Mideast migrants fleeing to Europe. Photo: Wikipedia.
The pictures are heartbreaking and the stories profoundly sad. There was the photo of Aylan, from war-torn Syria. He was just three years old, dressed in a red tee-shirt and shorts, lying lifeless on the edge of a Turkish beach, because the boat he and his family were using to escape capsized, drowning most of the family in its wake.
The picture encapsulated the stories of hundreds of thousands of migrants, fleeing from war-torn areas of the world. They come from Syria (primarily), Libya, Eritrea — wherever the economic and political infrastructure of their countries have broken down, and they use a variety of means to leave and seek entry into Europe. Their methods are desperate. They will travel thousands of miles in some of the most uninviting conditions to reach a haven of relative safety and acceptance. I believe that this is the worst refugee crisis since the Second World War.
But now for the reality. These potential escapees from mostly Arab countries are not looking to escape to other Arab countries, like Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria or even the Gulf states of Saudi Arabia and the UAE. They wish to be accepted into Christian Europe. Not Russia. Not China. Not southeast Asia. And if we were dealing with a few thousand of them, the problem would not even have reached newspapers. But, in reality, we are dealing with hundreds of thousands who are hoping to jump-start new lives in new Christian-dominated countries.
Europe cannot contain them. Europe is itself an economic basket-case. No one can forget how bankrupt Greece is, closely followed by Spain — and how Italy is sliding towards the same economically depressed conditions. Economic growth even in the successful European countries is slow, at best, and very vulnerable to sudden, extreme external pressures.
Meanwhile, whole towns of migrants are being held up along the Hungarian-Austrian border, desperately focused on Germany as their final port of call. The German government has just announced it is expecting at least 800,000 migrants to enter its country this year. Europe is a mess, because it is totally unprepared for this.
The scenes are becoming so chaotic that European countries are threatening to flood each others’ borders with these desperate people if a fair and equitably shared plan fails to evolve. And it won’t. Because the other countries just don’t want to take them in such stratospheric numbers.
ISIS has already said it plans to infiltrate Europe through these migrants. Will this be a transfer of populations that will bode for a better Europe, or a Europe that sees itself increasingly threatened by the staggering numbers attempting to find a safe haven?
History will have to be the final arbiter of this. Hopefully, we will not be engaged in a new battle with Islamic extremism in Europe, before we see where this path of history is leading.