The refugee crisis returned to the pages of the national press once again recently after over 30 refugees drowned in the Mediterranean during a dangerous journey from Libya when their boat holding 500 refugees capsized. The majority of those drowned were young children. The European refugee crisis has been going on for over two years now, with no apparent end in sight.
In the two years since the refugee crisis first started making headlines in the West, what has been done about it? European countries, predominantly led by Britain and France, have spent millions in developing physical and economic barriers to safe passage for refugees into Europe. In the latter half of 2014, David Cameron ended British support for the Mare Nostrum operation, the Italian search and rescue mission in the Mediterranean, effectively choosing to let refugees fend for themselves at sea rather than ensure a safe journey onto Europe’s shores. In September of last year, work began on a £1.9m wall sponsored by Britain to further deter refugees trying to cross the border from Calais into England—money which could have been spent instead on providing resources to help refugees.
Britain has been one of the most unwelcoming countries in Europe to refugees, which says a lot considering how hostile Europe generally is to refugees. None of the countries in Europe have accepted their designated “quota” of refugees as laid out by the EU in 2015, least of all Britain. When the “Calais Jungle” was officially closed down a few months ago, Britain promised to process 3000 child refugees, according to the Dubs Amendment, but ended up only accepting 350 before scrapping the pledge, leaving thousands of vulnerable children to fend for themselves after the closure. On top of the children who have already died in the Mediterranean, tens of thousands of children who have actually made the journey have been reported missing across Europe. The status of refugees in Europe is at such a miserable level that countries actually have to be set quotas to accept them, which makes it even worse that none of them even managed to fill their quotas. The African and Asian citizens fleeing their homelands are turned into numbers and bargaining pieces among the Western states. In England, refugees along with migrants are being turned into scapegoats by the current Conservative government to deflect blame for its failed austerity policies.
In Europe, the narrative being pushed out by the mainstream media is that of a sudden “surge” of refugees coming over from the Middle East and North Africa, trying to flee war-torn countries. The media line is that they are pitiful but, nevertheless, not Europe’s problem.
But what is being portrayed as a sudden problem that happened to rope in the Western world without its consent is in fact a man-made crisis directly manufactured by the West, with Britain, America and their NATO allies at the head. The refugees who died trying to cross the Mediterranean had started their fateful journey on the coast of Libya. Libya is a country which, in recent years, has become a “failed state” and a breeding ground for terrorist activity, sex slavery and human trafficking, all thanks to Western “intervention” in 2011 that overthrew the government of Muammar Gaddafi. All those currently being tortured, raped and enslaved in terrorist-held areas, and all those making perilous journeys across the Mediterranean, are simply part of the constant stream of “collateral damage” that Western intervention in the Middle East and Africa continues to produce.
The only way to end the refugee crisis is an option that no Conservatives leaders would ever consider: to end imperialist meddling in the Middle East and the Arab world. However, the Conservatives and the ruling elite would never willingly carry out such a radical shift in foreign policy due to their total commitment to greed and profit. They will not end involvement in the region’s politics as the capitalists want to continue exploiting its resources. They continue to prop up all those rotten corrupt regimes which endeavour to do the imperialists’ bidding. They have turned countries like Libya, Iraq and Syria into chaotic hell holes where millions are trying to escape for fear of their lives.
Here is the real source of the refugee crisis, one that shows that the choice before the masses truly is “socialism or barbarism”, as the logical direction of capitalism can only be the total devastation of nations and homelands, along with the heartless dehumanisation of the people who live in them.