The other day I was googling, for reasons not relevant here, the phrase "Fear eats the soul." Among other results, I found an anonymously-authored article (from New Internationalist Magazine) which examined fears about refugees, fears which seem to plague many in the West:
Fear one: Numbers. There are too many refugees trying to come into our countries. It’s a crisis. We are being invaded.
Fear two: Resources. Refugees fill our hospitals, classrooms, take our jobs, use our social welfare systems. What will be left for us?
Fear three: Crime. We don’t know who these people are. Many have entered without documents. They might be criminals – or, worse, terrorists.
Fear four: Disbelief. Many claiming asylum may not be real refugees. How do we know we are not being duped?
Fear five: Culture. They are different from us. They don’t share our values or customs or language or religion. They will swamp our own culture.
These fears can be heard all over the rich world these days, on the streets, in bars, across kitchen tables or while watching the news. They are fed by mass media warnings of a ‘tidal wave of bogus asylum seekers’ or of ‘illegal aliens who may be terrorists’. The phrases are picked up and echoed by politicians.
The unknown author of the article goes on to explore and to debunk those fears; you can follow the link below to read the article for yourself and decide if the debunking was successful.
The one thing you should note, however, is that the article was published in October 2002: almost fifteen years ago, and even before America's criminal invasion of Iraq destabilized the Middle East and thus set the stage for the current refugee crisis. In other words, the plight of refugees has long been exploited for political gain by politicians too ignorant to understand the issue, too cynical to care, or both.