Today’s refugees are tomorrow’s citizens

I posted Saturday about the need to retain a balance between practical consideration and the humanely emotional response when it comes to migrant refugees from North Africa….around 80% of whom are from Syria. The piece got 2784 hits in one day and evoked 48 5-star reviews – one of the highest ever at The Slog. but judging from today’s chattering on the internet it seems the readership here is pretty atypical. Be it the naive enthusiasm of the wide-eyed Left or the hatred of the wide-boy Right, the general mood out there strikes me as being one of hysteria….see above.

Hungarian PM Viktor Orban has been forced to deny any chance of illegal entrants being shot if they force fences. As he never suggested he would, from which spin-silo did that one emerge?

‘They’re all just scroungers looking for a free meal ticket’ tweeted one person this morning, ‘drowning at sea is where they belong’. Amazingly, it wasn’t Hatie Piskonk. But by the same token, when one woman wondered why – if these were families – 75% of the migrants were men, she was offered a hail of assertive ‘reasons’: ‘this is the tradition in Syria’, ‘women get raped by the sailors’ and so forth….but not an iota of evidence was offered for any of it.

Why are they in such a hurry to get out of Hungary asked one bloke, to which again the standard response was “because Orban has made his contempt for them clear”. This isn’t what Orban said, but anyway if that was the case why didn’t they settle in Austria? ‘They’d bought valid tickets for Germany’ answered another. Why did they do that, I asked in one tweet, and as illegal migrants, where did they get the euros with which to buy them? ‘They know Germany will welcome them’ came back more tweets. They know the same about Austria, I ventured: why Germany?

Perhaps this is remiss of me, but since when did beggars get to be choosers? It seemed to me that, for people in acute distress, there was an awful lot of insisting going on. ‘Hungary has put obstacles in their way, can’t you see that?’ asked another tweeter. No I can’t (I answered) all I can see is these people making unfettered progress through the Evil Orban’s black-hearted vassal of Evil. I’d already been in contact with people in Budapest, who had witnessed first-hand a rush by migrants at the platform barriers and then onto an already crammed train bound for Vienna. It was clear from their responses that while Syrians might be making good progress out of Hungary, they weren’t making many friends along the way.

And there is something else very badly amiss here – whatever part of the ideology syndrome people occupy. The make-up of the migrant refugees has very clearly altered since the mass exit from Syria became front-page global news. I hauled my way through 30 odd pictures of the ‘March of Hope’, and children were hard to spot. Young people of both genders seemed to predominate. The feedback from Hungary (and Italy) about the nature of the migrants confirmed this. It was almost as if we were looking at a ‘second wave’ of arrivals – people who were, it seemed to me – completely different in make-up and attitude from the poor wretches we gaped at in horror collapsing onto beaches three weeks ago.

As for ‘Heartless Hungary’, in the last post on migrants I refuted that ridiculous notion with a ton of evidence to the contrary: frankly, only those who’ve never been to Hungary could accept such a bigoted (borderline racist) notion. Equally, Viktor Orban’s outlook and record on the question give the lie to all the bile being aimed at him last weekend. To reiterate, he said we should stop the war in Syria, get the truce and then have a 3-power occupation and then invest in the post-war infrastructure. Unlike those playing geopolitical games, he wasn’t: had the belligerents listened to him, we would not have this tragedy now.

Orban’s view is clear: he does not want a large Islamic influx into a country of only 9.8m for two reasons: first, because of Hungary’s extremely negative experience with Ottamans historically; and second, because he does not, on the whole, find the Islamic record on integration into European States that impressive. I can’t argue with that, because I think he has a point: both in France and in the UK, Muslim populations of from 3-8% have created both social and security problems for the host nations. Indians, Afro-Caribbeans, Irish and Jewish immigrants into the UK, for example, haven’t on the whole. Reading this paragraph, some will already have decided I’m a racist; I am merely an empiricist. Orban doesn’t want a Marine Le Pen or 55,000 terrorists on his patch – he has enough to deal with keeping the EU><US propaganda and régime-change infiltrators off his back.

Other considerations are, in turn, being ignored. It is four years since Angela Merkel described multiculturalism in Germany as “a failure”: yet here she is, hogging the limelight now as The Great Saviour. This is two-faced of the lady, but not surprising: with the jubilant mood of wide-eyed German citizens as it is on the issue, she is of course playing to the gallery….both internally, and externally – where the Greek bullying lost the country many friends. The reality, however, is that sooner or later today’s migrant refugees have to become inclusive and tolerant citizens. By the time Germany has that problem, Frau Mirakle will be long-gone….as will the media. Twas ever thus.

Last but not least, the previous time I received an avalanche of abuse for being cruel in the face of ‘hope’ was about ‘The Arab Spring’. My oh my, that turned out well, didn’t it? It was greeted with overwhelming joy…but Islamism destroyed a non-opportunity that had been rendered so by decades of braindead US foreign policy. It was clear to everyone with a left cortex that it would end in tears. The triumph of misplaced hope over reality while being lowered into the lions’ den stopped surprising me years ago.

Anyway, once more into the Twitter pit. Not sure I can face it for much longer. It’s not the anger and spite that get to me, it’s the blind stupidity. It is not necessary to become an idiot in order to offer profound compassion to (and money for) those in genuine distress.

From the archives: Remember Egypt