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Who, by some other name, might smell more sweet

[ by Charles Cameron — written while YouStink is, curiously yet coincidentally, the name of protests ongoing in Lebanon ]

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There is no “migrant” crisis in the Mediterranean. There is a very large number of refugees fleeing unimaginable misery and danger and a smaller number of people trying to escape the sort of poverty that drives some to desperation.


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Countries are free to deport migrants who arrive without legal papers, which they cannot do with refugees under the 1951 convention. So it is not surprising that many politicians in Europe prefer to refer to everyone fleeing to the continent as migrants.

7 Responses to “Who, by some other name, might smell more sweet”

  1. Dave Schuler Says:

    When they arrive in Italy from Libya they’re refugees and legally entitled to support and protection. When they leave Italy for Germany, they’re economic migrants and aren’t.

  2. Grurray Says:

    All they will call them will be… “deportees”

  3. Charles Cameron Says:

    So really, to generalize, Dave — what’s important is where your landfall (or first place of arrival) is?

  4. Dave Schuler Says:

    Legally, yes.

  5. Dave Schuler Says:

    On reflection it’s the opposite. What’s important is the country from which you are departing. Unless the claim is that they’re in fear for their lives in Italy.

  6. carl Says:

    Just out of curiosity, if the situation in the middle east is such that there is a flood of people washing into Europe, would the Europeans be justified in intervening militarily in order change the situation so as to stop the flood? I realize that will never happen because this isn’t the 19th century anymore but I am curious what you guys think from both a legal and ‘what we gotta do’ standpoint.

  7. larrydunbar Says:

    Does anyone dealing with a flood really have time to deal with the problem up-stream?
    Like Katrina, it is not like they didn’t know how weak the levy was, nor what it is going to take in the future to repair that which was holding the water back.
    Right now, war with Russia doesn’t seem to be a reasonable strategy, nor does aligning themselves with one side or another in the Arab civil war, like the Americans have done, seem a viable option.
    No, it is probably best for Europe to keep playing both sides in the Arab civil war, and push against Russia, in the only way they can, with America’s help.
    In the mean time they will just keep throwing sandbags to stem the tide.

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