On August the 28th, the world
opened its eyes to a truly heart-wrenching tragedy. This was an unprecedented
incident that became a milestone in the refugee crisis striking the Europe for
a while: a total of 71 Syrian refugees - 59 men, eight women and four children
- including a young one-year-old girl among them – were found dead in a truck
abandoned on an Austrian motorway.
71 people who had to leave behind their
homes, neighborhoods, jobs, relatives, dreams and hopes only to be crammed into
an air-tight truck used for frozen chicken. A misery that makes you feel a tug
on your heartstrings when one thinks of those mothers, grandfathers and
toddlers who genuinely deserve an honorable and safe life, as befits any other
person in this world. However the war-torn countries in the Middle East leave
these desperate people not a lot of choices other than opting for a perilous
journey in the hope of reaching Europe.
With this gruesome incident, the refugee
crisis in Europe took a new turn with the European leaders’ immediate attention
turning to it. At the Vienna Conference, German Chancellor Angela Merkel made a
personal remark saying that she was deeply shaken by the awful news. She stated,
“This reminds us that we in Europe need to tackle the problem quickly and find
solutions in the spirit of solidarity.”
However, the way in which some European
governments handled the surge in migrants thus far has presented an overall
offensive portrait. Some governments have refused to accept refugees while
others declined to agree to European Union proposals for a common plan to
overcome the crisis.
practices of some governments, on the other hand, were “inhumane” in the truest
sense of the word: The Hungarian police fired tear gas at refugees trying to overcome the barriers and
enter the EU-member state. On the Greek Island of Kos, on the other hand,
police sprayed fire extinguishers at migrants and hit them with batons. In a
stadium where up to 2,500 migrants were locked for 24 hours with no – or very
little – food or water, the riot police used sonic grenades to maintain order
among mothers with children and elderly people waiting for immigration papers. The
UN refugee agency called the way the Greek government responded the migrants
“totally shameful.” The International humanitarian-aid organization Doctors Without Borders [MédecinsSans
Frontičres] also confirmed
that the majority of migrants do not have access to basic hygiene facilities and
are subjected to abuse by police.
The practices of the governments were not
only criticized by the humanitarian-aid organizations. The French Foreign
Minister Laureant Fabius raised his voice against the policies of the eastern
European states, and particularly slammed Hungary for having a “scandalous”
migrant policy. He said Hungry was going against the values of the European
Union by the fence it's building along its border with Serbia to prevent
migrants from gaining access to the passport-free Schengen Zone.
The only thing these desperate people,
compelled to flee their war-stricken countries, expected was a welcome. What
they faced instead was abuse and ill-treatment by their host countries’ police
officers and border guards.
While addressing the refugee crisis, the
host countries must keep one important fact in mind:
This world is not a safe haven for any one.
No matter who he is or where he lives, every individual in this world is
vulnerable to any ordeal at any time. Be it natural or man-made, a disaster or
an unexpected accident may wreck havoc on a person’s life at any moment. When
faced with such an ordeal, a person who is in the position of extending a
helping hand can suddenly find himself in a state of need. That is why ‘the
spirit of solidarity’ that Chancellor Merkel spoke of is one key value that
will overcome the refugee problem that Europe has faced today.
Rather than any material or financial
power, it is love, kindness, cooperation and empathy that will drive people and
nations to offer help to the needy. Love sees no obstacles. Empathy does not
excuse any pretexts when helping the needy is the issue.
All the crises in the world can be
overcome, only if we have some love for other human beings in this world.
The writer has authored more than 300 books translated into 73
languages on politics, religion and science. He tweets @harun_yahya