MESSAGE OF ANTI-FOREIGNER SENTIMENT IN THE WEST TO ERITREAN IMMIGRANTS: HOME IS THE ONLY PLACE WHERE YOU BELONG
MESSAGE OF ANTI-FOREIGNER SENTIMENT IN THE WEST TO ERITREAN IMMIGRANTS: HOME IS THE ONLY PLACE WHERE YOU BELONG By: Abdu Habib email@example.com The massacre committed on Muslim prayers in the peaceful city of Christchurch in New Zealand on
MESSAGE OF ANTI-FOREIGNER SENTIMENT IN THE WEST TO ERITREAN IMMIGRANTS: HOME IS THE ONLY PLACE WHERE YOU BELONG
By: Abdu Habib
The massacre committed on Muslim prayers in the peaceful city of Christchurch in New Zealand on March 15, 2019 has once again called our attention on the serious threat posed by the right-wing extremists in the West and Israel. It concerns us and fills us with fear, as Eritrean immigrants who had fled the brutal regime at home and cannot go back as long as the ruling gang is in power. What makes the attack scarier is its being a part and parcel of a worldwide movement, as reflected by the suspect’s 87-page hate-filled manifesto, he called “The Great Replacement”. We need to dig little into the manifesto so that we could easily see the extent of the danger applied to all immigrants, regardless of race, region, or religion.
The suspect of the massacre, the Australian gunman, Brenton Tarrant, has borrowed the title of his manifesto from the French: “le grand remplacement”, a right-wing conspiracy theory stating that: “White Catholic French population, and white Christian European population at large, is being systematically replaced with non-European people, specifically Arab/Berber Middle Eastern, North African and sub-Saharan populations, through mass immigration and demographic growth.” The origin of this French conspiracy theory could be traced back to the 1973 novel, Le Camp des Saints by Jean Raspail. The novel associates the collapse of the Western culture and civilization with the Third World immigration, in exactly the same way this manifesto does.
Similarly, the manifesto shares content with the recent “The philosophical sources of Marine Le Pen”, 12 October 2017, which claims that, “…the global elite has staged a plot to replace the indigenous European population with immigrants from other continents.” Marine Le Pen is the President of the French right-wing extremist party, National Rally (until June 2018 known as the National Front), whose election campaign of 2017 was partially financed (we say it with sadness) by the United Arab Emirates for reasons that will be clear when we discuss right-wing extremism below. This will lead us to the question: What central features do we pick from the manifesto of the gunman to show the seriousness of the situation to Eritrean immigrants? Among the many issues he raises, here we will consider the following ten, punctuating them by some remarks where necessary:
- He puts it clearly why he had decided to provoke direct confrontation between the white and immigrant populations, using the word “birthrates” three times, finally to sum up his concern, saying: “White people are failing to produce, failing to create families, failing to have children but the population is increasing.” Though one could have an issue with the way he wants to resolve the problem, honesty demands that we ask: What is wrong with this sentiment?
- He takes immigration as an assault on the European people warning, “…if not combated, will ultimately result in the complete racial and cultural replacement of the European people.” Isn’t this feasible given the fast-growing number of immigrants flowing to the West? If we fear the fast-uprooting of our youth from the country by the design of Adolf Isias would have damaging demographic effects that would hardly be possible to reverse even in a century: In what way could it be unfair of Europeans to have these legitimate fears as expressed in this paragraph?
- With regard to who he considers non-white, he says: “Those who are not ethnically and culturally European.”If this is his definition and that of the whole right-wing extremists: Could we, as immigrants, see ourselves outside this category?
- As to who he represents, he says: “Millions of European and other ethno-nationalist peoples that wish to live in peace amongst their own people, living in their own lands, practicing their own traditions and deciding the future of their own kind.”Do we doubt his honesty here, given the widespread anti-foreigner sentiment everywhere around the globe?
- As to whether children of immigrants are innocent, he says: “Children of invaders do not stay children, they become adults and reproduce, creating more invaders to replace your people. They grow up and vote against your peoples [people’s] own wishes, for the interests of their own people and identity. They grow up and take the potential homes of your own people for themselves, they occupy positions of power, remove wealth and destroy social trust.”If we take this feeling into consideration: Do we think our immigrant children would be safe on the long-run? An immigrant friend living in the West shared his honest fears that there could come a day our wives would find it unsafe to walk their kids to school.
- He did not deny that what he had committed was a terrorist attack but he defends it saying, “But I believe it is a partisan action against an occupying force.”If we are not driven by emotions, we should see that his intention is good, defending his people, but the method is wrong.
- He describes democracy as, “…mob rule and the mob itself is ruled by our enemies.” Couldn’t we see that the votes of these people could have an important role to play one day during elections in a democracy where power rotates? Isn’t it possible that politicians would court their votes?
- He does not believe in dialogue and conversation but in force, which he idealizes saying, “Force is power. History is the history of power. Violence is power and violence is the reality of history. Wake up.” This is a scary interpretation of history, but the question remains: Could the undesired be ruled out as a possibility always?
- Regarding those to be blamed, he says: “The people who are to blame most are ourselves, european [European] men. Strong men do not get ethnically replaced, strong men do not allow their culture to degrade, strong men do not allow their people to die. Weak men have created this situation and strong men are needed to fix it.”Our interest, as immigrants, aside: Could an objective person who puts himself in his shoes have an issue with this argument?
- He concludes that, “The invaders must be removed from European soil, regardless from where they came or when they came. Roma, African, Indian, Turkish, Semitic or other. If they are not of our people, but live in our lands, they must be removed.”
For anybody to see for himself/herself how scary the West is becoming and to reach the conclusion that nobody will be safe there on the long-run, the link of the manifesto is: https://www.europeanfreedom.com/2019/03/16/the-great-replacement-the-manifesto-of-brenton-tarrant-the-new-zealand-mosque-shooter/. At the same time, it is a fair inference that he represented a trend widespread in the West, and that he was not “a lone wolf” or acted alone, as he claims, considering the two years he said he had spent on preparation and travel.
With the detailed background above, we need to see the political forces that harbour the anti-foreign sentiment in the West, poisoning the relations between world communities and becoming the cause for miseries and deaths of millions of people. These are what the world knows as the “right-wing extremists”, a political term widely used these days, but many pass without a pause to do little research.
It is reasonable to assume that not everybody understands what right-wing extremism is about and its recent resurgence in the West. To avoid confusion about the term, it is important to indicate that some refer to the position of a group or person occupying within right-wing politics as: the far-right, hard-right, radical-right, fascist-right, and ultra–right. These terms are often used to imply that someone or a group is an extremist. However, before we show what right-wing extremism is about, in what way it is different from other ideologies, how it looks to immigrants, whether it is on the rise or decline, and what international atmosphere is favouring it, among many issues, we need to see the origin of the term “right” as opposed to “left” in modern politics.
The origin of the terms “right” and “left” in politics first originated during the French Revolution of 1789. The reason for the emergence of the terms was the sitting arrangement at the parliament, the French National Assembly, where the aristocrats sat to the right of the chair of the parliamentary president and the commoners to the left. It comprised the aristocracy, or the upper-class. These were politicians who supported the monarchy and stood in favour of the ideologies of hierarchies (inequality), authority (illiberality), tradition and order (status quo), which in other words meant conservatism. On the other hand, the left or the commoners wanted democracy, equality and liberty. These were the revolutionaries who represented liberalism.
It was in the 20th century that the English-speaking countries applied the terms “right” and “left” to their politics. Although in our modern world these terms are not always used consistently in practice, their core meaning has never changed substantially. Accordingly, we have the right representing conservatism, while the left representing liberalism. But each of the terms has the extremist and the centre or moderate: the centre-right, the centre-left, the extreme-right and the extreme-left. For the sake of clarity and for the reason that the time we will be using these terms in Eritrea may not not be far, we raise the question: What do the terms centre-right, centre-left, extreme-right, and extreme-left mean?
Simply put, when we say centre-left or moderate-left, we are referring to an individual or group whose political views lean to the left-wing on the left-right political spectrum, but closer to the centre than other left-wing politics. By the same token, when we say centre-right or moderate-right, we are referring to an individual or group whose political views lean to the right of the left-right political spectrum, but closer to the centre than other right-wing politics. If we could explain the centre-left and the centre-right this way, we do not need to spend time on the extreme-left and the extreme-right because it is clear we are referring to those who are far-left and far-right. One more thing here to note is that this division within the political spectrum is very important because it has a bearing on the stand each one takes towards many issues, including immigration. If I am excused for the details, I cannot leave this issue hanging because it is time to educate ourselves about how the complicated labels of centre-right and centre-left work. I would explain these complicated notions taking the Christian Democratic Party, which is spread throughout Europe (the German Christian Democratic Party could be taken as a model), Americas, Asia and Australia, and may be in others.
The Christian Democratic Party is a right-wing party or a conservative party. It advocates for commitment to social market principles (a third way between socialist economic system and laissez-faire policies) and justified state intervention. Its positions on cultural, social and moral issues put it at the centre-right, but its positions with respect to economic and labour issues, civil rights, foreign policy and environment put it at the centre-left. This is one example about the inconsistent use of these terms in the modern political spectrum.
It is important to raise here: Which parties are considered to be right-wing? Which of their extreme forms are dangerous to immigrants? The right-wing parties include the conservatives, Christian democrats, classical liberals, and nationalists. The term far-right or the extreme right-wing could be applied, historically, to movements including fascism, Nazism, and racial supremacy. In our contemporary Europe and North America, right-wing extremism could be applied to white supremacists, anti-government extremists, such as militia groups, Neo-Nazi activists, the so-called sovereign citizens, and many violent groups and movements that have different names in Europe and North America (including Canada). These are of particular concern for immigrants because they attack racial and religious targets. The repeated attacks on synagogues, Jewish cemeteries, black churches, and mosques, as well as the Charlottesville White Supremacist Demonstration of August 16, 2017 in the US, are typical right-wing extremist acts of terror. Nonetheless, though it cannot be denied that there are also violent left-wing groups and individuals, who pose a threat to immigrants, right-wing extremists seem to be more dangerous because they are more armed, are larger in number, and have developed the ability to build improvised explosive devices.
Observers confirm that right-wing extremism in the United States and Europe are growing in a scary speed and manner. In the case of the United States, some sources indicate that terrorist attacks by right-wing perpetrators have increased over last decade, painting the situation darker by citing that it quadrupled between 2016 and 2017, with the recent picture becoming scarier. Of particular concern are white-supremacists and anti-government extremists. The fundamental question here is: What factors are contributing to the growth of right-wing extremism in Europe and North America? Here we can mention the following among the many:
- Right-wing extremists are using the Internet and social media (facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and other Internet applications) to give propaganda statements, coordinate training, organize events, raise funds, recruit members and communicate with others. These tools are the same the Islamic terrorists are using today.
- They increasingly use traveling to meet and exchange views with the like-minded individuals. This provides them with an opportunity to improve their tactics, develop better counter-intelligence techniques, harden extremist views, and broaden their global networks. Just imagine: Why did the Australian gunman travel for two years?
- When it comes to the US, many sources suggest that the American right-wing extremists were infuriated by the election of Barack Obama, as president, a matter which does not appear to be far from the truth. At the same time, Donald Trump, whose anti-immigrant policies are clear even for the blind to see, is seen by many to be at least partially responsible for creating an atmosphere of hatred and racism against minorities in the United States, the leader of the Democratic world.
If the factors explained above have contributed to the growth of right-wing extremism: What are the criticisms of the non-state right-wing extremist groups, parties, and individuals have against the state in the West?
The right-wing extremist parties, movements, and individuals criticize the democratic state in the West for its immigration policy. These extremist groups and individuals do not encourage migration. Instead of trying to understand why immigrants take the risk to enter Europe aboard disturbingly over-packed vessels, with no safety tools available, they put pressure to ban immigration all together. They attack their governments for:
- Making it easier for the immigrants to enter the country.
- Giving the immigrants living accommodations, financial assistance, and refugee status.
- Pathway to citizenship.
- Suspension or delay of deportations or prosecutions of unjustifiable refugee cases.
- Allowing immigrants in the national labour force.
- Allowing some of them, including the Jews, to have positions of power and influence.
Here it should be made clear that the danger on immigrants is not coming only from non-ruling right-wing extremist parties, militia groups and terrorist individuals, but also from right-wing politicians who are reaching positions of power and whose influence is becoming clear. The European politicians, as is exactly the case with Donald Trump in the US, are deliberately stoking a sense of crisis and panic, framing migration as existential threat to Europe. The most extreme European leaders are using the issue of immigration to push a vision of the nation based on ethnic privilege. The saddest of all is that this has its parallel in the US, where President Donald Trump, the leader of the democratic world, is using the tools established by his predecessors, specially Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Although Europe used to focus on new arrivals, the coming to power of right-wing leaders, who share the same extremist views with the non-state right-wing extremists, whose concerns about their governments have been listed above, is affecting those already in Europe and struggling to build new lives. To give a clear picture of what is going on, we raise the question: What were the most extreme anti-immigrant measures taken by the right-wing extremist governments? The following measures are only examples to be mentioned:
- The refusal of Italy’s right-wing Interior Minister, Matteo Salvini, giving permission for NGO rescuing boats to dock at Italian ports and the deals made by the coalition government, immediately before him, with Libyan militia groups to crack down on NGO rescues.
- Hungary took the following measures in its anti-immigrant initiative:
- Built a border fence as an attitude against immigrants, in the same way President Donald Trump is struggling to do at the time he was expected to build bridges instead.
- Made it a crime for any citizen to offer help to any undocumented immigrant.
- Sent a bill to the European Union about its strict stance on immigration.
- Cracked down on civic organizations, the media, and academic institutions.
- Organized an anti-immigration summit on March 21, 2019 in which the US State Department sent two high-level officials, and unlike its allies, the US was scheduled to speak, aside from Poland and Hungary, constituting the spearhead of the anti-immigrant stance. Could we see the narrow and destructive view of patriotism of the current US Administration as a bad example for other countries?
- Even the most generous countries, such as Germany and Sweden, have modified their plans, cutting assistance to refugees, curtailing their freedom of movement, reducing their access to social services and labour market, and cooperating with the countries that are the source of immigrants, to stop the flow by giving them funds, and turning a blind eye to the human rights violations of some brutal dictators like Atse Isias and Dictator Omar Al-Bashier of the Sudan. This cooperation is in effect giving the dictators a license to do what they want without any restraint. Worse of all, we hear that they have assigned Atse Isias, the wolf, as the head of the henhouse. In the case of Israel, it is making arrangements with some corrupt African countries to receive the immigrants, playing the role of a third country.
- Italy’s pressure, supported by the notorious anti-immigrant demagogue, Hungary’s Vikto Orban, to have the European Union to adopt quota.
Though we see a row in the European Union concerning immigration, it does not appear that the liberals, France and Germany, will be able to dominate, given the rapid expansion of anti-foreigner sentiment of the right-wing extremism and the ascendency of hardliners in many places, in addition to the reckless and undignified US support. Furthermore, it is expected that the anti-immigration forces will gain a fair number of seats in the upcoming elections of the European Parliament. In few words, with the European countries daily realizing their limits, both economic and cultural, they will be turning their backs more on refugees. If we think what is happening now in European countries is bad, it will definitely triple. This will not only affect new comers but those already in Europe too. In this connection, one would ask: How would that affect the refugees?
When the conditions of the refugees deteriorate, negative political and social atmosphere will prevail. That will lead to the separation of the refugees from their host societies, consequently leading to the radicalization of some. The result will be the increase of hostilities against the immigrant communities, driving more people towards xenophobic populist parties, as their saviors. As a matter of fact, the scale of the disaster is growing daily, and there is no much time left to escape the crisis. If these are the realities on the ground: What is the honourable way out for Eritrean immigrants?
It is common sense to say that the West has to devote more attention and resources to stop further rise of the right-wing extremism. They can definitely bring the activities of the right-wing extremists to a manageable level and prevent attacks. Nonetheless, as Mark Twain had said, “Common sense is not so common.”, a host of questions impose themselves here: Do we expect an absolute political will in the current European situation where the half-hearted politicians swing like a pendulum? Doesn’t their wish to be re-elected disqualify them to undermine the anti-immigrant sentiment? Even if we assume that there is political will from the part of the European politicians and the wish for re-election is weaker than the humanitarian sentiment: Could the efforts of the Western governments remove the danger of anti-foreigner sentiment or the social view, with its white nationalism as its ideology ringing everywhere? This is the reason that does not make Eritrean immigrants withstand the “enemy onslaught” of globalized ideology of hate for very long and sleep well in the West.
Arabs have an interesting proverb which could be paraphrased as: “Nothing could scratch your back for you except your nail.” Of course, Eritrean immigrants have home, but it is not yet theirs. Hence: Isn’t it high time to put our house in order, build it into a greener pasture, and qualify it to be our comfortable home, as the Westerners built theirs from a scratch, instead of hanging up where we are labeled the “undesired” or waiting until we are removed by force?
The idea above is in total harmony and consistency with today’s call of YIAKL, which is conveying the voice of our people or the voice from home, crying loud and clear for the second liberation, and urging their sons and daughters in and outside the country to play their urgent role to save the country before it is too late. To put it in a different context, Eritrean immigrants have to turn their face towards home, tie their upward social mobility with that of their own society, and play their role in making their country the warm and the comfortable home for all. However, to achieve all that, the first step is to speed up the demise of the most hated ruling gang on earth, and end the nightmare of 27 solid years. ==============