Immense Invasion of Refugees. My Standpoint

What has to change?

The never-ending invasion of refugees is provoking challenges to Europe. It is estimated that 800 000 people, declared the German Homeminister, will take refuge in Germany this year. This is a challenge, admits Angela Merkel, which is more difficult to deal with than the Euro or Greek crisis. We all, observes Pope Francis, live in "a common house", which is near to collapse.

    What has caused that sudden invasion and migration of millions of people? What's wrong? What needs to change?

It is manifest that we in Germany and all Europeans are being challenged as national communities and as a continent. Politicians feel helpless not able to offer a solution of the turbulence. State Bureaucracies are  overburdened and the great number of volunteers are reaching limits in dealing properly with the incoming refugees. Particularly alarming is that there are frequently fire attacks on refugee homes. Pick-up fights are accumulating. Social peace in our country is at stake and we have neither answer or remedy to the plight of the greatly suffering refugees seeking shelter country.

    The causes of mass flight are very different: War, terror and persecution on the one side - poverty, corruption and unemployment on the other side. To many refugees we are bound to grant asylum: our Constitution and our Mitmenschlichkeit (fellow beings solidarity) require to commit ourselves to the refugees in their distastrous calamities. Armutsflüchtlinge (poverty refugees), mainly from the Balkans are not counted as asylum seekers, there is no law to assist them legally. But their sufferings and human needs are also enormous.

    One thing is certain: as long as in the Middle East - in Syria with more than 250 000 war victims, in Iraq, in Libya, violence, killings and war are continuing..., as long as in Africa people and nations are suffering under state terror, anarchy and oppression -  as long asin East-Europe people do not find work and food due to , corruption and state mismanagement..., so long there will be hundreds of thousands of people fleeing to Europe, especially to Germany to rescue their lives and to seek refuge.

    Ursachenbekämpfung (cause combat) are required - and it is truly required. But state and private development and economic aid for poor countries, although necessary, have usually impact only after many years - or not at all, when millions of dollars or euros are disappearing in the pockets of the ruling class. Peace initiatives are even more urgent as well as conflict mediation, if only the United Nations or other institutions would have the required authority and functioning structures. Probably - sad enough -  a lot of blood will flow, until from the tragic Middle East power struggle aiming at access to econoic ressources peaceful solutions will emerge. In the meantime, terrorists in gisguise of religion and fanatic extremists are continuing to commit satanic atrocities. It is worrying that at the beginning of the Afghanistan and Iraq war there were about a hundred terrorists, while today, hundreds of thousands of terrorists are threatening international peace by destroying uncountable lives. Greed and claim to powers of Western states mingled with the fatal arch-enmity between Shia and Sunni Muslims have nationally and internationally led to the tragedy from which countless people try to escape at any cost. Ursachenbekämpfung (cause combat) is called for, but it is easy to claim for it it by words....

    Needs for us in Germany are the updating of the German asylum law, the fast provision of an immigration law mainly for Europaeans and to pass an almost utopian agreement towards an European asylum law. The despair of the refugees, social peace in European countries and the realisation ot the European vision of human dignity and freedom, justice and peace are enormous challenges of the present.

    A lot has to change. But peacemaking and combating poverty require much, too much time. Statesmen and women, economic enterpreneurs and civic individuals with a lot of courage, common sense and creativity are required. The longings of people to leave in peace, justice and freedom are ineffaceable and unending.  But as long as weapons are not put buried, as long as economic exploitation and oppression are continuing and as long as people are threatened and arbitrarily killed or do not find food or work..., so long millions will flee and escape their killers and oppressors.

    Germany so far has accepted in Europe next to Sweden and Austria most of the refugees. The dreamland of many people  is Germany. We have not deserved such a high regard. Refugees hope - utopia or not - to receive some of the advantages and achievements of the German postwar society such as prosperity, social and legal security, freedom, human rights and social justice, functioning (with little corruption) economic and political system.

    The public discussion in Germany is in the meantime emotionally charged. People and parties are more and more polarized. Black-white labelling of people is frequent: everything or nothing, for or against refugees. Carefully discerning and properly arguing discussions  are rare. The human dignity of all is the subject  - and this one does not fall under the reservation "unless, of course, there are too many". Xenophobic actions are still 1 against 10 refugee solidarity activities. After the recent "politbarometer"  the majority of Germans believe to be able to  "handle the invasion of refugees". Sometimes we are reminded that 12 million refugees were included into Germany after the Second World War...

    What has to change nowadays? What can not go on as it was going on? We cannot satisfy ourselves instead of learning and re-thinking our attidue towards live and our living standards, our global responsibilities, our intercultural and interreligious relations so as to live together peacefully with anyone, with the own people and with people of different ethnicities, cultures and religions. It is about to live together in a changed context and envirmonment. We need all in all to deepen and reconfirm our ethical, cultural and spiritual values as base for our live-together. In relationg to the refugees it is urgent that volunteers and civic groups and non-government organisations are being heard by power centered politicians and overformalized bureaucracies. I did appeal to the regional government to reply to five years pending asylum applications of pending of Afghan and Iranian refugees; I have protested against the deportation of a seriously sick youngster from Kosovo. Whenever we fail to challenge inhumanely acting administrations we try again and again. If everything fails hope will prevail.

    What can you do? Each one can contribute to the public debate with fair and reflected arguments to shun black-white labels and friend-enemy patterns. Racist slogans and xenophobic emotions can be rejected with peaceful means. The Churches in our country should not get tired, to challenge themselves and their communities to be open to refugees by creative means and to grow into solidarity with them. In religious ceremonies and social activites refugees should be included giving them priority. With the invasion of refugees our faith, our culture, our humanity are at stake.

Klaus Beurle, Germany