A lone mariner of Greece wonders when he sees a new boat at a distance from Lesbos port. He does not think of those people in boat as being different – they are human after all. He does not weigh whether his country is better judged as the cradle of democracy in its present form, or is more adept to tragedy even today taking a cue from the recent economic ordeals. The humanity prevails as he rescues migrants from Syria before they proceed to the continental Europe. He is oblivious of the tremendous brainstorming that is going on elsewhere.
Will such large-scale migration have a transformable effect on the continent? Why did rich states in the Middle-East not absorb migrating population that is more close to their own culture and traditions? Why did the USA stop at a small chunk, just a token gesture?
The debate will continue. And it should, like it should have happened when Bangla revolution led to Indo-Pak War in 1971. The world should also recollect how the western hemisphere watched Indian situation with a coloured glass, and had one-sided view of the East Bengali refugees crisis then. Analysts should have evaluated the case of India the way they are now assessing the role of western countries with regard to their aid and involvement in the very crisis that led to the displacement of population.
The basic trend seems to have remained unchanged since last one hundred years. Wars have increasingly blurred the line dividing military and civilians. Large-scale migration is a reality because of strategic bombing, genocide, and oppression from wicked regimes. The incidents are many if you count. Be it Nazi’s inhuman programme in the last century or Central America’s Narco War today – you have ample number of examples of mass displacement of population from the affected regions. Of course, I cannot compare the examples in their intentions; but their sole relation to the issue of migration makes them typical and similar.
While we debate, the humanitarian effort in Europe should go in parallel. Requisite planning and process of assimilation will have to be quick. And not many people will disagree to this view. Perhaps the lone mariner would be thinking, ‘they are not us, yet they are no different’.
The banner image has been taken from the website of UNHCR.