Friday, September 04, 2015

Be careful about the surges of Syrian refugees into the EU

Everyone knows David Cameron is a nice bloke.

In fact he is rather a softie - hugging hoodies, fussing huskies, hanging out with shoeless new age political gurus exploring a softer, kinder Conservatism (and to be fair, a version of Conservatism that has kept us in power since 2010 and is likely to do so for the foreseeable future).

However, it is not good practice to allow emotional surges in social and broadcast media to change national policy:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-34148913

There will be electoral repercussions as a result of this change of policy.

And in real terms it will do nothing to solve the crisis - far better to have stuck to the policy of everyone being helped fairly in the regional refugee centres (and if the budget for this has to be increased then so be it, in an emergency the United Kingdom has a total foreign aid budget of £11 billion much of which can be allocated to helping ALL Syrian refugees). 

But returning to the lucky few who are going to be given entry to our country, can we have a cast-iron assurance (assuming cast-iron guarantees are worth anything) that no members of the Syrian Ba'ath Party will be allowed access to the United Kingdom.

Let us remind ourselves that Syria pre-civil war was a totalitarian state in which political terror was routinely used to enforce complete control of every area of life.  To get anywhere in that society you had to be connected to the Ba'ath Party.  It can be accurately compared to Nazi Germany  http://www.scotsman.com/news/world/ruling-party-learned-from-nazis-1-601588

And as with the collapse of Nazi Germany, the collapse of Ba'athist Syria has led to panic among those implicated in the crimes of the Ba'ath Party.

Estimates vary, but in the mid-2000s membership of the party and its subsidiaries was estimated to be 18% of the Syrian population.

That is a lot of people.

What has happened to these Ba'athists? 

Some are still in Syria, enjoying the protection of the Syrian regime within the decreasing enclave that can still be described as Ba'athist Syria.  Some have been captured by rebel forces and their fate is unknown (but perhaps can be guessed at).  Some have fled the country, first to refugee camps in neighbouring countries but ultimately and with increasing desperation and urgency plan to get to the West (since remaining in the camps means eventual return to a democratic Syria with all that that implies in terms of trial and punishment and, let's not be naive, revenge by those who suffered under Ba'athist rule).

Therefore I think we should be careful about the surges of Syrian refugees into the EU.  These are, it seems, people with reserves of money which indicates they are Ba'athists (since you did not make money in Ba'athist Syria unless you were connected to the Ba'athist Party).  They are also people desperate to get out of the refugee camps and out of Turkey, even though the UN camps and Turkey are safe havens - this indicates that they are afraid of being recognised and apprehended for crimes committed under the Ba'athist regime (terrible crimes let us not forget, comparable with the very worst of totalitarian regimes).

One of the more puzzling aspects of the refugee surges across the seas towards the EU has been the willingness of parents to risk the lives of their children in rickety boats at the hands of criminal people smugglers.  How can loving parents do this, when going to the UN refugee camps will ensure protection and basic welfare for their families?  We are told the parents are "desperate" but the origin of this desperation is not questioned.

At the end of the Second World War many German parents killed themselves and their children rather than allow them to fall into the hands of the advancing Russians.  In Berlin in April 1945 Frau Magda Goebbels killed her six children and then herself rather than allow them to fall into the hands of the liberating Russians.  Perhaps she thought that death was preferable since the crimes of the regime were so dreadful that her family would be killed anyway in the reprisals that would follow the fall of the regime  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gc23cWro0aY

All children are innocent, but not all adults are.  

Let us have careful screening of all Syrian adults claiming to be refugees.

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