Sunday, 6 September 2015

People don't risk death unless...

We are facing the largest movement of refugees since the World War II. The number of people forced to leave their homes rose to a record 60 million last year - with most of those people fleeing Syria's horrific war or coming from countries such as Afghanistan, Eritrea, Somalia, and Iraq.

Migrants have been making appalling and terrifying journeys and all too often dying in the process.

People don't risk death unless they are desperate for life. People don't decide to uproot families unless that is the only choice available. But the response so far has been to vilify the people risking everything to get here, while fortifying borders: building more walls, erecting more fences, sending more militarised patrols, and raising the possibility of bombing the "death boats". As the walls go up around the borders, they have blocked our capacity to see the connections between foreign policies and the people living beyond our fortified frontiers.

Rather than dream of permanent relocation, refugees often wish to return home, if they could. 'Humanitarianism' begins to take on another dimension with walls and warships to turn back refugees seeking political asylum and sanctuary. Civilians have little option but to flee their homes from war and conflict, fueled and financed by arms supplied by the Big Powers and their proxies. Immigrant movements will not stop by razor wire. It will only force immigrants to change direction not destination.

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