Skip to main content

There is something radically wrong here.....

It is all very well for an American newspaper - in this case The New York Times - to editorialise about how the Europeans ought to address the deluge of refugees flooding into the EU countries (especially when America's shouldering the "burden" is so minuscule) but what the editorial does put forward can't really be argued with.

"It’s not a mystery why Abdul Rahman Haroun wanted to flee Sudan. The mystery is how this 40-year-old man from a rural village managed to reach Europe, get all the way to Calais in the north of France, then over the security fences and past police officers guarding the mouth of the Channel Tunnel and steer clear of 100-mile-an-hour trains to finally reach Britain.

The problem is that Mr. Haroun arrived in the custody of police officers who caught him before he emerged from the tunnel. So for three months he has been in Elmley Prison in southeast England awaiting trial and wondering what he did wrong. In that time, he has become a symbol of all the refugees who go to such extraordinary lengths to reach a safe haven and of the obstacles they face from governments loath to receive them.

The formal charge against Mr. Haroun is based on an obscure law against “obstructing a railway carriage or engine.” There is no argument that running through the tunnel should not be allowed or that French and British authorities should do what they can to stop the hundreds of people gathered at the tunnel entrance at Calais from trying to reach Britain that way. About 150 people try to do that every night, and 16 have been killed in or around Calais since June.

But no refugees should have to take such chances. The people who are part of the largest migration in Europe since World War II should be treated with the compassion, respect for human rights and due process that the European Union stands for. Or should stand for.

However daunting the number of refugees arriving in Europe is, it should not be beyond the means of a wealthy union of a half billion people, many of whom have themselves known the horrors of war, instability, flight and hunger. Yet the 28 members of the European Union have been unable to agree on anything more than a minor distribution of the arrivals, and there has been an unseemly rush among some countries to build walls and point fingers.

Britain has been especially wary; Prime Minister David Cameron even referred to a “swarm” of refugees in Calais. One result is that about 6,000 desperate people are waiting in squalid camps, seeking ways to get through the tunnel.

Advocacy groups argue that the prosecution of Mr. Haroun is a politically motivated attempt to deter the others from trying to reach Britain. Indeed, it is hard to imagine that any of the refugees who have managed to flee from Sudan — or Syria, or Afghanistan, or Somalia, Iraq, Eritrea or North Africa — did so without violating some law. The 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention, to which Britain is a signatory, recognizes that and protects refugees from prosecution for illegal entry, which is why Britain is using an arcane law to prosecute Mr. Haroun and others who have made it through the tunnel.

Mr. Haroun may have become the face of the larger humanitarian crisis, but imprisoning him will not stop the flow of refugees. Europe must look for a humane and equitable solution for thousands of Mr. Harouns."


Popular posts from this blog

Donald T: First seduced..... then betrayed!

All those supporters of Trump - who, heaven's only knows, got him headed for the White House - are in a for more than a rude awakening and shock.   Whatever Trump "promised" is just not going to Paul Krugman so clearly spells out in his latest op-ed piece "Seduced and Betrayed by Donald Trump" in The New York Times.

"Donald Trump won the Electoral College (though not the popular vote) on the strength of overwhelming support from working-class whites, who feel left behind by a changing economy and society. And they’re about to get their reward — the same reward that, throughout Mr. Trump’s career, has come to everyone who trusted his good intentions. Think Trump University.

Yes, the white working class is about to be betrayed.

The evidence of that coming betrayal is obvious in the choice of an array of pro-corporate, anti-labor figures for key positions. In particular, the most important story of the week — seriously, people, stop focusing on Trum…

Snooping..... at its worst

The Brits have just brought in legislation which allows for unprecedented "snooping" in a Western democracy - says Edward Snowden.   Let truthdig explain....

"On Tuesday, the United Kingdom instated the Investigatory Powers Act 2016, a piece of legislation described by whistleblower Edward Snowden as “the most extreme surveillance in the history of western democracy.”

The law, informally known as the “Snooper’s Charter,” spent over a year in Parliament before it was passed. The Guardian reported:

"The new surveillance law requires web and phone companies to store everyone’s web browsing histories for 12 months and give the police, security services and official agencies unprecedented access to the data.

It also provides the security services and police with new powers to hack into computers and phones and to collect communications data in bulk. The law requires judges to sign off police requests to view journalists’ call and web records, but the measure has been descri…

A "Muslim Register"

Outrageous is the word which immediately comes to mind - the idea of a  Muslim Register which Trump has floated.     And how and by or through whom would this Registry comes into being?    Let The Intercept explain.....

"Every American corporation, from the largest conglomerate to the smallest firm, should ask itself right now: Will we do business with the Trump administration to further its most extreme, draconian goals? Or will we resist?

This question is perhaps most important for the country’s tech companies, which are particularly valuable partners for a budding authoritarian. The Intercept contacted nine of the most prominent such firms, from Facebook to Booz Allen Hamilton, to ask if they would sell their services to help create a national Muslim registry, an idea recently resurfaced by Donald Trump’s transition team. Only Twitter said no.

Shortly after the election, IBM CEO Ginni Rometty wrote a personal letter to President-elect Trump in which she offered her congratulation…