URI Europe Proverb, March 2017
The Middle East is a hotbed. One big tangle where it is unclear who is the enemy and who the friend. Syrians live between a regime that stops at nothing and IS. Afghanis, Yemenites – and many others - live in a constant war situation. When in this conflict, you have lost your house, belongings and loved-ones, you are left with no choice. The only option is to flee. To leave all misery and distress, destruction and death behind. Are we still surprised that Europe is a predictable refuge?
At the moment we may be wondering if the worst was over. The refugee door is ajar at this moment, but no one knows whether it may again open widely.
Hundreds of thousands of refugees is (too) much.
Every person who rejects refugees should consider that in many cases his or her (grand)parents or ancestors also had to flee or migrate, in order to avoid violence or hardship. Notwithstanding all the shortages, often they were given shelter. Should the European Union accept one million refugees, it would not yet make up 0.2 % - and this is correct - of the total population of Europe. The key question is whether we are prepared to offer a lasting and well organized form of integration? Because this is the cornerstone.
In essence it is about trust.
The distress of people, the chaos and the hopelessness appeal to the better side in ourselves. This is without doubt correct. But there is more. In the middle of this refugee story full of emotions , powerlessness and incompetence it is not unthinkable that a whole new perspective arises totally unexpected, that nobody could have foreseen or predicted , but as a result of which everybody gets better and stronger tomorrow.
Refugees not only challenge our solidarity.
For each welfare state it is at the same time a test for its degree of development. A country that considers itself 'highly developed' only proves itself through its involvement in and decisiveness towards the weakest. They who can organize themselves and have welfare, have the moral duty to give shelter to refugees who unwillingly and unasked for, have been forced to leave their country in order to find safety and life.
Let us not leave anyone behind in our longing to progress.
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