FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Paris Aftermath: Global Manhunts; Halting Refugees

Yesterday morning, the CNN network is scrolling features about a “global manhunt” for those said to have been involved in the Paris attacks on Friday. Attackers are “at large”. The imaginary of global terror feasts yet again on the body of reason. But what should also be featured is a calming campaign against what is becoming a virulent assault on certain vulnerable persons. They did not dictate the narrative of Paris, but they are becoming its victims.

Where there are flows of people, there will always be suggestions of impropriety and poor character. The legitimate asylum seeker is stalked by suggestions that he or she takes the seed of tyranny, or criminality, with them. Australia’s Howard government throughout the 1990s and the first decade of 2000 made a long sport of it, arguing that refugees who sewed their lips up in protest were morally deficient, and dangerous to that unspecified concept called the Australian character.

At every given opportunity, statements were made to harden the Australian populace against these purported charlatans who were attempting to cash in on generous spirit in the antipodes. The Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet’s office was stern about strategy towards those intercepted at sea, notably on the injunction against humanising the refugees.

Images of children being thrown overboard by desperate parents were manipulated. “I can’t comprehend,” feigned Howard in 2001, “how genuine refugees would throw their children overboard.” Such a poison still lingers in the Australian body politic.

It is axiomatic that amidst tens of thousands of people, an enterprising bad egg, or moulding apple, will be found. Amongst the concentration camp survivors liberated as the Second World War neared its conclusion, the vigilant guards, sensing an opportunity, attempted to disappear into the crowd. Such an argument was never one to be used against liberating the survivors, let alone allowing refugees in. Nazis and Nazi collaborators did become migrants, as did genuine displaced persons.

It is that sort of argument, at least in some form, that is being used in attempting to further halt the refugee arrivals in Europe. It patterns all too neatly with the paranoid world view of former Australian Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, who warned in the second Margaret Thatcher lecture at Guildhall that Europe, in embracing a “love your neighbour” policy was slipping into “catastrophic error”.

The Australian experience proves that the only way to dissuade people seeking to come from afar is not to let them in.” Turn them back, he was suggesting. Cut off arrival points. Close borders. Extend the gulag. The conservative Spectator magazine cheered in Thatcherite approval.

The challenge is proving most pressing being in such countries as Germany, which is becoming the “shock absorber” of Europe for those seeking refuge. There are broader matters at play as to why such large numbers are being accepted, not least an economic rationale fronted by German industry.

A bleaker social and security picture, however, is being pushed home by nervous sceptics, not least of all from the governing parties themselves. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Bavarian allies are seething, and the immediate aftermath of the attacks in Paris prompted sharp remarks by some members.

The point of contention here was the holder of a Syrian passport found near the body of one of the assailants who perished in the Friday night attacks. He had passed through Greece in October, according to Greek authorities. Not in itself conclusive of anything, but it was enough to link free movement with ISIS penetration even before responsibility was ascertained. It was enough to suggest that open borders constituted open invitations to spread mayhem in Europe.

Bavarian Finance Minister Markus Soeder provided his few Euros worth on the topic: “The days of uncontrolled immigration and illegal entry,” he told Welt am Sonntag, “can’t continue just like that. Paris changes everything.” Such dangerous nonsense slams the door on legitimate attempts to flee oppressive regimes, shifting the focus back on concepts of illegal entry. We cannot trust them, these strange creatures who do not abide by the protocols of processing.

Soeder had inspiration from Bavarian state premier Horst Seehofer of the Christian Social Union (CSU), who has called for a border clamp down. Soeder has, in turn, been listening to the railing statements of Hungary’s Viktor Orbán, who has told Merkel in no uncertain terms that there should be no “moral imperialism” at play here.

Orbán has seen his moment underscored in the Paris attacks. Blood has nourished his pan-European Christian rhetoric, a point he managed to put forth in his parliamentary address in Budapest titled “Attack on Europe.” Some of his initial words suggested that he would, in fact, draw a line between desperate refugee and opportunistic terrorist. “In a deliberate and organised way, terrorists have exploited mass migration by mingling in the mass of people leaving their hopes of a better life.”

Then, a truer picture emerges, one that has little to do with compassion, and everything to do with the orthodox righteousness of the nation state. “The right to self-defence is stronger than any other, we should not put European lives at risk on the basis of any kind of ideology or economic arguments.” Except, of course, the ideology of unquestioned sovereignty itself.

This then paved the way for Orbán to strike at apologists and the compassion brigade, a feint suggestion that they had collaborated in the project of undermining European security. “Those who said yes to immigration, who transported immigrations from warzones, those people did not do everything for the defence of European people.”

The dog whistling then became vehement. “We don’t think that everyone is a terrorist but no one can say how many terrorists have arrived already, how many are coming day by day.” Liberal Europe, deemed deluded in its compassion, under assault, and gradually giving way at the seams.

More articles by:

Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge. He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne. Email: bkampmark@gmail.com

February 20, 2019
Anthony DiMaggio
Withdrawal Pains and Syrian Civil War: An Analysis of U.S. Media Discourse
Charles Pierson
When Saudi Arabia Gets the Bomb
Doug Johnson Hatlem
“Electability” is Real (Unless Married with the Junk Science of Ideological Spectrum Analysis)
Kenneth Surin
The Atlantic Coast Pipeline: Another Boondoggle in Virginia
John Feffer
The Psychology of the Wall
Dean Baker
Modern Monetary Theory and Taxing the Rich
Russell Mokhiber
Citizens Arrested Calling Out Manchin on Rockwool
George Ochenski
Unconstitutional Power Grabs
Michael T. Klare
War With China? It’s Already Under Way
Thomas Knapp
The Real Emergency Isn’t About the Wall, It’s About the Separation of Powers
Manuel García, Jr.
Two Worlds
Daniel Warner
The Martin Ennals and Victorian Prize Winners Contrast with Australia’s Policies against Human Dignity
Norman Solomon
What the Bernie Sanders 2020 Campaign Means for Progressives
Dan Corjescu
2020 Vision: A Strategy of Courage
Matthew Johnson
Why Protest Trump When We Can Impeach Him?
William A. Cohn
Something New and Something Old: a Story Still Being Told
Bill Martin
The Fourth Hypothesis: the Present Juncture of the Trump Clarification and the Watershed Moment on the Washington Mall
February 19, 2019
Richard Falk – Daniel Falcone
Troublesome Possibilities: The Left and Tulsi Gabbard
Patrick Cockburn
She Didn’t Start the Fire: Why Attack the ISIS Bride?
Evaggelos Vallianatos
Literature and Theater During War: Why Euripides Still Matters
Maximilian Werner
The Night of Terror: Wyoming Game and Fish’s Latest Attempt to Close the Book on the Mark Uptain Tragedy
Conn Hallinan
Erdogan is Destined for Another Rebuke in Turkey
Nyla Ali Khan
Politics of Jammu and Kashmir: The Only Viable Way is Forward
Mark Ashwill
On the Outside Looking In: an American in Vietnam
Joyce Nelson
Sir Richard Branson’s Venezuelan-Border PR Stunt
Ron Jacobs
Day of Remembrance and the Music of Anthony Brown        
Cesar Chelala
Women’s Critical Role in Saving the Environment
February 18, 2019
Paul Street
31 Actual National Emergencies
Robert Fisk
What Happened to the Remains of Khashoggi’s Predecessor?
David Mattson
When Grizzly Bears Go Bad: Constructions of Victimhood and Blame
Julian Vigo
USMCA’s Outsourcing of Free Speech to Big Tech
George Wuerthner
How the BLM Serves the West’s Welfare Ranchers
Christopher Fons
The Crimes of Elliot Abrams
Thomas Knapp
The First Rule of AIPAC Is: You Do Not Talk about AIPAC
Mitchel Cohen
A Tale of Two Citations: Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring” and Michael Harrington’s “The Other America”
Jake Johnston
Haiti and the Collapse of a Political and Economic System
Dave Lindorff
It’s Not Just Trump and the Republicans
Laura Flanders
An End to Amazon’s Two-Bit Romance. No Low-Rent Rendezvous.
Patrick Walker
Venezuelan Coup Democrats Vomit on Green New Deal
Natalie Dowzicky
The Millennial Generation Will Tear Down Trump’s Wall
Nick Licata
Of Stress and Inequality
Joseph G. Ramsey
Waking Up on President’s Day During the Reign of Donald Trump
Elliot Sperber
Greater Than Food
Weekend Edition
February 15, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Matthew Hoh
Time for Peace in Afghanistan and an End to the Lies
Chris Floyd
Pence and the Benjamins: An Eternity of Anti-Semitism
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail