The migrants’ wave controversy

by 036 Yurika on November 16, 2015 - 2:55am

 

 

War, poverty or humanitarian abuse are driving forces for thousands of people to leave their country. 62% of them are from the conflict-stricken Syria and Afghanistan or people who fear the humanitarian abuse in Eritrea. The International Office for Migration detected that 350,000 migrants have crossed the EU’s border between January and August 2015, but it is estimated that the actual count is even higher considering the undetected number of people. The migration route puts especially pressure on the borders of Greece, Austria, Hungary, Turkey and Italy; most migrants are aiming to get to Germany. Hungary and Bulgaria are closing their borders and are said to have shown interest in building a fence such as the one between Israel and Egypt. In the following, I would like to discuss reasons for countries to welcome or oppose to the migration movement and give my own opinion to it.

 

First, I would like to state arguments for a country to open its doors to migrants. Migrants are forced to leave their country due to a conflict, repression or severe poverty.  Their journey to freedom is very perilous as they are often crossing by boats unfit for the rough sea, facing abuse by people traffickers or passing through a country that has a conflict itself. According to the Guardian, at the end of August, 200 migrants died near Libya. The with 400 people overcrowded boat was on its way to Italy departing from Zuwara(Libya), which is a major departing point to get to Italy. Their psychological and physical stress is immense, so the only human thing would be to offer them a home to recover and live again. Moreover, a research has been conducted concerning the decrease of the population in Europe, which has shown a decreasing trend in Germany and Eastern European countries between 2001 and 2011. Therefore, their working force in the future is also decreasing and they are referred to as aging societies. Wouldn’t it be a chance to ensure the economy of the country and apart from it being enriched in their culture? European countries could learn from the migrants; comparisons might point out shortcomings of the country and how to improve them.

 

Secondly, there are opposing arguments and concerns regarding giving migrants asylum, which I would like to introduce. Most countries are worried about the costs to accommodate so many migrants, providing shelters, finance the integration (teaching the language, law and a working place) and financial support until they can stand on their own feet. Additionally, there is a fear that the crime level will increase since some of the integration program might not succeed in all cases or some asylum seekers are in fact criminals looking for places to expand their “business”. A third reason often heard, is that a conflict might arise in the country based on a different cultural and religious background, which is one of the main reasons for Hungary to close its borders.

 

In my opinion it is the duty of every country to take asylum seekers in since most of the migrants would not risk their life on such a dangerous travel if their life wasn’t already hell in their own country. Moreover they are going through the difficulties to adjust in a country of which they cannot speak the language nor know much about its customs and culture. I understand that Hungary has been invaded and suppressed several times throughout history, but this should actually be the reason why they should sympathize with the refugees.

Migrants are not invaders, they will be depending on the country and give their best to blend in. I think integration programs are essential to successfully integrate them into the country’s society, however, it is also important to educate the residents, as they will be the ones who will be in close contact with the asylum seekers and play a big part in whether they will feel welcome or resent to learn about the country they escaped to. It will also be crucial to whether they can find a job or decide whether they turn to crime or not. I would suggest that starting from the elementary school to any kind of business company, residents should be informed about the reasons why the migrants are fleeing their country in the institution itself. People are often misinformed and just walk with the crowd. I agree that the countries will face economic hardships to accommodate so many people, but I think as for example super-powers like Russia or USA are having their own share in the Syrian conflict, they and the rest of the countries should support these countries.

In my opinion, a world fund should be created to support the countries which are accommodating refugees and the countries should participate in it depending on their GDP. EU countries should each take in an equal share of migrants and support each other to be more efficient.

 

In conclusion, the migrant wave throws up supporting and opposing opinions, however, the fact is that as opinions and solutions are discussed, thousands of migrants are in need of a secure environment and I think we should all remember that we just happened to be lucky not to experience the horrors they have.

 

 

 

References:

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-24583286

http://www.express.co.uk/comment/expresscomment/610663/Hungary-migrant-crisis-Hungarian-refugee

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-34546723

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-17258397

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-23849587

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/aug/17/inside-eritrea-migrant-crisis-guardian-briefing

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/aug/27/at-least-30-dead-after-boat-carrying-migrants-sinks-in-mediterranean

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2015/06/23/map-where-europe-is-growing-and-where-it-is-shrinking/

 

Comments

I knew this article according to Guardian, at the end of August, 200 migrants died near Libya. When I read this article, I was very surprised by this article. So I think it is important for us to think like this. We can think but I think it is difficult for human to act about like this. Opinion of her is a world fund should be created to support the countries which are accomodating refugees and the countries should take part in it depending on their GDP. EU countries should each take in an equal share of migrants and support each other to be more efficient. I think the opinion is important for each countries.

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Thank you for your comment. I think you are right by saying that actions are difficult, however the longer politicians gather around a table without a result, the longer the situation last. More refugees will die, more citizens will get angry or insecure and it will stay chaotic. I think the conflict in Syria might last for a long time ( Afghanistan for example is still unstable due to the Taliban), but if all countries in Europe would work together without their own selfish thoughts, I am sure a solution can be found. So what is your opinion, how might this situation get better. If you were the prime minister of a European country, what would you decide to do? What would you think if Japan was put into such a situation, would you vote for letting refugees in or against it?

HI, I also studied this problem in my lesson and I found this isn't easy to solve. I thought the world never be peace. Now there are many countries have war and nuclear weapons, so I think the peace comes to the world when all human is dead. Your opinion may be a good way to help migrants, but I think that is difficult way. It's because it is easy enough to act. Almost countries don't act, so there are others problem in each countries(but this is my opinion, which doesn't have some bases). I also think that Japanese also have ways to support migrants. I wish the day would come when all human never shed blood.

Thank you for your comment. I agree with you that most countries don't act to contribute to peace as each country has its own interests, however, I was a bit shocked that you said that peace will only come to the world when everyone is dead. I understand why you are saying that, still I believe that the greatest power we have is hope and love. It sounds a bit kitsch, but as long we keep on believing that something better will come, the more bearable are situations like war and despair. Every country has its problems, but so does everyone around you and still most people try to help each other, that is what makes us a society in my opinion. I think the politicians of the world always look to the other side whenever they should help and it would be disadvantageous for their country. We can already see that in the way they act regarding the global warming. I share your wish, even though I guess there will always be some people who would do anything for getting power.

Hi,Ms, Yurika. Thank you, reply. I thought this problem is important for me. If I will encounter this situation, I think that I should take precedence saving of refugees.

In the US, the primary argument being used against accepting refugees is the risk of terrorism, which has been accentuated by the recent attacks in San Bernadino, California. Are these fears common in Japan? Has radical Islamic terrorism ever been an issue in Japan?

Thank you for your comment. Japan has a very strict policy concerning letting foreigners and refugees in. In 2014 Japan accepted only 11 out of 5000 applicants (mostly from Asian countries). I also think that the distance from Middle East countries to Japan is bigger, so that the chance of an attack might be low. However, as we have seen in California and Paris, Muslim residents became radical and murdered so many people. I think rather than fearing the refugees, we might ask ourselves how they became so radicalized. I have read that many residents from Pakistan hate America and maybe we should ask ourselves why and what we can do to reduce their resentment. In Japan their was a sarin attack by a group called Aum Shinrikyou in 1995. It saw itself as a group deriving from Buddhism. However, as Japan is an ally to America and seen as a peaceful country, there might be attempts in future to attack it. I think no country can be safe nowadays and since we hear a lot of attacks abroad, there might be more worries concerning accepting refugees and going abroad. Do you think by letting in less refugees, America will be safer?

Thanks for your prompt reply, and sorry that I've been so slow to get back, I've been away for the Christmas Holiday. It's interesting to hear about the situation in Japan- the connection you make between the Aum Shinrikyou attacks, and modern radical Islamic terrorism is fascinating, is there still fear of terrorism from the Aum Shinrikyou attacks?

I think that in the US, fear of refugees is very common, when in reality the overwhelming majority of the refugees are fleeing from ISIS rather than fighting for it. It's possible that a refugee admitted to the US might carry out an act of terror- but we've already seen homegrown terrorists here in the US, so I don't think it makes any sense to stop admitting refugees.

Hi gfastie,
No problem, I wouldn't have read it that soon anyway, being myself busy with Christmas and New Year preparations :).
No, there is no fear of Aum Shinrikyou anymore, as the leaders have been caught, however, there are may sects here in Japan and there might be a possibility that it might occur someday again. I think there is no country that is absolutely save from people making their point. What do you think? Are there sects in America that might possibly do attacks?

I really agree with you and I really hope that people will someday see that, instead of closing out refugees.

About the author

Hello!
My name is Yurika. I am half Japanese and half Swiss. 5 years ago I moved with my mother to Japan. I am living now in Shioya, near Kobe (1hour from Osaka, situated at the ocean.)
I am a first year student at Kansai University of International Studies.