Elio Delgado Legon
HAVANA TIMES — Over the past few months, most of the world’s media have devoted increasing attention to a migratory flow or crisis taking place in Europe.
After following the issue of African and Middle Eastern immigration in Europe for several weeks, I believe the most appropriate term for the phenomenon is “migratory tragedy.”
Migratory movements from countries that were once colonies towards their former rulers’ European territory has been a fairly common phenomenon, historically, and it has been accepted for two reasons. The first is economic, as immigrants constitute a cheap workforce in countries where manual labor is in high demand. The other is moral, as these countries are responsible for the backwardness and underdevelopment of their former colonies.
Before the so-called “war on terrorism” was undertaken by a coalition led by the United States, countries in North Africa and the Middle East had an acceptable degree of political and economic stability and migration patterns were normal.
However, after the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan, and the massacres perpetrated in Libya by NATO countries, these three countries began to be rocked by ungovernable chaos. Coupled with the many weapons given to irregular and mercenary groups (including in Syria), this has brought about the formation of the self-proclaimed Islamic State, notorious for its mass executions, decapitations and the destruction of everything that represents the ancestral culture of these peoples.
Faced with this state of affairs, and in order to save their lives and those of their relatives, the inhabitants of these four countries – Syria in particular – have had no other choice but to request asylum in Europe.
This situation is coupled with the waves of immigrants from Sub-Saharan Africa, who, in recent months, have arrived at the coasts of Italy and Greece, fleeing from hunger and armed attacks by irregular groups who sow terror across the region.
European Union members meet and debate as to how to confront the problem but have not found a solution to date. Several countries refuse to take in immigrants, while others take in numbers that are far removed from the reality of the problem. US President Barack Obama has said he will grant asylum to 10,000 Syrians next year, but, in the meantime, the greater tragedy draws near.
The crude European winter is nearing as waves of immigrants continue to arrive, and they will continue to do so while the problems that led to the current situation are not resolved. In the meantime, thousands upon thousands of human beings, including many children, are now without a roof over their heads have no heating or warm food, desperately hoping to reach a country that will receive them as human beings.
Some countries are trying to stop the avalanche by building walls and wire fences, but such divisions are not what will halt the exodus of desperate people. This will require repairing the damage that gave rise to this debacle. The call made by a 13-year-old child through Al Jazeera television is indeed powerful: “Please help Syria. We don’t want to go to Europe. Syria needs help now. Stop the war in Syria, just do that.” Putting an end to the war in Syria, ceasing the arms trade with terrorists and combatting them until peace reigns once again in the region, is what will revert Europe’s migratory crisis.