Friday, 4 September 2015

There's a first and last time for everything.

I found myself in agreement with Richard Littlejohn. Weird feeling, but there you go.

This child's death was tragic but it was not our fault

The father told the Mail that the family were fleeing the war in Syria when the recklessly overloaded rubber dinghy capsized. Miraculously, he survived, although he couldn’t save his wife and two children.

But here’s what puzzles me. They’d been living in Turkey for the past year. So why didn’t he apply for asylum there? After all, surely culturally Syria has more in common with Turkey, another Muslim country, than with Tunbridge Wells or Trondheim.


I had to remind myself that I also agreed with a fair chunk of what Jeremy Corbyn said yesterday on the Sky debate to balance things out. I mean, at least Corbyn was saying something rather than just spewing out Labour-insider politico-gibberish like the other three.

27 comments:

mombers said...

I'm sure that of the bilingual refugees, very few speak Turkish but lots speak English. Also, what capacity does Turkey have to absorb refugees? Much less than a first world country I bet.
My tongue in cheek solution is that they can all go live with Tony Blair - in my opinion he's got a lot to answer for...

Rich Tee said...

And what's the first thing the father said?....I'm going back to Kobane.

Can't have been in all that much danger then, can he?

DBC Reed said...

@M
I agree. The US has a lot to answer for as well. Constantly meddling in the Middle East, then backing the mujahadeen in Afghanistan and watching successive waves of other Islamic extremists get completely out of control with the justification that they're not Communists like Najibullah bent on peace ,building infrastructure and land reform.

Mark Wadsworth said...

M, so if somebody can speak English, they are our responsibility?

RT, that was really taking the piss, wasn't it?

DBC, yes but so what? I never actively supported those wars and decline all responsibility for sorting out the aftermath, short of bunging the Turks a few million quid for refugee camps.

Steven_L said...

I thought they all wanted to go from Hungary to Germany anyway. What's that got to do with us?

As far as I know we do have a fair process for asylum claims in the UK (overseen by legions of do-gooder laywers) but not in Hungary or Germany, because that's the job of their authorities. Our officials have no jurisdiction to process their claims.

The other thing that bugs me is why is everyone so obsessed with displaced people all of a sudden? None of the people I know banging on about this on facebook, trying to shame me into signing petitions, ever say anything about the millions of displaced people in Africa.

mombers said...

MW, I'm saying that refugees want to come here rather than stay in Turkey because they can speak English but not Turkish. And the UK has a greater capacity to absorb refugees than an emerging economy like Turkey

DBC Reed said...

@MW
Tough: we all have to bear the responsibility for acts (in Blair's case crimes) perpetrated by our elected government(s).Perhaps if we had risen up and put a stop to Blair telling lies about Iraq and its "weapons of mass destruction", we might not now be faced with the consequences of a totally destabilised Middle East. The next-up public school sadist PM Cameron has the sickening hypocrisy to talk about the first task being to bring peace and stability to "that part of the world" but he reduced a fairly stable Libya to utter chaos by having Gadaffi done in: the year before Gadaffi had been talking in Italy about keeping the flow of migrants cooped up on his side of the Med in return for payment.
You cannot say when the bombs fall "But I never voted for the Fuhrer!"

Bayard said...

RT, He may have been trying to protect his family, but now they are dead he wants to go back and fight.

"The other thing that bugs me is why is everyone so obsessed with displaced people all of a sudden?"

It's a craze, like the ice-bucket challenge. Soon everyone will have forgotten about the poor bloody Syrians.

"And the UK has a greater capacity to absorb refugees than an emerging economy like Turkey"

And presumably Turkey has got rather more refugees at the moment than we have.

Mark Wadsworth said...

SL, exactly, agreed etc.

M, the UK has endless capacity to accept people who want to fit in to our kind of liberal, democratic etc society. What Turkey does is their decision and I'm not passing judgment on that.


DBC, I never voted for the Fuhrer. Fact.

B, what was that meme with the girls that Boko Harum kidnapped? That fizzled out.

The Stigler said...

This Blair/US stuff is nonsense. Syrians rose up against their government in 2011 following the Arab Spring. A number of army officers joined the protestors and you then had civil war.

You can pin the creation of ISIL on Blair, but the Syrian situation is internal.

DBC Reed said...

@S
I stand corrected by your expert knowledge of the middle East so carefully and extensively set forth in your two sentence edict above : Blair did not involve us, by lying, in an invasion of Iraq; US weirdo wonks did not start backing the mujahedeen to depose and murder Najibullah; the triumphant film "Charlie Wilson's War" was never made; public school psychopath de nos jours David Cameron did not destabilise Libya the main entrepot for African migrants by having Gaddafi killed; Gaddafi did not propose a startlingly racist and mercenary plan for holding migrants on his side of Med a year before his death; we have not been up to our necks in Middle Eastern meddling (no laissez faire laissez passer here!)since before the First World War; fuckwit amateur Gertrude Bell did not draw the boundaries of Iraq to include Kurds who had been promised their own country and impose a Sunni ruling class on a Shia population: we and the Americans did not depose Mossadeq for daring to nationalise a British oil company (now BP).
Chickens coming home to roost if you ask me, but then I respect the facts.
This blog-site is drifting back into the run-of-the mill misanthropic right-wing stupidity .
Has it ever crossed your mind that the Allawite ruler of Syria is being attacked by Saudi backed extremists, we, of course, always supporting the Wahabi maddened Saudis? This is more what Putin says but this is no place for a dialectical argument (or fact based argument).

DBC Reed said...

Correction: four sentence edict; their extreme brevity is confusing.

Steven_L said...

Or you could blame Ben Bernanke, as it's widely thought he is responsible for stoking all the commodities price inflation that doubled food prices and started the Arab uprisings.

It strikes me that whether the west intervene (Libya) or let events run more or less their course (Syria) the result can be chaos either way.

Most of the worst problems however do seem to involve the followers of the false prophet trying to impose their dark worldview on civilisation.

Lola said...

Isn't a lot of this stuff down to the arbitrary borders created by us and rhe French post ww1? Iraq is three tribes mashed together.

Mark Wadsworth said...

DBC, nobody is denying that Western governments, banks and large corporations have done naughty things in the Middle East.

But even if we had left them completely alone, they would still be terrible places riven by civil war, extremism and so on, and they would still hate the West with a passion.

SL, correct, blame him as well.

L, national identity is a highly artificial concept imposed from above, and it is disastrous if you have competing "tribes" in one jurisdiction - see for example Northern Ireland or Yugoslavia.

If you don't have this basic sense of cohesion then nothing will work, and seeing as all Arabs and Muslims tribes also hate each other with a passion, that is just all Northern Ireland to the power of a thousand.

The Stigler said...

DBC,

Again: show me the cause-effect of Blair doing something that caused the Syrian war rather than just an information dump of events in the Middle East.

Graeme said...

As far as I know, the numbers are:

Total refugees 12m
Refugees displaced within Syria 8m
Refugees in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan 3.75m
Refugees in Europe 0.25m

So Mark's theory seems to be borne out.

paulc156 said...

Lola. Fair comment regards earlier drawing up of borders to suit imperialist ambitions of us the French etc in the mid east was always a powder keg waiting to go off. [similar borders deliberately cutting across tribal lines served Africa even more poorly].

Syria being ruled by Allawite minority dependent on oppressive security apparatus got caught up in Arab spring brouhaha. Lebanon carved out of Syria because the French wanted a grateful Christian bastion in the M.E. didn't work out too well.
Jordan which has somehow managed to avoid much grief thus far is another oddity ruled by outsiders.ie; Palestine, governed by Hashemite rulers. Iraq borders drawn by GB earlier in the 20thC excluded the Kurds and imposed rule by minority Sunni tribes.
So yes when we went into Iraq post 9/11 on the back of that history we did it with our eyes firmly shut as to the possible consequences.[but then GW Bush did only manage a C in history] Ditto Libya, on what was a very shaky premise. To save the Islamists in Bengazhi who Gaddafi had threatened to massacre. Now 'we' want to kill them too!

The Stigler. "You can pin the creation of ISIL on Blair, but the Syrian situation is internal."
ISIL is the dominant force fighting Assad for power in Syria, so you seem to have provided your 'cause and effect' all on your own.

In view of DBC's comments, it's worth bearing in mind to the current Saudi, UAE
intervention in Yemen in order to oust Iranian backed forces was reported only this week as directly leading to the emergence of Islamic State forces there. And so on...

We perverted the natural way of things for over a hundred and fifty years so there is an element of chickens coming home to roost. Yet as noted above by others, it's difficult to see, even without western military interventions and dabbling just how any remotely peaceful process could ever lead to a more progressive and orderly denouement in the M.E. These convulsions may have plenty more mileage in them yet and may just have to run their course.

The Stigler said...

Mark,

"nobody is denying that Western governments, banks and large corporations have done naughty things in the Middle East.

But even if we had left them completely alone, they would still be terrible places riven by civil war, extremism and so on, and they would still hate the West with a passion."

Exactly. Add up all the coups, revolutions and wars in the area. Look at the human rights abuses. And this all existed before we came along.

I think there's a certain obsession in the west that assumes all the wrong involving brown people is because of white people, especially British and American white people, and if we hadn't come along, they'd all be living in peace like we do, which completely misunderstands the structure of the societies those people are living in.

The Stigler said...

paulc156,

"In view of DBC's comments, it's worth bearing in mind to the current Saudi, UAE
intervention in Yemen in order to oust Iranian backed forces was reported only this week as directly leading to the emergence of Islamic State forces there. And so on..."

And what's that got to do with us? I'm not denying we've been involved, and Iraq was a clusterfuck of an idea, but a lot of things are about these people fighting each other like they always have been.

paulc156 said...

The Stigler. "And what's that got to do with us?"
Saudi and UAE are and were our [US-UK etc] allies.
Beyond that our involvement isn't obviously a Blair phenomenon. We've been doing them over since the days of Empire. There was never really ever much of a let up.
All these countries have at some time or other been frustrated in their attempts to modernise and secularise. Iraq in the sixties, Iran in the early 20th C and 50's, Egypt in the late 19thC to name a few. And if the modus operandi is 'divide and rule' would you not expect them to fight amongst themselves, with our backing of course.

Bayard said...

"but a lot of things are about these people fighting each other like they always have been."

and your evidence for that conclusion is? To what extent have the peoples of the Middle East have been "always" fighting each other any more than the peoples of Europe? What "coups, revolutions and wars" were there before WWI, when the European Great Powers became involved?

DBC Reed said...

@paulc156.
"All these countries have at some time or another been frustrated in their attempts to modernise and secularise." Exactly.

The Stigler said...

Bayard,

Pre-WW1? I make no claims that they fought each other any more than Europe. Only that unlike Europe (and many other parts of the world) where we civilised and stopped fighting and overthrowing leaders, they haven't. They certainly have had barbaric human rights practises for a lot longer than we did (we haven't executed homosexuals for nearly 200 years, and I'm not sure we ever raped virgins just before they were executed).

test said...

" So why didn’t he apply for asylum [in Turkey]? "

Possibly because he's aware that the rules are different for asylum seekers from non-European countries. He'll get temporary protection but he won't be allowed to stay permanently and the UNHCR would eventually move him elsewhere.

DBC Reed said...

@TS
You are not taking into account that Islamic extremism in the Middle East is quite recent: post 1970's? Women were dressed in the Western style showing their faces etc and the politics was more like ours: efforts to modernise and secularise, like Turkey's Attaturk earlier, with either Socialism (Mossadeq who planned to tax land rents) or strong arm conservative paternalism, although Nasser also wanted to nationalise his country's principal asset. (The Brits and French invaded).
My guess is that the Middle Eastern countries could have evolved ,as quickly as some parts of Communist Europe and China from barely self sufficient agriculture dominated by an elite of brutal landowners who were also religious bigots to an industrialised community with the money to build infrastructure and provide goods and services to all, absent the interference of the UK and the US. The US began backing the Mujahadeen including Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan and the result was a return to Medievalism very quickly throughout,in a change to the zeitgeist.(Don't say the zeitgeist hasn't changed in the UK: Thicky Thatcher's "pushing back the frontiers of the State" actually that was pubescent political expert William Haigh, would have been anathema in the trente glorieuses 1945-1975.Perhaps Corbyn is part of another big swing in opinion: clearly all this privatisation and middle way bollocks hasn't worked.

Bayard said...

TS, the history of the Middle East post WWI is one of continuous meddling by France, Britain and the USA. I recommend "A Line in the Sand" by James Barr for a good account of this. It is, of course, an advantage to those countries with an "interest" in the Middle East, that the people there remain barbaric and ill-educated; when push comes to shove, you are better off fighting savage tribesmen than an educated, well organised army and the last thing you want is all the different peoples ganging up against you. Far better to make sure they keep fighting amoungst themselves.