cancerous growth of white supremacist and white nationalist movements all across the continent – from Hungary to Romania to France to Greece to the UK, white supremacist groups operating under the guise of Euroscepticism are making exactly the same arguments you have made about irreconcilable differences between the ‘European’ way of life and the ‘Other’ way of life. I have yet to see riots initiated by Syrian or Eritrean refugees. I have seen plenty of riots initiated by white supremacists. Who is the real threat here? To think that it is desperate people from other continents that are to blame for the clash of civilizations is akin to victim blaming.

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      • Fair enough, though I believe there’s a degree of “talking past one another” and misconstruing a key notion on the second point.

        I don’t believe any reasonable person would suggest that destitute and desperate refugees would suddenly, within days or weeks of arriving in Europe, engage in truancy and criminality, or simply be a great burden on the system. Sure, initially, some may need assistance in the short term (shelter, language classes, educational training) until they’re able to stand on their feet, but in the long term, most contribute positively to their new respective homelands.

        Humanity, or perhaps our modern consciousness, is at a key historical juncture where finally we will shed, once and for all, this fraudulent and contrived “left-right” paradigm, which in my humble opinion you’re operating from. That I assert that you’re looking at the matter from such a paradigm is NOT meant in a pejorative sense. Many astute and intelligent individuals of sincere intentions still cling to such a conceptual framework that is slowly being dismantled; thankfully.

        In the “classical” dichotomy, there are two and ONLY two possibilities: either one is a jingoitistic and militaristic racist hell bent on subjugation of other people’s without considering the consequences, or one is a “socialist” or anti-imperialist who believes that there are NO differences between cultures and value systems; that anything goes, and if we simply talked through our problems, they will go away. All nuances and variegated infinitude of awareness are suppressed in such an outlook. Let’s apply this to the “migrant crisis”:

        As stated, no one is claiming that any persons coming into Austria or Germany etc from Iraq or Afghanistan would anytime soon create any problems. However … However, even any eventual potential for deep division and social conflicts are NOT intentional but a predictable consequence of radically differing world views. This is where the “racists” go wrong: this is not an invasion by “foreigners” coming in as “hordes” and displacing local “whites”. However, over time, as communities become established, a certain almost “organic” and seamless path to social unrest is established due to value systems that no one can reconcile. The “consciousnesses” of the peoples are radically diverge, and can NOT be harmonised. This is NOT apparent in the short term, or even first few years.

        The new paradigm, that humanity can’t adopt soon enough, is one of Liberty, the Rule of Law, and Autonomy on the one hand, versus Tyranny, Oppression and control, on the other. I don’t believe any nation or peoples have any right or permission whatsoever in exploiting, subjugating, or oppressing another in any way, be it direct, by proxy, or via economic warfare. However, I also believe in a strong national and cultural identity, though stripped of the xenophobic and jingoistic tendencies. Diversity is a recipe for disaster and calamity. All peoples have a right to fair and dignified autonomy without accepting the “other’s” values as “equal” and on par with one’s own. In short, to each his/her own, and the use of force and violence ONLY for self-defence. Such a view, from a “left-right” paradigm is baffling and utterly incomprehensible, but as I said … I hope that in a decade or so, if we all survive that long, such a notion will no longer “seem” odd, and that no one interprets reality from either the “left” or “right.”

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        • My thoughts and views on this topic, like all topics, are not guided by labels or meaningless paradigms. I’ve actually criticized the so-called “left” as vehemently as the so-called “right” for its failure to present any alternative to accepted myths, and its tendency to concede too much ground. Views on this topic are guided by my own sense of morality, and nothing else. If my views happen to fall into the left-right paradigm that you reject, it is mere coincidence, and at any rate, I do not think that alone refutes my argument.

          You have yet to properly define the social unrest that you claim necessarily occurs when monoculturalist states are debased, and try as I might, I have yet to find any examples in history when this occurs, save for settler colonial movements that tried to “civilize” parts of Sub-Saharan Africa and North America. The reason social unrest was caused in these areas was due to an aggressive mission on the part of the settlers to actively spread their cultures and religions at any cost, whether it be ethnic cleansing, kidnapping of children (in the case of Australia), or outright genocide. That’s the only example I can find where your assertions hold weight, but in terms of refugees, it doesn’t seem to work in the slightest.

          In other words, if you could please provide more detail on what exactly can be done to preserve the monoculturism you say is so necessary, and please explain what exactly will happen in the “social unrest” if this monoculturism is destroyed, with historical examples preferably. Otherwise, I’m afraid it’s just sounding all a bit assertive and jingoistic. You don’t *have* to explain all of this to me, but I’d like you to.

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