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Let Them In

Shared Article from the Guardian

"Unacceptable": migrants face "desperate situation" at Poland-Be…

Children and families among those being warned to ‘go back to Minsk’ as police hostility and humanitarian crisis worsens

Lorenzo Tondo @ theguardian.com


Needless to say, Alexander Lukashenko is a despot and a contemptible thug, and he, and the rest of the Belarussian government beneath him, both richly deserves the criticism they get from European Union officials.

Be that as it may, there is no question who the villain is in this ghastly diplomatic game. And the villain is not in Minsk, however villainous they may be in other respects. There is nothing wrong with encouraging Iraqis or Syrians or Afghans to pass through and travel towards Poland. There is something wrong with using brutal, coordinated force to stop them crossing. Of course Iraqis and Syrians and Afghans ought to be able to cross freely and peacefully into Poland, and indeed into anywhere else in Europe that they care to freely travel. They have a human right to move freely without being hassled, without being threatened, without being rounded up and held captive or expelled by the Polish government’s border guards, the Polish government’s police, or any other paramilitary or military force patrolling the unconscionable razor-wired walls of Fortress Europe. Every migrant assaulted or beaten, every migrant suffering from hunger or freezing cold, every migrant left at risk of exposure and disease, is entirely the fault of the European authorities trying to seal the borders. There is an easy, and obvious solution to this horrible border crisis: the only crisis is the border. All you need to do to solve it is to stand down, let people come in and leave them alone.

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  1. Rad Geek

    Kenan Malik, Lukashenko is a handy villain to mask the cruelty of Fortress Europe:

    However odious Lukashenko’s actions, the humanitarian disaster on the border is not the result simply of one nation’s actions. Polish forces, too, have trapped the migrants. Warsaw has imposed a state of emergency, denying migrants food, water or medical aid and refusing journalists access. New laws allow police to ignore asylum requests. Officially, eight people have died in sub-zero temperatures; the true figure is likely to be much higher.

    In her state of the union speech in September, the EU president, Ursula von der Leyen, condemned the regime in Minsk for having instrumentalised human beings, a claim echoed last week by the US and European delegates to the UN.

    It’s true that Lukashenko is using migrants as pawns in a cynical diplomatic manoeuvre. But instrumentalising human beings is exactly what EU migration policy has been practising, too, for the past three decades. Fortress Europe has been created by turning people into instruments of policy, viewing migrants not as living, breathing human beings, but as flotsam and jetsam to be swept away from Europe’s beaches and borders.

    To maintain Fortress Europe, the EU has funded a huge kidnap and detention industry right across Africa from the Atlantic to the Red Sea, from the Mediterranean to beyond the Sahara. […] The EU has long instrumentalised people by using aid as a weapon to enforce its migration policies. Countries that agree to detain anyone thought to be aiming for Europe receive money. Those that refuse to accept deportees lose funding. […] Meanwhile, in Europe, undocumented migrants are treated as vicious criminals, even mass murderers. In Greece last week, the trial began of two survivors of a boat that capsized in the Aegean. The two were among 24 people fleeing Afghanistan. One, N, lost his six-year-old son in the disaster. The other helped steer the boat in a desperate attempt to save it. N is charged with “endangering the life of his child” and faces 10 years in prison. Hasan could be jailed for 230 years for the transportation of 24 people into Greek territory. Earlier this year, another migrant received a 142-year sentence in similar circumstances.

    These are not trials to exact justice. They are designed purely to send a message — this is what will happen if you come to Europe. As much as Lukashenko, the EU exploits people as instruments to pursue a cruel policy. […]

    — Kenan Malik, Lukashenko is a handy villain to mask the cruelty of Fortress Europe
    The Guardian, 14 November 2021.

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