The ar­riv­ing mis­er­ables

There’s grow­ing chaos as the Mid­dle East comes to the West

The Washington Times Weekly - - Editorials -

The chaos of men, women and chil­dren flee­ing the hor­ror of the Mid­dle East con­tin­ues to deepen. With Ger­many serv­ing as en­abler, hun­dreds of thou­sands and per­haps soon a mil­lion Syr­i­ans, Iraqis and oth­ers are try­ing to get to haven in Europe. Ger­many first said it was will­ing to take in 800,000 of the dis­pos­sessed, and sug­gested that another 500,000 might be al­lowed to fol­low. Like Pres­i­dent Obama’s an­nounce­ment that the United States would not turn away the thou­sands of “chil­dren” cross­ing the U.S.-Mexico bor­der last year, the Ger­man an­nounce­ment was taken as a green light. The mul­ti­tudes have been flood­ing the zone since.

The term “refugee” for the masses break­ing down the gates of Europe is not quite ac­cu­rate. Some are in­deed refugees flee­ing per­se­cu­tion; Syr­ian Chris­tians face death by the Is­lamic State, or ISIS, and so, too, those who have stood up to the bar­bar­ians. They have been marked for death, or worse. They are flee­ing and only churls and knaves can­not sym­pa­thize.

Oth­ers, how­ever, aren’t refugees, but mi­grants. They’re seek­ing a bet­ter life and Europe is more mag­net than refuge. Their de­ter­mi­na­tion to leave mis­ery and dis­ease is un­der­stand­able, but they have no claim on the moral obli­ga­tion felt in the West.

This week Ger­many tight­ened bor­der se­cu­rity in the face of pro­jec­tions that a mil­lion peo­ple might ar­rive by the end of the year. Hungary, the Nether­lands and Den­mark are de­ter­mined to do what they can to turn away the horde of new ar­rivals. The Hun­gar­i­ans built a tem­po­rary fence of ra­zor wire on its bor­der, and said it would dis­patch the army if nec­es­sary to keep out the seek­ers of refuge. Danes con­tin­ued to pub­lish ad­ver­tise­ments in Mid­dle Eastern news­pa­pers warn­ing would-be refugees that they weren’t welcome in Den­mark.

Ger­many wants the Euro­pean Union to im­pose manda­tory quo­tas so that na­tions less friendly to refugees must, as a con­di­tion of EU mem­ber­ship, open their borders and share the bur­den of re­set­tling. That sug­ges­tion was not welcome, ei­ther, in na­tions suf­fer­ing high do­mes­tic un­em­ploy­ment, slug­gish eco­nomic growth and liv­ing with fear that the EU is a threat to their ter­ri­to­rial and cul­tural iden­tity.

Pres­i­dent Obama wants to open this na­tion’s borders, too, and the first of the refugees and mi­grants are ar­riv­ing. Two-dozen Syr­i­ans ap­peared in Bal­ti­more, where they will get jobs and houses to help them get started as prospec­tive Amer­i­cans. The Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion hasn’t done much to en­able those al­ready trapped in the city to find work, but is con­fi­dent it can ab­sorb these new res­i­dents. They have come to Bal­ti­more, as a spokesman for the In­ter­na­tional Res­cue Com­mit­tee told a tele­vi­sion re­porter, be­cause “they are des­per­ate to seek safety.” Did the author­i­ties check the city’s crime and mur­der sta­tis­tics be­fore send­ing them to Bal­ti­more? The author­i­ties didn’t say.

Events this year in Charm City have put it among the most dan­ger­ous of all Amer­i­can cities and find­ing a job in Bal­ti­more is ex­ceed­ingly dif­fi­cult. Mi­nor­ity un­em­ploy­ment is bump­ing 20 per­cent, and among young blacks it is higher than that. Black and white alike have been flee­ing the city for years, the public schools are in dis­or­der and Bal­ti­more is more hos­pitable to drug deal­ers, thugs and gangs than to its po­lice and av­er­age folk. The new ar­rivals from wartorn, dys­func­tional and balka­nized places like Syria will feel right at home.

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