I am constantly surprised by the European response to the current plight of the Syrian refugees. Why are people so eager to help these people? And why does Australia receive such intense hatred for its zero tolerance policy on boat people?
I may be sounding a touch cruel with my feelings on this matter, but let us look at this from a different perspective. I have absolutely no problem whatsoever with aiding those seeking asylum. My issue lies within the method they choose to find a ‘Safe Haven’. Syrian refugees have fled, uncontrolled and without documentation, across 5 borders and past nearly a dozen other countries to reach Hungary. What was wrong with any of these places? Why not stop moving after reaching Turkey?
Many do. They cross the border into an adjoining country and patiently sit in their refugee camp, surviving on what little support can be offered by the Red Cross. All the while, they politely wait for their official application of asylum in a ‘Safe Haven’ to be processed and approved. THESE are the people we should be helping. As a first world civilisation, we have charters and constitutions that require us to take responsibility and provide help where we can. But why should we aid those who are willfully breaking the law and trying to skip the queue?
Consider the illegal immigrants arriving by boat in Australia – When the authorities stop a boat offshore, all of the passengers claim they are seeking asylum. The problem is that none of them have papers, so ascertaining if their plight is legitimate can prove challenging. As such they are held in detention until clarification can be sought. If they made it to the shores of the country, how many of them do you think would willfully seek out border control and say “Hey guys, sorry for not going through the official channels, but I am seeking asylum and have come over on a boat”… None of them would… they would just meld into the background and vanish.
Nobody is forcing them to stay. They can always leave the detention centres and be deported back to their home country. It seems almost farcical when you hear complaints of conditions… If it is so terrible, then by all means, please return to your war torn country where you were scared of being killed.
I guess what I am saying is, why do we feel so bad for all of these people who are killing themselves to enter countries illegally, whilst not battering an eyelid for those who are dying in camps waiting to be called forwards?
For anyone who really wants to get a better idea of what it is like to be a refugee… have a read of ‘What is the What’ by Dave Eggers. It’s an eye opener and draws attention to how can spread within those fleeing a war torn country.