“Securing Borders” is in face a ware the EU is waging against refugees left by the dishonesty of the Sea and Balkan Routes. And Europe would not be what it is if it had not accepted refugees for decades,” he writes for DW
Idomeni, Cevdeli, Presevo, Reska, Tovarnik, Brezice, Spilje – in the order of town, I did not know too much about their existence until 2015, except that they are at the very borders of countries in South East Europe. Then, hundreds of thousands of people, from Syrian, Iraqi and Afghan war zones arrived in those small town. There, as a reporter I always heard of the same scenes. Thousands of people, exhuasted, starving, sick, and yet hopeful for a future without war, sleep on the floor and push themselves in crowded trains and buses. Majority of them began this odyssey because they had to leave their war-ravaged homelands and because gigantic refugee camps in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey were full and lacking sufficient financial resources. And with every passing year there is a growing hope for peace to return to their countries.
For years, the folded hands of Europe were seen as a few hundred kilometes for the borders on Syria’s soil, one of the greatest refugee disasters since World War II, as if it were only outside the neighborhood of that country. When in short, a crack was opened in the European ramparts, the fortress was quickly reinforced with fences – 26 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall. In the middle of Europe, even among EU members. This was the first step towards the abolition of Europe. If Angela Merkel listened to her own criticisms and closed the German border, it would a serious danger for the existence of the EU in its present form. She luckily, did not do this.
Today Europe’s legs still stand tall. Small towns on the Balkan route have fallen into oblivion. Thousands of people who are currently stuck in southeast Europe are held there without a roof over their heads, hating themselves at -15, in public in Berlin, Vienna or Stockhold, they are hardly important and are left to the edges of newspapers.
The EU has two important allies in its intention to avoid responsibility and accept refugees – Turkish autocrat Redjep Tayyip Erdogan and the Mediterranean. Last year, at least 5,022 people drowned in the Mediterranean. The EU calls it the provision of borders, but it is in actuality a war against people trying to reach Europe.
The EU claims it wants to fight against smugglers and human trafficking but today they have risen prices for their services like never before. The EU itself is fueling the demand for smugglers because almost no people have the right to enter the EU legally or to apply for asylum from outside it. The impression is that the smugglers were selected as duty guards, so that the EU should not have to stand in front of a mirror when it comes to the question of who is responsible for the dead.
This has nothing to do with European values that fill the mouths of Europeans. Europe is not in crisis because Syria is burning. Europe is in crisis because of right wing populists who try to call upon the ghosts of the thirties.
Hana Arendt, shortly after WWII, said that the human rights established by the United Nations had no value when national states were facing millions of refugees because they do not have the possibility to demand their rights in practice. Today, its worth paying back Hana Arendt, because thousands of people drowning in the Mediterranean have really nothing to do with abstract human hijackings.
In doing so, the EU would not what it is today had members after the Second World War not accepted millions of expelled refugees. It would not be what it is today the free part of Europe if it had not opened its borders for people who are fleeing from regimes in countries of realistically existing socialism or refugees from the ethno nationalist madness of the Yugoslav wars.
Between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Germany there is no Mediterranean Sea where people may drown. When my family fled the war in Bosnia, they did not have to risk life on that trip. In the early 90’s, Germany received hundreds of thousands of people from Former Yugoslavia, the Warsaw Pact and the Soviet Union. That did make Germany worse but rather a better country.
And now Europe is in danger of collapse because its member states with a population of 510 million can not agree on what to do with two million refugees – at a time when the world has a total of 65 million refugees! If such a breakdown is allowed, then what was created after the Second World War and the fall of the Berlin Wall was lost. Then it is no longer my Europe.
*Krsto Lazarevic was born in Bosnia and Hercegovina and as a child, fled to Germany with his parents from BiH. Today he lives in Berlin and write for several media outlets in the German language.