A family friend has a father in his 90s. He’s French and therefore was alive and in Europe in the 1930s. He is currently very worried about what he sees happening both in France and elsewhere, because he’s seen this before.
To be honest, you would have thought that once was enough – but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Having been down that road once I would have hoped that the destination was clear; that there were no deviations, no forks whereby another terminus might be reached.
This information seems to be of no interest to some. And make no mistake, there’s a lot of information. Remember this?
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
There are many different versions of it as the man who said it did so in many different places and it has been adapted many times since by those in need of it. My point here is that the history is not hard to find and it is the same process. The names of the groups are not important, what is important is the fact that they are split into different groups. Why, is important.
Because that is what is happening now.
Across the world it is the weakest who are attacked. The illegals with no paperwork, women, the sick, the gays and the poor. Just as Pastor Niemoller would begin his recitation with small groups and move on to bigger ones so the powers that be focus on the weakest to begin with. Those who have the fewest allies amongst the general public.
And all the while we are told that there is great danger from outside – that the Muslims are coming.
Because the system isn’t working, that’s why. The increasing population of the planet and the increased longevity of that population have placed a strain on the natural and man-made systems that keep us alive. Eco-systems and economies are failing and although there are answers to specific problems those in charge baulk at making the big changes that could set the balance right.
The activist with the placard, or sleeping outside the offices of the Wall Street bankers, will tell you that this is greed; Pure evil. And, sure, there might be an element of that – but it isn’t just that.
Any changes required in a corporation or a country would, in their own opinion, place them at a disadvantage. You can pay people a living wage, absolutely, but when your competitor is paying them a quarter of that – in a country where legislation is lax – then you are now in the business of losing money. Corporations can’t handle that. Countries can’t handle it either.
What we need is fundamental change and greater co-operation across groups and borders – but that requires imagination and selfless service – which we aren’t going to get. Why?
The leaders, when pressed, do what lots of us do – they blame someone else. The trouble is, that the someone else wasn’t the trouble in the first place, so blaming them won’t fix it.
Let’s have an example.
For years they have been blaming Europe for anything and everything. Only now, as we prepare to leave Europe does the harsh reality sink in. There won’t be more money – there will be less money. That isn’t working so… it’s the immigrants.
Blaming immigrants isn’t going to fix anything either, because they aren’t the problem and eventually this fact will become glaringly obvious. They add more to the economy than they take out.
Here in the UK we are looking at ten years of stagnant wages whilst prices rise. That is to say, for the next ten years we will be getting steadily poorer. You could throw out every immigrant in the country and all you will have done is made the price of food go up. You will have left Europe and all that will have happened is that you made businesses less competitive.
The tax receipts will plummet and more austerity will follow.
Guess what happens next?
They’ll have to find someone else to blame – or take harsher measures against those they already blame. And we move onto the next line in Pastor Niemoller’s speech. It might be the Muslims, the gays, the scientists and intellectuals, the incurably sick…
Which won’t fix it either. Because they aren’t the problem.
To paraphrase the bible somewhat – we are building a house on shifting sand but when we discover the house is crumbling and unstable we seem to be looking at every place except the right place. We are fixing the doors, changing the roof and painting the walls when what we should be doing is building a house somewhere else.
Blaming separate groups only leads to a constant search for the next group to blame. And down that road lie the camps.
Inequality breeds hatred, war and death – it is time to move from those shifting sands.
Many will think I am exaggerating, that this could not happen in our modern world.
These are the immigrants who were removed from the ‘jungle’ camp in Calais. The photo above is their shelters being burned.
My question is this.
Do you know where they are? You personally, do you know where these people are right now?
According to the newspapers at the time those who did not choose to leave by other means are in dozens of ‘centres’ across France. An English newspaper ran a graphic at the time…
Well, that must be all right then. There you go, they’re all across France and there’s not a cloud in the sky. Looks quite nice.
Do I think these refugees have been disappeared? No. I don’t. But the fact of the matter is that I don’t know where they are right now and the public at large generally forgot about them as soon as that camp was destroyed. If you think bad things can’t happen then you haven’t been paying attention.
This should have been a triumph for the UK. Here were people willing to suffer untold deprivation, travelling under incredible hardship and willing to cling on to the underside of a truck – risking death – just to get to the United Kingdom. There was a chance to take the lead, to move away from the old mentality of fear and to show how it should be done. To stand on the international stage with the moral authority to make bold moves.
Some will tell me that I am naive. That these geopolitical issues cannot be solved simply and that we should be listening to the will of the people. That this road is the only road available and our leaders are plotting the best course open to us. To which I say…
You honestly believe these people have your best interests at heart? That they have the slightest clue what to do to make this better?
Earlier I mentioned that greed and selfishness and evil was only part of the problem. These two fannies are a large percentage of that evil.
It will get worse.