Fear of Refugees and the Challenge to our Humanity


Racism is not an opinion. Racism is not one of those personal reflections on the world one is allowed to share because everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Racism is the disgusting and ignorant disregard of other human beings and their rights and needs on the basis of imagined difference. Over the past number of years, greatly aggravated by Western intervention, the Middle East and parts of Africa have been torn apart by violence and war; forcing people to flee for their lives into neighbouring countries and towards Europe and America. While Europe, in particular, has been keen to open its borders for the free transfer of skilled labour, goods, and services, it has constructed a fortress against the influx of migrants and refugees.

What has resulted from this is the largest refugee crisis in the history of the human race. Millions of people are on the move, running from persecution, torture, rape, and death, only to be stopped by the walls of Fortress Europe. Governments poisoned by the inhuman doctrines of free market capitalism, with the help of the press, have relentlessly manufactured a climate of fear and mistrust within their own borders so as to secure support for their inhumane policies of exclusion which have produced untold misery for hundreds of thousands of people in desperate need of sanctuary.


Terrorism has many causes, to be sure. Fundamentalist Islamic terrorism has developed, among other reasons, due to increased radicalisation within Islam, as a consequence of the emergence and frustration of nationalisms in the Islamic World, as a response to the injustices of colonialism, and indeed as a form of resistance in an asymmetric global war. It is not one single thing, and each of its particular manifestations is complex. There can be no doubt that, as a whole and in its parts, it poses a significant threat to world security.

The rise of Islamic terrorism, along with Western state-sponsored terrorism in the Middle East, has played its part in the current refugee crisis, and it must be remembered that those fleeing are the victims of these forces. Yet terror attacks in Europe are being exploited by governments and the media to foment hysteria in the West; equating the refugees with groups such as ISIS to legitimise their refusal to help people and families in crisis. At the first this is an unconscionable state action of inhumanity, but this has created and helped stoke a growing mood of racism, xenophobia, and Islamophobia within Europe and North America. In subscribing to this engineered opinion of the refugee as the dangerous and threatening other we are succumbing to fear; the results of which are already apparent. Our fear has led to our consent to the heightening securitisation of our countries, to our worsening treatment of vulnerable communities within ‘our borders,’ and our latent refusal to recognise the helpless people trying to get in as human beings.


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