In the Middle Ages the periodic return of plague from the Middle East to communities throughout Europe killed off possibly one third of the population. In the absence of any treatment or cure the only solution was quarantine and a few communities did try, with limited success, to avoid spreading the disease by closing their borders.
Today Europe is again facing an existential threat from its southern and eastern borders and again it is attempting to use quarantine. Whereas, in the Middle Ages the threat was from a disease which threatened the lives of the people of Europe, today the threat is from the millions of third world migrants who threaten the way of life of prosperous Europeans.
Before you start googling the phone numbers of the Press Council or Chin Tan who, in case you haven’t noticed, has replaced Tim Soutphommasane as the new grand poobah of the anti discrimination crowd, let me be clear about what I am not saying. I am not saying that the current influx of refugees and asylum seekers can be compared to the plague bacillus. Many refugees are young chancers who come from third world slums to take advantage of the relative prosperity of Europe. Some are disaffected Islamists with nothing in their hearts but hatred and contempt for Western freedoms. But the overwhelming majority of those washing up on Europe’s shores are simply desperate people trying to make a better life for themselves and their children. Some are genuine political refugees in the original sense of the 1951 UN Refugee Convention definition. Most are ordinary people fed up with civil war, incompetent governments, lack of economic opportunity and endemic corruption. So put that phone down and read on.
An obvious parallel between the arrival of the medieval plagues and the contemporary arrival of millions of third world migrants is the attempt in both cases to close the borders. But the most important parallel between the two events is the inability to determine the root cause of the two phenomena. It was the inability of medieval Europeans to understand the cause and mechanism of the transition of the plague that stopped them from developing even basic preventative measures that may have reduced the mortality rate. In a similar manner the failure of the world to address the root causes of the refugee crisis will prevent the development of effective measures to solve or ameliorate the problem.
According to recent UNHCR statistics the number of displaced persons around the world is growing by 44,000 per day on average while the number of people being permanently resettled is around 111,000 per annum. (UNHCR Global Trends 2017 report). Of the six biggest refugee producing nations five have Islamic populations (Syria, Afghanistan, Sudan, Somalia, and South Sudan). The sixth is Myanmar which has ruthlessly evicted a million or so Rohingya Muslims. You can search through every publication of the UNHCR or the Refugee Council of Australia and, while the evidence is irrefutable, no one from those organisations will say openly that the major cause of the current global refugee crisis is instability and conflict in the Islamic world.
The Refugee Council of Australia’s website is full of pictures of photogenic refugees and stories of those who have prospered in Australia. It also has sections promising to explain ‘why people need to leave… Get the facts’, but the ‘facts’ on offer are doctored and distorted. The Council’s explanation for the massive increase in refugees in the past decade is akin to offering an explanation of why the Titanic sank without mentioning an iceberg. The council claims that the main ‘drivers’ of the rise in refugee numbers are; ‘environmental drivers: including desertification and damming of tributaries, social drivers: such as limited education opportunities and tensions between communities, political drivers: such as poor urban planning and corruption, and economic drivers: such as poverty and lack of access to markets’.
Nowhere is there any attempt to explain why a massively disproportionate number of the world’s refugees are Muslims. Nowhere is there any discussion of the failure of the Islamic world to come to terms with basic modern world concepts such as representative democracy or secularism. Even usury, one of the basic principles of any capitalistic economy is still haram in the Islamic world.
This is from an Islamic pamphlet explaining what to do with interest paid by a bank to depositors;
‘With regard to the interest that the bank has given you, do not return nor consume it. Rather, spend it on charitable causes, such as giving it to the poor, buying disposable items (like toilet paper) for Islamic centres and mosques, and helping debtors. However, do not expect reward for this’. (IISNA pamphlets)
Instead of donating toilet paper to Islamic centres it might be better if Muslims could seriously consider why they are making such a mess of the Islamic world. The Refugee Council of Australia, Amnesty International, the UNHCR and all of the dozens of other Western refugee processing organisations would do well to stop beating themselves up over our failure to do more to help the refugees and look honestly at the source of the problem.
The current turmoil in the arc of Islamic instability, which extends from Morocco to the Southern Philippines middle, shows no sign of settling down and the millions of refugees pouring into Europe have not so much escaped the chaos of North Africa and the Middle East but brought it with them and they will continue to come until the Islamic world can modernise.
That is simply not going to happen in the foreseeable future. Meanwhile, China and Russia sit back and watch the political turmoil in Europe caused by the arrival of the refugees.
In a recent press release the UNHCR listed the donations made by various countries to fund refugee relief work. By far the largest donor was the USA, which gave $1.29 billion to the UN refugee programme. Canada gave $72 million, Australia $45 million. Even Ireland, with its small population, gave $14.5 million. The Russian and Chinese governments between them managed to scrape together a paltry $2.2 million dollars to give to the UNHCR.
The global refugee processing industry is largely controlled and funded by the West. The aim of finding ways to accommodate all the refugees is doomed to failure. A global solution will require the cooperation of Russia and China and the secularisation of the Islamic world. It is not going to happen.
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