The World’s Displaced People: an Egregious Abdication of Responsibility

With more than one per cent of the world’s population currently displaced by war, ethnic and warlord violence, climate change, and all the other horrors ceaselessly created by humanity in torturing itself, today’s landscape of misery should cause world leaders to hang their heads in shame. The amount of displaced people in the world has reached a grim zenith: it is the numerical equivalent of having the entire population of Iran wandering around the globe, seeking safety.

Rather than the 21st Century being a time of progress towards equity, or sustainable solutions to our global problems, the latter are instead becoming more intractable, more vicious, and more entrenched. While the international community has been shutting down its borders, resulting in a significant drop in asylum applications, the numbers of those seeking safety has risen inexorably to reach eye-watering proportions.

Amid some of the worst challenges to global sustainability in the history of human civilization, so-called ‘global leaders’ have fallen over each other to create a more hostile environment for migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers. The United Kingdom has slashed its overseas aid budget and opted for making the English Channel, in Home Secretary Priti Patel’s words, ‘unviable’ as a route of entry.

The reality is that attempted crossings have doubled each year under the current U.K. government, while deaths continue to mount: most recently the body of 15-month-old Kurdish-Iranian boy Artin Iran-Nejad washed up in Norway, hundreds of miles from where he was washed out of his parents’ grasp and into the chill, grey waters of the Channel.

The inhumane practice of ‘offshoring’, which we have reported on a number of times, is now firmly back on the agenda in the U.K., Denmark, and elsewhere in the European Union.

This is the iceberg tip of an epoch-defining abdication of responsibility, since most of the shitstorms producing the streams of migrants and asylum seekers around today’s world are the direct result of ham-fisted geopoliticking by culturally illiterate policy wonks for whom native populations are a bothersome distraction the minute they cease to be economically or politically useful.

Syria, Afghanistan, Myanmar, Venezuela, and Somalia are all crises which the world’s ‘leaders’ (meaning the Western powers and their strategic allies) have either caused, or exacerbated, or failed to avert, or failed to halt.

Most of the Syrian refugees have been absorbed by Turkey, which has had to hassle the EU to stump up the six billion Euros the Community promised in support aid. This was essentially an offshoring bribe that stemmed the unwanted and frankly irritating flow of refugees to Europe from the basket case that has been Syria’s last decade.

The distinction made between ‘asylum seekers’ and ‘economic migrants’ is, when it comes down to geopolitics, mere semantics. It’s a distinction without a difference. For parents unable to see any positive outcomes for either themselves or their children, moving to somewhere more viable is a last-straw exigency that far too many of our fellow human beings are forced by circumstances to attempt.

John Clamp writes for Maqshosh.