A week ago the photo of little Aylan Kurdi, washed up on the shore of the resort town of Bodrum, Turkey, made the front page in newspapers around the world.

Every picture tells a story

His father Abdullah had moved his wife and sons from Syria to Turkey some time ago. Versions vary from one to three years. Abdullah had a job. He and his family had a home. They were safe in a NATO member country.

However, he wanted dental implants from earlier injuries in Syria. (Also see the Sky News report.) For that, he said he needed to migrate to Canada. Perhaps, however, Hungary offers some of the best dental procedures in Europe.

He enlisted the help of his sister in Vancouver. By law, she could wire him only €1000 at a time, so she sent him monthly instalments. (Inside Halton has more.)

He had accumulated enough to take him and his family by boat from Turkey. Abdullah paid €4,000 for the fateful non-journey.

It should be noted that the boat was unfit for more than a few people. Furthermore, Abdullah’s wife Rehan did not know how to swim. She went anyway so that the family remained together. Aylan and his brother Galip were not wearing life jackets or children’s inflatable rings (see The Telegraph‘s 8:52 entry).

In the end, the boat lift ended in tragedy.

Abdullah Kurdi, the man who sought dental implants, left his home, his safety and his job to take his family — without adequate life-saving equipment — in an inappropriate vessel and lost the world that he knew.

He returned to Kobane in Syria to bury his wife and sons. He said he would stay there to be with them.

The facts are that he was already in a safe haven — Turkey — and had his basic needs taken care of: a home, family and job. Now he has only himself in the place from which he once fled.

It is hardly ‘Europe’s fault’ that he chose to do what he did.

If that had happened in the West

A number of readers have commented on news sites that had such an event happened in the West, the man would have been arrested for endangering his children’s lives.

Why do so many middle class people hold others to a different standard? Would we do this? Would we advocate that our families do it? Is it right to endanger our children’s lives? Is it right to cross borders ignoring international law? Is it right to destroy public property in a temporary host country to gain illegal access to another country?

A search for refugee organisations which help with paperwork as well as aid will produce pages of results. The means exist. Perhaps these migrants are too impatient.

Regardless of the answers, since last week’s front pages, Western empathy from the well-meaning middle and upper classes has gone into overdrive.

I went to bed on Thursday night thinking, ‘What next? Are they going to ask ordinary people to house migrants?’

The next day: welcome them to your home

On Friday, September 4, I tuned into French talk radio — RMC’s Les Grandes Gueules (The Big Mouths).

The discussion focussed on migration. The narrative and dialogue had advanced considerably over the previous 24 hours.

And the first question was, ‘Should French families welcome migrants into their own home?’ The presenters interviewed a spokesman for CALM — Comme à la maison (Just like home) — who said that the organisation had received ‘hundreds’ of enquiries over the past few days.

Not surprisingly, the lefty presenters and panellists said that French families should be taking migrants in to their houses. Notionally, it would only be for ‘a few days’ or ‘a few weeks’. Really?

The discussion continued on Monday. A further step change occurred over the weekend in this direction. Everyone who can should take in migrants!

Caution advised

There are many reasons why shelter and interaction should be left to the experts.

The major reason is that we do not know what psychological trauma these people have experienced. How is an average middle-class householder going to manage nightmares, violent outbursts and more?

Secondly, we do not know who these people are. Some have criminal records and are accustomed to theft or violent crime. Most will have had dysfunctional upheaval in their lives. How does one handle that? One would need a psychotherapist or a policeman to manage them, not an average citizen rolling out a welcome mat. In fact, a trained, experienced counsellor who works with migrants advised RMC’s Eric Brunet on September 7 that ordinary citizens should not volunteer to house the newcomers for these reasons. She said that many of them had psychoses that needed to be treated professionally.

Thirdly, we also do not know how many of these people are terrorists entering with honest political or religious refugees. The Telegraph reported that Nigel Farage, UKIP leader, said (emphases mine):

When Isil say they will use the migrant tide to flood Europe with 500,000 of their own jihadists, I think we better listen.

“Five hundred thousand may not be realistic but what if it’s 5,000, what if it’s 500? And already one of the Isil terrorist suspects who committed the first atrocity against holidaymakers in Tunisia has been seen getting off a boat onto Italian soil.

Finally, who is going to pay private individuals to feed, clothe and house refugees? What about additional household or liability insurance? The questions are endless. The answers few.

We’re thinking too emotionally, with our hearts instead of our heads.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

European action at the weekend

The photo of Aylan galvanised Western European leaders who will never have to personally worry about the consequences of their actions.

While Austria has now finished giving aid to 12,000 migrants in an emergency situation, Germany took in tens of thousands at the weekend and the early part of this week. Reuters reported on the situation in Bavaria, to the south:

The president of the Upper Bavarian government, Christoph Hillenbrand, said he expected 13,000 migrants to reach the city on Sunday, up from a previous estimate of 11,000, following 6,800 arrivals on Saturday. Hillenbrand, adding that 11,000 could arrive on Monday, said Munich was running out of capacity.

Authorities there were using a disused car showroom and a railway logistics centre as makeshift camps, and were adding a further 1,000 beds to 2,300 already set up at the city’s international trade fair ground. About 4,000 people were sent to other German states.

The move has caused ructions between Angela Merkel and other members of her government. They reason that as more migrants are legally allowed in, it sends a positive signal to others; the influx will continue in the coming weeks and months, giving traffickers more business.

Odd that five years ago Merkel said that multiculturalism ‘utterly failed’ because ‘too little’ was expected of immigrants.

France now plans to take 24,000 migrants.

In the UK, David Cameron backtracked on his earlier refusal to admit more migrants. However, on Friday, after seeing Aylan’s photograph, he pledged that Britain will take in ‘thousands more’ Syrians. This appears to be 4,000 individuals annually over the next five years.

As of 2014, there were 117,161 refugees in the UK. That is the equivalent of a city.

Of course, the question of how they will be accommodated is another question. Recent documentaries on Channel 4 and ITV explained with interviews of recent arrivals from Calais who have been receiving taxpayer-funded accommodation and weekly living allowance in Glasgow and Liverpool, among others.

Even so, Bob Geldof is clamouring, like the French, for individuals to take people into their own homes. However:

David Simmonds, of the Local Government Association (LGA), dismissed the musician turned aid campaigner’s plan as not being practicable.

Mr Simmonds said that what was really needed was for the Government to provide councils with more resources to house those fleeing the conflict.

Mr Simmonds, chairman of the LGA’s Asylum, Migration and Refugee Task Group, said of Mr Geldof’s offer: “Unfortunately I think it is a bit pie in the sky.

If Bob Geldof is willing to make that offer I’m sure his local council, which will already have a lot of people on its housing waiting list, will be very happy to bring them around this afternoon.”

Well said, Mr Simmonds!

Our council housing lists have been getting longer and longer every year for well over a decade. Yet, Bob Geldof has never said anything about that. Perhaps the ordinary Briton is not good or worthy enough of his interest.

Similarly in other European countries, few care about their own homeless or young families waiting for a house and living either on the street or in a compromising situation.

Now, all of a sudden, we have a wave of migrants and a load of virtue signalling big mouths saying, ‘Welcome them into your home’.

Charity begins at home. Let us urge our politicians to take care of our own and the few true asylum seekers first in terms of housing and shelter through the normal means. That is why we pay tax. In the meantime, those persons who wish to do so may make charitable contributions to other causes.

The discreet charm of the bourgeoisie

Yes, it was the title of an award-winning film in the 1970s.

However, there is little to be desired in their do-gooder sentiments and hands-off approaches. Such direct involvement is, by and large, for little people.

The bourgeoisie are the lesson-givers, the moral teachers. Of course, they would participate if only they could (irony alert).

As for a solution to the present summer-long crisis, a Telegraph reader put it very well:

The British response is the sensible one, but in the tide of blubbering emoting, reason seems to have gone out of the window. Take refugees from the UN camps: it robs the traffickers of their income, prevents people drowning and minimizes wasted resources in terms of doing everything twice. And the people will have been screened, identified and given medical check ups/treatment. This is exactly the sort of thing we pay the UN sh[ed]loads of money to do.

Airstrikes may help the situation in Syria, but I doubt it. They will certainly add to the stream of people leaving and the collateral damage to the civilian population. Anyone who thinks bombing won’t sometimes kill/wound the “wrong” people is barmy – not to mention we’ll then have to pay compensation to their relatives. We should let Russia sort this one out – Syria is their ally.

More on this intractable situation tomorrow and, no doubt, again after that.

Advertisements