Eastern European border closings reasonable and necessary

This is a guest column; ‘Mihael Willman’ is the pseudonym for a concerned Canadian – JG.

by Mihael Willman

It’s interesting listening to western journalists, politicians and ordinary citizens pontificating about how unwelcoming some countries in Eastern Europe are to the enormous flood of migrants arriving at their borders. Note that they always refer to them as migrants or refugees, never as illegal immigrants. Whether Syrians or Iraqis escaping war in their respective countries, or Bangladeshis, Pakistanis or other African migrants “seeking a better life,” the attitude seems to be that Europe should simply throw open its borders and accept anyone and everyone who wants to come there…

…After all, as some of these migrants have said, “it is their basic human right” to go to Europe and European countries are obliged to take them in. But there is a fundamental flaw in this reasoning.

First, while Europe may be some kind of Shangri-La in comparison to some of the countries they come from, it has its own problems regarding unemployment. While there is a social safety net to provide for those in need, it can only stretch so far. Just what do these migrants think Germany, Sweden, Britain or the Netherlands, the preferred countries of destination, are supposed to do with the hundreds of thousands who are presently trying to reach them? Give preference for jobs to migrants over their own unemployed? Or maybe simply provide welfare, food and housing so the migrants can live better than they would have at home? All paid for by the hard-working citizens of these countries, while the migrants sit back and do nothing. Either way, the populations of these countries, including legal immigrants, will bear the brunt of the burden.

While German Chancellor Angela Merkel stated that her country was prepared to accept 800,000 migrants and refugees this year alone, there is a limit as to how many the country can actually absorb. Some German cities are already reporting that they are stressed by the numbers of migrants that have arrived in their midst with available services stretched to the limit. Polls supposedly show that a majority of Germans support Merkel’s policy, but we all know how accurate polls are and they can easily be skewed depending upon how many people are asked and who is asked. If one were to poll Syrians who had arrived in Germany before this crisis, the majority would definitely support accepting even more of their countrymen.

Let’s return to the present situation playing out on the borders of Eastern Europe, where migrants are being stopped from continuing their journey northwards. Western reporters and observers seem to be shocked at this development, wondering how anyone could be opposed to opening their borders to tens of thousands of people, predominantly Muslim, who are only “seeking a better life,” fleeing war and/or poverty. Their lack of understanding is due to a fundamental flaw in Western education. Before passing judgement on these actions, it might help to take a little time for a history lesson. Most North American and West Europeans have never studied the history of this region. If they did, they would know that today’s actions and attitudes are rooted in centuries of history.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban rightly expressed concern about the potential Islamization of Europe. Much of Eastern Europe was subjected to centuries of Ottoman Turkish occupation, with liberation from Ottoman Muslim rule coming after great struggle. It was a period in history which left devastating and lasting results. After 200 years of occupation, Hungary was left with desolated countrysides, de-populated regions and a population that had barely risen during the period. The Greek and Serbian territories suffered similarly during the four hundred years they remained under Ottoman rule.

Throughout Eastern Europe, whether the areas were under attack or occupation, young boys were taken away and turned into Janissaries and sent to fight against their own people. During raids infants and the elderly were killed, while the women were carried off for the harems. The trials and tribulations suffered by these territories remains vivid in the national memory of these countries. And for many people, this new wave is viewed as a potential new occupation, another assault on one’s culture, religion and homeland.

Few are critical of American plans to build a wall along its border with Mexico, parts of which already exist, in order to stop the flow of illegal immigrants. Even fewer criticize Israel for building a wall to prevent Palestinians from the West Bank from crossing the border at will. In both cases these are neighbors who have lived side by side for centuries.

But everyone is critical of the East European nations who are trying to prevent what is becoming a virtual invasion from a totally different continent…