Friday, September 04, 2015

What the hell are we doing?

The conversation about asylum seekers is getting more and more emotional on both sides, as the bodies are piling up. I am not much of a psychologist, but I suspect that part of what is making people scream so loudly is that it's getting quite clear that the old "nobody there is in real need of help anyway" and, on the other side, "we gotta help everyone who needs help" are not working anymore: there are obviously lots of people really in need of help, and we just as obviously cannot help them all. All that can be discussed at this point is numbers, which kind of takes all fun away from an ideological debate, and pisses off both sides.

But yes, lots of people are trying to get to the EU and apply for asylum. And no, for the most part we cannot help them where they are. In the places overrun by ISIS, for example, "helping them where they are" would, I am afraid, involve a summary execution of all the members of ISIS, which is rather expensive, and likely to produce a lot of innocent victims if done by carpet bombing.

I am looking at all this, and I am wondering: what the fuck are we doing? I don't even mean that we are taking too many, or too few: how are we going about it, and who gets selected?

Seriously, this makes no sense at all: we (Europe) build fences and do everything we can in order not to let asylum seekers into the EU. Then after some of them do get into the EU, we have to take the applications from all of those, and in the first country they arrive to (I can see how Italy and Greece might be a bit pissed off by this system, and we would be too if the eastern neighbor suddenly started producing refugees). Then the applications are considered, hopefully to the best of the officials' ability, and their ability is not all that good: it's hard to say who is a criminal, it's hard to say who is a terrorist, it's sometimes even hard to say who is who and who is from where. But then, after an application has been approved, we are not gonna kick the person out no matter what kind of criminal he or she has turned out to be.

What is the sense of all of this? We are actively selecting the people who can get to Europe in something that doesn't deserve to be called a boat, and can afford to pay the smugglers. I totally think that both young men, and people who have money can be just as worthy of asylum as for example poor old women, but is there any point in actively selecting them, and in the process encouraging lots of people to a) risk their lives while crossing the seas on god-knows-what, and b) give their money to the people who provide that unseaworthy transportation?

Can't we, like, decide on how many we can take, handle the applications elsewhere, and then let the winners of that lottery arrive on a proper ferry with proper papers, while turning the users of Oh-Shit-The-Raft-Is-Leaking Sea Transportation away on arrival? People are not dumb (well, most aren't), and if rafting over the Mediterranean is not occasionally rewarded with a residence permit they are likely to stop doing it.

And please, can we send the seriously criminal ones back? On the Oh-Shit-The-Raft-Is-Leaking Sea Transportation, if needed. Yeah, the transportation might take a downward direction, quite literally. Yeah, they might be subjected to inhumane treatment there. They will probably have to take a number and stand in line for that along with half of the population, many of whom we have turned away to begin with, but anyway... Tough shit. They could've thought about it before robbing or raping somebody. No matter how many or how few refugees we decide to take, all the refugee places should be reserved for regular people trying to resettle and live a normal life, not for somebody wanted for terrorism in Iraq or armed robbery in Finland.

We can fight about the numbers later, but can we put some sense in the procedure first, and fast?



5 comments:

August said...

I don't think the European Union is actually capable of doing what you want. It may appear so- and they certainly like to pretend they are capable of doing good and humane things, but it just isn't within their power.

pjt said...

Vera, I quite agree with what you post, just one technical question: have you done some weird Blogger settings so that I can't get an RSS or Atom feed from your blog?

Erkki-Anneli Kummastunut said...

Great post. Linked on my post to this, althou my post was quite on different view:
https://kummastunut.wordpress.com/2015/09/06/haluatko-olla-hyva-ihminen-vai-pelastaa-maailman/

Ossi said...

Vera: "Can't we, like, decide on how many we can take, handle the applications elsewhere, and then let the winners of that lottery arrive on a proper ferry with proper papers, while turning the users of Oh-Shit-The-Raft-Is-Leaking Sea Transportation away on arrival?"

If those raft users meet requirements of refugee status, you really can't send them away.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Convention_relating_to_the_Status_of_Refugees

Ossi said...

http://openborders.info/blog/junk-the-international-refugee-system-and-open-the-borders/