We’ve read some utter shite over the past few days about the refugees and migrants currently transiting (or attempting to) Europe, but nothing matches this ‘news report’ (on a particularly vile little Romanian news blog) which popped into our Twitter feed yesterday.
For those of you who do not read Romanian, the jist of it is this:
A Romanian woman who lives in Vienna is fuming – fuming we tell you – about the fact that some of the refugees she saw at Vienna railway station were wearing nice clothes, had decent luggage and were using smart phones. She works ten hours a day (good for her, by the way) and yet these people receive handouts greater than her salary (they do not). ‘These people are not refugees, they are criminals who have come to turn Europe into an Islamic colony. The real people in need are those who have stayed in Syria.’ She backs up these claims by pointing at the Romanians who left for western Europe immediately after the 1989 revolution: ‘the first to leave were the petty criminals’, she says. ‘It’s the same with these people. In two years Romania will be like Germany and Austria.’
If only love, if only.
She is wrong on all counts, not least the fact that the first to leave Romania after 1989 were petty criminals. Actually, many who left were genuine refugees. We know of at least one regular reader who had to flee the mineriada in June 1990 and was accepted as a refugee in Britain.
Yet of all the woman’s ignorant claims, one sticks out as being particularly nasty and misguided: the idea that you can’t be a refugee if you have nice clothes. That is utter crap. If the town or city you live in has been blown to bits or you’ve got ISIS at the door threatening to barbeque you alive it doesn’t matter how rich or poor you are. You run. In fact, those who can afford to run as far as possible – to Europe – are more than likely to be those with a bit of cash. Does Violeta Luminita Ghibanescu (for she has a name) think that they should change into rags before leaving?
Oh, and another thing: she repeats the now oft-recited mantra of the bigoted that Muslim refugees should go to Muslim countries. Ignoring the fact that they already do (one in four of the people on Jordanian territory right now is a Syrian or Palestinian refugee: that’s about one million people), this is a bit like saying that Christian refugees should only go to Christian countries. It also ignores another fact: that Islam is – much like Christianity – a far from united religion. Many of those fleeing Syria are Alawites and Shia, unwelcome in (or unwilling to go to) Sunni countries. When the French Protestants fled Catholic persecution in the late-17th century, where did they go? It wasn’t to another Catholic country.
We would also point that we find the idea (mooted already by the Hungarian and Slovak governments, although not – to his credit – by Romanian prime minister Victor Ponta) that Europe should only take in Christians appalling. It reminds us of that story in the Bible about the Evil Samaritan who refuses to help the injured man lying on the other side of the road because he isn’t also a Samaritan.
Oh, hang on…
Indeed, it’s at times like this you realise how many so-called Christians who bang on and on about saving ‘Christian Europe’ are anything but Christian in their attitude to others. We refer them to their own Good Book: Luke 6:31 or 10:25-37 for starters.
And that coming from an Atheist.
Anyway, back to Victor Ponta.
We do not like the man, but credit where it’s due: this week he made perfect sense when talking about the refugee and migrant crisis. He said, rather eloquently in fact:
‘When millions of Romanians emigrated to western Europe we liked the idea of open borders. For some politicians to suggest that we should now close our borders and refuse to accept any Muslims because they are all terrorists is appalling. Romania is a country which is by and large a model of peaceful relations between various religious confessions. If there is a lunatic intent on carrying out a terrorist attack in our country we have security agencies to deal with the threat.’
Ponta was replying to Traian Basescu, who earlier this week said that Romania should refuse to accept any refugees, declaring that ‘it is not our problem’ and that ‘they will bring their families and never leave.’