I read quiet some unpleasant tweets today about people’s opinion of Europe’s refugee politics.
Some people think, we are too welcoming to refugees and make them dare their journey thereby.
Other people are very angry, that we rich Europeans seem to be unable to avoid such drama by lending a hand to those desperate people fleeing their lives in Africa.
All of those refugees can’t see a future in Africa for themselves and their families. Some for political reasons, some for economic reasons and some because they are in danger having said their opinion. Those people fleeing Africa are desperate. They all have only one life, just like us Europeans. Those people are afraid of getting killed or that their children will have to grow up in fear and danger.
That are very human feelings and emotions. Most of us would feel exactly the same, confronted with a life those people lead.
In Europe we have a deep believe in everybody’s ability to make the best of our life. Mostly exactly the way we wish and we chose. And we believe, that it’s our good right to have all those opportunities.
It is our good right. Of course it is. And it’s wonderful, that it is. But even in this climate of freedom and common wealth there are a lot of people, who can’t take part. Children, whose parents don’t or can’t care enough. People who are disabled or ill and don’t find the care they need. And a lot more.
Those standing a bit outside our societies sometimes face the same anger and misunderstanding, the African refugees face.
Why? What’s wrong?
I think, we lack a culture of sharing.
Our society is based on the theory of growth. Not only in economy. Our everyday life is also based on that. Being content with what we have is allowed to people at the end of their lives. But as long as we are working, raising children or not, we have to have a career, if we don’t want to be outsiders. Admired are those people, who take their chances and get as far as possible in their careers. Those who stand back to give their children more time, to be there for their old parents are often regarded as not working on their careers.
Getting as far as possible mostly means to take every chance that is given. It also means to become as wealthy as possible. And that doesn’t open the possibility to share. We don’t share our jobs and we don’t share our income. Sometimes we donate a little part of our income.
But to integrate a lot of refugees into our society, we would need to share. To integrate them, they need work to be able to look after themselves and their families.
To offer a lot of new citizens the possibility to work, means to share the jobs we have and the income we have. It minimizes other people’s chances to find a job and therewith their income.
That thought raises fear.
Fear is a terrible emotion. It makes people do strange and often irrational things. Fear isn’t rational. And fear doesn’t give humans much options to react. We can fight, flee or do as we were not there.
And those reactions to fear are what I read behind many of the tweets I saw today.
Some people fight and don’t want to give up their position. They want the refugees to stay where they are.
Some people flee, don’t speak for themselves, let others, often kind of radical people talk for them, even elect them.
And some people simply don’t say anything, do as if they were not afflicted. They are not there in public discussion or when it comes to practical actions. Very few tweet something like ‘it doesn’t matter to me if there are a few 100.000 refugees more or less.’ That could cause a lot of trouble and people who do as if they weren’t there mostly don’t want trouble. Trouble needs attention. And paying attention requires to be there.
All three of those reactions are not productive, when we need a strategy, when we need ideas, how to solve the problem.
Humans are unable to be creative while they are in fear.
So in my opinion the very first step to a solution needs to be, to get out of this climate of fear in Europe. We need ways to talk about what’s ahead without being afraid on our own future. We need a picture of our society, that includes the possibility to share without loosing ones own perspective.
Perhaps the time of the ideal of getting bigger, higher, further is over. Perhaps the time of the ideal of growth is over.
Where are the ideas for another way in society and our everyday lives?