It’s been months now that the media pressing about the story about the EU migrant crisis. It has been discussed probably too many times, and been seen from so many different angles. So, what is my position to this migrant stories?
Let me start slow.
Al-Jazeera said that they would stop using the word migrant to describe the Syrian people trying to seek help, and instead using the word: Refugee. I could not agree more with them, because there’s a fundamental difference between a refugee and an immigrant. However, a refugee status can only be given to those who are under a direct threat in their own country.
Our family once thought of that when May 1998 riot broke in Solo. As Chinese Indonesians were being targeted, tortured, raped, and or killed, we thought it was the best for us to flee the country to seek asylum. But we didn’t. Our relationships with our neighbours, and my father’s networks helped our family. Things got better for us too, although slowly and painful. But I know many of our friends and family fled for their lives — some even never came back.
So, I understand how it feels to choose between staying and risking your and your family’s lives, and take whatever you can, flee and start over in a land of strangers. I remember holding my passport when we were hiding in a hospital, while doctors and nurses are making human shield and barricaded the building, knowing that they weren’t the ones the mobs targeted. My mother told me that if things went south, I needed to go to Singapore and we would meet again there. She was as unsure as I was, of course, but we did not say anything.
Singapore was of course only an hour flight from Solo. That’s probably one of our closest neighbours, which would accept us being ethnically Chinese.
But then again, we didn’t go. These Syrians refugees did. And, I don’t blame them for fleeing their country. They could die if they have stayed. It’s just human nature to try to survive no matter how bad the situation could be.
Unfortunately, when it is as big as Middle Eastern conflict, it is not going to be that simple. After ISIS went on a rampage, millions of people were forced to flee for their lives and seek asylum. “Millions” is a big number, and some of these people are very particular about where they would want to go. Germany, Switzerland, England, France are probably the main destination… but why?
Many people saw this picky attitude as slightly rude, some grumpily said that they’re being ungrateful. Some of them were welcomed in Hungary (Hungarian government complying with the EU immigration rules that asylum seeker should be given refugee status at the first country they arrived in), but protesting and wreaking havoc because they wanted to go to Germany and Austria. Some of them could have seek asylum safely in France, but forced their way by breaking law to enter the UK. And some of them are not a real refugees — some were found to be illegal immigrants taking advantage of the chaotic border situation in the European land.
Like I said, I can understand how it feels to be helpless, because I was there too. But, I cannot blame this negative attitude toward the whole European migrant crisis thing. I cannot blame the government for taking an extra caution, considering there are resentment among their own citizen. Easy example: The angry far right Germans radicals decided to burn the refugees shelter, causing deaths.
Is that what you want?
So… If you ask me what is my position about the whole refugee thing…. this is my position:
EU has a rule. If the refugees want to be given the asylum they wanted, they should go by the rules. If they’re being picky, then the EU countries should be allowed to be picky too. If the refugees don’t want to go by the rules, then EU countries should be allowed to refuse them asylum. I think it’s the only way it could be fair for both of them.
But that’s me.