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POLAND HUNGARY & THE REFUGEES;
SYRIA THE MALIGNED;
World Democracy Audit UPDATED
EUROPE & ITS IMMIGRANTS
In this August '17 issue, we flag up the continuing massive exodus from
the equatorial south, seeking to live and work in Europe. Sara Bielecki
assesses their impact on the existing refugees and the
authoritarian-inclined nations of Central Europe.
Europe’s Unwelcome IMMIGRANTS : ‘The New Sea Peoples’
‘The Sea Peoples’ of pre-history, flourished in the eastern Mediterranean.
They came from nobody knows where, sometime around the first known
‘European’ civilisation of Crete, and that of ancient Egypt. Eventually they
disappeared, presumably absorbed into the territories they inhabited, They
were followed by a discernible, if gradual, history of the Greek
civilisation, from which the earliest culture of a European entity
It has become relevant because there is a new mass unorchestrated movement,
crossing the Mediterranean from Africa to Europe, much of it now coming from
below the equator, south to north, of peoples foreign to Europe, seeking to
escape their present circumstances, risking their lives daily in the hope of
something safer and better. Such movements are as old as humanity.
Until quite recently, mass immigration from elsewhere was welcomed by both
North and South America, Australia and even after WWII, the UK, but no more.
Europe and the USA now see themselves as closed, to all but selective
immigration,’ the brightest and the best’ as the UK Prime Minister recently
put it; and grudgingly, genuine refugees.
The nature of work in the developed world has changed. Robotic mechanisation
continues to replace mass-employment manufacturing jobs, resulting problems
proliferate. Immigration is a growing problem, assuming greater significance
in the west, because the ‘demand’ continues to exist, exacerbated by the
fact that displaced-by-machines skilled workers, are understandably not
minded to do lower- paid, semi - or unskilled work, but this is now often
all that is available (which unskilled immigrants would fill up in the blink
of an eye) .
Peoples of the less successful populations in even the remotest areas of the
world, see on movies and TV the kind of lifestyles possible in the west for
even average families. Understandably, they want in. Often their own
circumstances include downwards pressure from ubiquitous undemocratic
rulers. The majority of the world’s population live like that (See “World
Democracy Audit” in this issue).
This general exodus ‘from the south’ was sparked by war refugees from 21st
Century wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. The 2011 collapse of the State
of Libya, brought about with intervention by the western powers, supporting
a miscellany of heavily armed rebels, prompted by numerous causes (in which
democracy was a very small voice), has created, if it is not yet fully
recognised as such, an international crisis.
Libya covers a vast North African space where once there was a coherent
state, with a long Mediterranean coastline now dominated by ruthless
people-traffickers, of local and more distant origin.
The Mediterranean dividing Africa from Europe has been many things. For some
years now it has been a deep-water conduit for the Trafficking trade
–trafficking that is of human beings, from the shores of a lawless Libyan
space without a single undisputed government, even from small Egyptian ports
close to the Libyan border, where an inadequate coastal force signally fails
to prevent large-scale human embarkation in the flimsiest of vessels. The
big money calculation these ‘people traffickers’ make, is that the old
perished fishing tubs, and flimsy rubber dinghies they employ, might indeed
sink, but will otherwise be intercepted by foreign patrol ships, the people
transferred and the empty small boats cast adrift, or sunk. That has been
the pattern, with those rescued would-be immigrants then taken to a south
European port, there to be interned. But their ultimate destination is
Earlier, most were fugitives driven from the middle-eastern wars. Many at
this time are ‘economic refugees’ with no international ‘rights’ from
sub-equatorial Africa, driven to find the opportunity to live a better life
away from constant violence, starvation and disease, but they are
essentially ‘illegals.’ Unwanted and unneeded, they have escaped from
varying degrees of misery, a few may be able to establish political
‘refugee’ status and be accepted by the country they first apply to. Whilst
victims of Syrian and Iraqi wars and a steady stream still from Afghanistan
had the chance of residential status, those that are now fleeing violence,
as is commonplace in parts of Africa, primarily simply want work and a
better life to which to bring their families. They are likely, as things
currently appear, to be interned indefinitely. The EU being the overarching
authority are on the grounds of humanity alone, rescuing thes e
unfortunates, but they are not wanted by member nations and even the most
generous of potential host nations –and there are some that have shown great
generosity - after several years of this, are no longer in a mood to
accommodate new arrivals and the political reaction that their presence
Consequently the Mediterranean European nations facing Libya, are building
ever-growing internment camps, primarily Italy- and Greece which also has
refugees crossing from Turkish shores.
The EU conducted negotiations between its component arms of government, to
parcel out to its member states, quantities of the interned fugitives, but
two EU member nations, Poland and Hungary (both of which have lurched in the
direction of authoritarian government), in particular are refusing to take
their allocation. This article examines the current state of this crisis,
but also makes it clear that the situation is exacerbated by the momentum of
the massive African exodus south to north which continues showing no signs
of abatement. This unquestionably is set to become a growing world crisis
unless there is an effort by the UN Security Council (for a start), to
tackle the causes of the problem in the territories from which these
migrants are leaving.
POLAND, HUNGARY and the REFUGEES
* * *
Syria the Maligned
Uneasily moving towards something less than total war, with Aleppo cleansed
of al Qaeda’s islamist occupation; and in IRAQ, with ISIS down and out in
Mosul, the region may once more be approaching a tipping point. What next?
In Iraq there is a US-approved government, which although inevitably
majority Shi’ite can be expected to continue to govern, notwithstanding
Saudi's barely concealed hostility. Baghdad is moving on to recapture and
consolidate the presently remaining ISIS-held villages, towns and districts.
Yet the outstanding territorial question now relates to the Kurds who did so
much of the fighting, together with decisive US and Allied air support, to
which we will turn in a future article.
But for Syria, after more than six hard years of total war, with the Asad
government and its allies fighting numerous joint enemies throughout that
time, (including Al Qaeda that killed 3000 New Yorkers at the Twin
Towers) the Syrian government, like all of its neighbours, like all of
the Arab League, remains authoritarian. Its government has undoubtedly
committed egregious personal abuse, torture and the like against perceived
enemies, as have all of its neighbours. Indeed the appropriate US
intelligence agencies at one time sub-contracted to Syria and neighboring
states, the interrogation of ‘renditioned’ suspects, of a kind that would be
illegal on the USA’s home turf. But the current US President is clearly
opposed to the government that remains, so despite their principal mutual
enemies Al Qaeda and ISIS being largely defeated, despite everything, for
Syria the future is not so predictable.
In this context Alessandro Bruno reviews the unbalanced western media
approach, reflecting that of its governments, which has confined its
reportage to broad brushstrokes. This has led to a grotesquely unbalanced
public reading of events (although western intelligence analysts could not
have missed what any careful reading of events made clear). It does lead to
a conclusion that even now with Obama having pulled out the large formations
of US ground troops, the US wishes to continue to remodel the middle-east.
This to be in a way that favours their two regional allies, Israel and Saudi
Arabia, even if that perhaps shifts the current warzones to include
attacking the Lebanon.
Syria the Maligned
* * *
World Democracy Update
Our Democracy Audit is as old as this century. Now including 154 nations
(with qualifying populations of one million plus), providing the data
from which we are able to publish our ‘Democracy tables’ is organised in
four divisions. It is supplied by ‘Freedom House’ (the world’s longest
established NGO), who in every country monitor Human Rights and Civil
Rights, that determine which of the four Divisions nations are placed.
Rankings within these divisions are subject to Freedom of Speech (measured
by Freedom of the Press) and to their ranking in Corruption for which data
is available to us from ‘Transparency International’, who monitor Corruption
Following Freedom House having recently published their very comprehensive
reports, we are able in turn to publish our resulting updated rankings.
It should be noted that changes since the last audit are:-
POLAND has dropped from DIV ONE to TWO, now at 33rd ranking.
TAIWAN enters the First Division at 25th;
LATVIA is promoted to Div Two, from Div Three, now at 31st.
PAPUA NEW GUINEA Up to Div Three at 48th from Div Four.
COLUMBIA Up to Div Three at 66th from Div Four.
ECUADOR Down from Div Three to 108th in Div Four
World Audit’s Four Divisions rank the qualifying nations (minimum population
of one million). Our methodology is detailed in the sidebar.
Denmark is listed top in the world based on the criteria of Civil
Rights, Human Rights, Press Freedom and absence of corruption. Since these
reports commenced in 2000, Scandinavian nations have been dominant. This
time Denmark is first. Finland, Sweden and Norway are all at second equal.
As of now the First Division lists 30 nations and Division Two
a further 7. These 37 nations are held to be fully democratic.
Division Three: The Third Division numbering 34 nations are all
candidates for promotion, the best are capable of achieving full democratic
status –equally, the worst are in danger of slipping into demotion.
Division Four : The 83 nations in Division Four, by far the largest bloc
in the Tables (out of 154), contain the ‘usual suspects’ - nations that
have shown little progress to improve their citizens lot, as well as the
virtual ‘no hopers.’
‘The Bottom Line’ for democracy is that of the world’s 154 nations that
have more than one million population ONLY 34 by these criteria are
considered as ‘fully democratic’.
Apart from the Four Divisions described, the sidebars feature several
‘easy comparison’ group/regional listings, in this issue: OECD, EU, NATO,
G8, ASEAN, APEC, LATIN AMERICA, AFRICAN UNION & ARAB LEAGUE
More Individual Country data
The 154 nations listed on the online league tables are all interactive,
enabling access to each with more and specific data about that nation.
(Data Management: Trina Middlecote)
Clive Lindley - Publisher/Editor