What do you call the disenfranchised citizen on home soil, the one who has lost his voice in governance? He is a citizen-in-exile. And what happens when immigration policies collapse under the weight of a deluge of undocumented refugees? There is an equation on simple scale. It reads something like this: (Citizens-in-exile) x (burgeoning refugee population) = y. Solving for y is the scary part. Y = rising global nationalism.
A rising global nationalism is the Frankenstein brought to life by mad social scientists. Having pieced together immigration and control policies based on peacetime deployment for vibrant economic corridors, politicians now find themselves devoured by a creature of their own making. The Schengen Borders Code is in shambles. The Dublin Regulation is not being enforced. The unfettered movement of refugees from Africa and the Middle East to Europe’s shores is galvanising a rise in global nationalism. Today, the nation of Hungary represents what is already the sentiment of native-born Europeans in microcosm. The government of Prime Minister (PM) Victor Orban is to the right and quickly speeding towards the extreme right. With a castrated EU immigration policy and tens of thousands of undocumented Muslim refugees fanning out across Europe, Mr Orban has this to say: “This continent will not be your home. It is our home.” Hungary is currently engaged in what might be viewed as the ‘unchristian’ thing to do. Hungarians are hastily erecting a razor-wire fence across their southern border. European civilisation has strong Christian roots. Hungarians perceive their traditions and heritage going up in flames. Homespun charity collides with a new reality: civil strife against a geopolitical system without an assimilation clause. Emotions are at a level of meteoric challenge.
A colleague sends me this thought: “Your label of citizens-in-exile is indeed an appropriate title. This corresponds to the rising sentiment amongst the Dutch population though I have not as yet come across the use of the term. Mostly, one complains of “feeling like a foreigner in one’s own street”. After more than half a century (since 1961) in Amsterdam, I do feel like being half a native, especially since I have learnt to appreciate and admire the Dutch culture and recognise how hard the generations here have worked for this.”
Step back. Reflect again on the equation. Catch a whiff of the social dynamic that is brewing in Europe. Unfortunately, the angst over securing borders and staunching the refugees’ mad scramble onto the continent is anchored to an erroneous thought. Human rights are not the domain of the international stage. Human rights are to be adjudicated first and foremost within the state on behalf of the citizen. The strongest metric belongs to the citizen. By example, the human rights that Europeans and Americans embrace reflect well on our benevolent form of governance. But, by the same token, we do not bear the ultimate responsibility for human rights’ abuses occurring within other nations.
We have erred in seeking to move human rights to a global stage. The UN and its coterie of senseless representatives continue to hawk an ideal that is not practiced in many of their own countries. They are hypocrites. Each nation stands responsible for maintaining the rights of its own citizenry. God and history will ultimately judge harshly those who have abused human rights. Conversely, democratic nations seeking to prioritise the welfare of their citizens should not be ostracised for administering policies that protect their generations. Healthy governance invests in the citizen and strengthens the citizen in his/her love for his/her country. Good governance creates an economic model that espouses generational blessing.
In a compassionate manner, we can reach outside our borders to assist the other. But compassion is not equal to habitation. If we truly believe that compassion is equal to habitation, ask yourself the following: are you willing to bring a refugee family under your roof and provide them with food, lodging, clothing, education and medical care whilst giving the same from your personal funds? Can you sustain this programme for years or possibly a decade? So, compassion is not synonymous with habitation. Nor is the chaotic flood of refugees into Europe a sign of compassion. Rather, it is a strong signal of collapsing immigration policies that are creating a rising global nationalism.
Dublin procedures are not being followed. The refugee must seek asylum in the nation where their foot first touches land. Visas for travel are not in hand. As stated in one article, “A train ticket does not overwrite EU rules.” Refugees are sleeping on sidewalks, in parks, and clogging public corridors of transit. Citizens are frightened. The refugees have created a sense of citizens under siege.
There is another paradigm regarding the crumbling immigration policy. It is that of plight versus practicality. Yes, the plight of any given refugee population across the march of history can be gut wrenching. But plight must never overwhelm the practicality of a nation with regards to its own national treasure: the citizen base. In seeking to make room for those fleeing a volatile societal rim we expose the Gordian knot. The very act of ‘making room’ on a large and sudden scale can cause western civilisation to implode. Politicians are creating the next volatile societal rim.
The implosion of Europe may be slow but a brutal future is in store if European leaders do not regain control of their borders. Europe is facing rising global nationalism. This nationalism is coming with a shout from citizens-in-exile engulfed in a disaster not of their own making. They are observing a flood of refugees who have no part in the sacrifices borne by their ancestors, refugees who are predominantly Muslim, a large mass that will most likely fail to assimilate into western civilisation and its coveted values. Mix it all up. Feel the emotional pulse of citizens with an intense sense of betrayal. Nationalism is on the rise. I lack the wisdom to pronounce a cure. However, I can identify the cause. In February, Islamic State (IS) threatened a flood of refugees to destabilise Europe. This is soft warfare.
The writer is a freelance journalist and author of the novel Arsenal. She can be reached at email@example.com