Events around the world have, since last week, been coming at me thick and fast. I’ve never been so spoilt for choice on potential topics for my weekly piece.
There’s been the election of the first female parliamentary speaker of our lower chamber, there’s been the Russian withdrawal from Georgia (as opposed to the ‘independent’ South Ossetia and Abkhazia where the great bear’s troops are staying put), the global economic meltdown, the going-on’s in the US elections, the Nkunda offensive in Eastern Congo and Mbeki’s resignation (or coup d’état).
But what got me all hot and bothered was a report I listened to on BBC World Service radio.
I believe that a Spanish, or Italian, Coast Guard ship found a bunch of African immigrants floating about the Mediterranean Sea, half drowned and ragged, holding onto their tiny skiff in terror as waves tossed them this way and that.
The terrified fellows were ‘rescued’, bundled up in blankets and put in a holding pen a.k.a ‘prison in common speak’.The BBC reporter then fast forwarded to Brussels where some European Union politician was spewing out some anti-immigrant diatribe.
His solution to this ‘invasion’ of poor Africans was to set up EU offices in their home countries that would be tasked with discouraging the potential immigrants from even attempting the dangerous boat trip and putting more ships to sea to catch those that refuse too heed the warnings.
But this fellow didn’t want to seem against immigration; no sir. That would be like stabbing himself in the back.
For, you see, one of the facts that those in the upper echelons of European government are wrestling with is the fact that their citizens haven’t been involved in enough hanky-panky; their birth rates are falling.
While that is going on (low birth rates), their citizens are growing old. What does that mean? Remember that most of these states have Social Security that is a God-given right to their people.
How does Social Security work? Well, the younger members of society help pay for the Social Security of the older, pensioners and, when the previously ‘young’ members of society become old, their children return the favor.
Well, what happens when there aren’t enough young people in the workforce to pay for the retirement benefits of the old folk?
There is a deficit and who has to pay it…the state. States have tried to, in vain, to get the birthrates increased but their people don’t see the need to have screaming kids running around their small apartments.
Not only is social security under threat but so is the job market. Since most of these immigrants are willing to do anything for a few Euros, they often end up doing the jobs that the ‘prouder’ Europeans would rather not do.
So, these guys end up being the janitors, construction workers and fruit pickers. These kinds are jobs, although menial, keep the economy ticking along.
But of course, these politicians don’t look at the issues like that. They look at it in the prism of political populism. Certainly they won’t call it racist but they will say things that stoke up peoples fears by saying things like “our welfare state will collapse because these ‘people’ will sit on their butts and do nothing but receive welfare cheques while they sire tons of children, who end up becoming ‘radicalized’( that’s code for terrorists)”.
Man, I was someone without any sense, I’d scream ‘throw ‘em out” as well if some well-groomed politician gave me that speech.
Funny enough, most of the fellows who sit down all day and receive welfare cheques often are, without a doubt, not the immigrant community (who are usually extremely hard working and trying to realize their dreams) but rather, the local, white population.
But that’s for another day.
What caught my ire however, isn’t the fact that they don’t want immigrants, I mean, it’s their right to admit however they like in their countries; rather, it is their hypocrisy.
While they go on-and- on about the boat people with one side of their mouth, with the other they are attempting to lure the best qualified Africans to go work in their countries. So, they want to keep the un-qualified masses in their home nations while ‘stealing’ the cream.
I’m sorry but that doesn’t sound like it makes sense. With one hand you giveth (aid) and with the other you taketh (our best people).
The reason that many of the youth are risking their lives is because they don’t have jobs in their homes. But then, who will be able to create jobs in their home states; the qualified nationals who have the brains and means to create opportunity.
So, if you are luring the best minds to your shores then don’t expect your aid to do much.
Here is my suggestion; let the poor immigrants enter and let us keep our best. But of course, I won’t expect you to really care. That’s the way the world is; everyone for himself and the devil take the hindmost.