...You vindictive, small-minded bigot
As this was an opinion piece comments were open. So I did my bit and commented. As is always the case Stuff declined to publish my comment (oh let's be honest, they censor me) which is a bit rich from a news outlet which also posted a piece that day on the death of reasoned debate over another socially progressive topic. The issue was euthanasia, an issue which - I'm sure this will astonish you - their piece supported. Leaving aside the pros & cons of that particular subject, the impression given was the same as this article on refugees: clever right-thinking people see the need for society to move in a certain direction while only small minded & rigid people oppose it. "We can have a perfectly rational discussion about this as long as you accept everything I say and jettison all your own arguments. If not it proves you are a bigot." This seems to be the patronising attitude our confident betters have towards we poor unenlightened sheep these days.
I don't find that approach encourages dialogue. Anyway, here's the gist of my comment which they decided was not up to their standards:~
- Intending to reassure us, the piece mentioned that most terrorist attacks on the Continent were not done by new refugees but by people (the word "Muslim" is carefully avoided of course) who had grown up there. Though offered as a positive it is anything but. If Muslims who had grown up in England & spent their whole lives absorbing British culture and mores still went on to kill innocent people doesn't that actually argue against taking in more Muslim migrants?
- Moreover there is a clear history of Police, media and Government authorities in Britain and Europe minimising or even covering up refugee/migrant crime. How can we trust any "official" statistics we're given?
- The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has a city of permanent air conditioned tents that can house a million people [Correction: 3 million] for the annual Hajj. This surely is ideal for Syrian refugees? Same religion, language, culture and similar climate, food. It's also so close to Syria that returning refugees could even walk home if they had to once the war ends. But the KSA hasn't taken any of its fellow Sunnis in (although the Grand Mufti has demanded the demolition of all churches in the country). Kuwait doesn't want to either, neither does Qatar, the UAE or Bahrain. Why not? Don't Muslims care about the suffering of their fellow Muslims? The KSA say there is too great a risk of terrorists being among the refugees. Are they mean spirited, vindictive bigots or simply realists? Who knows the nature of the body of refugees better, the Gulf States or Mr Robinson?
- Nearly all fleeing refugees in the UN camps are Sunni Muslim. This is odd as the Christians who are 10% or more of the population are among the most persecuted yet barely figure in the statistics - less than 2% of refugees accepted by the USA & New Zealand are Christian. Why is that? Mainly it is because religious minorities like the Christians and the Yazidis - you do remember them facing extermination by ISIS on Mt Sinjar a couple of years ago don't you Mr Robinson? - are attacked in the UN refugee camps so they move out. If they don't stay in the camps the UN won't officially give them refugee status, so they can never escape persecution & poverty. Why are we de facto prioritising people who persecute Christians & other non-Muslims when NZ is mostly populated by non-Muslims? Do we really think they are going to undergo a miraculous metamorphosis once they land on our soil? Why don't we go outside the normal channels and bring in the real persecuted minorities? I call only conclude that it seems we don't want to see the religious aspects of the issue. Authoritative Middle Eastern Christian voices are warning that what is happening in the Middle East will one day happen in Europe. Are they vindictive bigots too?
- Hamed Abdel Samad, a secular German Muslim, says flat out that Islam is not compatible with democracy. Does Mr Robinson intend us to believe that he is also a vindictive & mean spirited bigot? Who knows more about Islam, Mr Robinson or Samad?
- This isn't about being vindictive and insular, it is about intelligently engaging with reality. Yes the refugees are human but so are our children. What future might they have if we bring in tens of thousands of Muslims who do not wish to assimilate, but rather quietly or violently change our society to resemble theirs?
What do you think? Just too riddled with xenophobia and vindictiveness eh? No wonder they wouldn't publish it.
All the while the tone of the article is one of an adult trying to teach a small child how to clean their ears. You know, some of us go further than simply recognising our responsibility to our fellow man. We also investigate who these people are and would like to discriminate who is in most need of our limited ability to help. That does not make us vindictive.
Here is the article, with my comments interspersed. Grit your teeth and read on.
I'd rather house a grateful refugee than a vindictive baby boomer, by Christopher Robinson.
There have been a spate of articles recently relating to the migration of refugees, provoked in part by the Green’s policy to raise the refugee quota to 5000. The reaction on Facebook? A plethora of ‘angry emojis’ and the perpetuation of falsehoods and fear-mongering.
One of the top comments on most articles is more or less, “Why don’t they stay in their countries and fight?”. It's usually posted by a worse-for-wear baby boomer who looks like Dennis from accounts. [Graeme: no, I don't immediately feel marginalised for holding a different view from Mr Robinson. Not in the slightest]
This comment grates on more than one level. Firstly, it assumes these victims (including women and children) have the capacity to organise some sort of effective militia against trained, heavily armed ISIS insurgents [Graeme: they are all Sunni, if they fought at all it would be against Assad not ISIS]. Secondly, by the looks of it, the biggest battle ‘Dennis’ has ever fought is one with his waistline. [Graeme: here we go again, insulting your straw man opponent is not a good form of argument. I did enjoy one comment posted which said in essence: you can criticise Dennis all you like, but he's the one that's going to have to pay for all this]
The second lowest-hanging fruit Dennis tends to grasp for is looking toward Europe’s recent issues with terrorism. He does so while flagrantly overlooking the fact the majority of the attacks were home-grown, and the mass migration of refugees was a disorganised mess of inflatable dinghies in the world’s saddest (literal) cross-country race. This does not represent the organised, thoughtful way refugees have been and will be vetted and settled in New Zealand through established programs. [Graeme: as I mentioned above, among the UN "vetted" refugees there WILL be those who oppose Western standards such as the equal treatment of women, homosexuals & those of other religions. And how exactly does one vet a person from a failed state who has no passport and no verifiable history? It is highly likely that there will be some increase in terrorism when it is a) postulated by experts that 15-17% of Syrian refugees are extremists; b) when ISIS admit to using the refugee crisis to get their own people into Europe (see also this NY Times piece and this one from the Guardian on these issues); and c) when Mr Robinson himself states that it is the children of the magnificently moderate, wonderfully adapted Muslim migrants into the UK that have caused all the terror attacks in Britain lately. BTW although I'm the last to talk regarding spelling & grammar, it's spelt "programmes"]
The third is the hottest topic this year - hold your avos - housing. It has to be said, many areas of New Zealand have a housing shortage, but we’re not exactly going to be settling 5000 refugees in Auckland CBD. There are regions in New Zealand such as Dunedin and Southland that are crying out for a stimulus to their populations. The reason Dennis is crying foul is because he’s personally looking for houses in a comfortable location, close to family and friends and his plateaued accounting career. This is not the case for refugees. Their preferences include an absence of grenades and a reduced chance of being decapitated. [Graeme: Sure, there are lots of cheap houses in Westport at the moment. There are also no jobs in that dying town so the migrants can't afford any of those cheap houses. How is this a solution? Our taxes will have to pay for their housing & everything else when migrants can only consume not contribute. Again this would not be anywhere near as big a problem if we knew we weren't investing in people whose religion teaches them to look down on us and replace our Jahiliyyah system with Allah's Sharia as soon as they are able.]
Lastly, employment is an issue that rubs people the wrong way. [Graeme: actually no it's not. Germany admits that 75% of migrants will be on welfare for years to come. So it's the NZ taxpayer who will pay for this] But look at it like this, if a refugee who has no New Zealand qualifications, no connections, and barely speaks English is a threat to your job security, it’s probably more of a reflection on your disposability to society and less the fault of the poor guy who has no home to go back to.
On my travels I’m always filled with pride to tell people I’m from New Zealand. When people ask me what I love so much, it boils down to three things:
1. We are (sometimes unnecessarily) the friendliest people in the world.
2. We are fearlessly progressive and always back the underdog.[Graeme: note the assumption that being progressive = backing the underdog. And those of us not included in your progressive group are then, what - oppressors of the underdog? Bit of a blind spot evident there sir]
3. American girls love the accent.
[Graeme: actually we're pretty normal Westerners. Hate to burst your bubble, but this list of what Mr Robinson loves so much about NZ could apply just as easily to the Scots or Canadians or the French]
But if I were to show them the comment sections in news outlets I’d hang my head in shame, not because Dennis disagrees with me, but because he’s so vindictive in doing so while promoting a "them and us" paradigm. Our country is not absent of issues, and when I’m lying in bed at night I can hear Dennis on loop proclaiming, “Let’s look after our own backyard first”. [Graeme: I still haven't had a coherent argument put to me why, if we want to help migrants, we are not first helping people close at hand, like those on the islands sinking in the nearby Pacific.]
In comparison, our backyard is fine. Yeah there’s a rusty swing-set in the corner, a funky smell under the deck, and the hydrangeas are a bit overgrown. But there’s no harm in letting the neighbours pitch their tent while they get on their feet.
In my recent time overseas I’ve had the privilege of meeting a few refugees first-hand, from countries ranging from Nigeria to Syria, and this is what I've learned: they’re hungry for an opportunity to give back to their new countries, they want to be seen as a human and not a burden, and if they are willing to become a marginalised minority in a foreign country, imagine what their home is like. [Graeme: I'm so glad you met an infinitesimally tiny selection of people from nearly 2 million new migrants that you found simply wonderful human beings. But we are not concerned about admitting these people. We are concerned about the gigantic statistical likelihood of admitting Muslims who bring with them beliefs and a culture which will set itself against the fundamentals of NZ society. We've already seen NZ mosques change markedly because new migrants have removed moderate leadership and voted in more Sharia observant leadership. Please explain to us why this won't continue to occur? If 80-90% of British & American Mosques are "radical" why won't that also happen here?]
I understand the concept of globalisation for a tribal species can be scary, but they’re humans, and regardless of the language they speak or the God they pray to, they’re humans. [Graeme: They're humans? Gee I've never thought of that. Why didn't you say so in the first place? Of course, at this point I don't feel at all like I'm being talked down to by someone totally out of touch with the concerns of ordinary people. Not at all. If I may Mr Robinson: the issue here isn't that we don't recognise them as human (you might like to lie down while the shock of that sinks in) or that they pray to a different god - Western countries have very little problem with Sikh, Buddhist or Hindu minorities - it's how that god might require them to live that represents the problem. Can they assimilate? Will they even associate with us?Do they value the same things we do? Or will they establish Sharia courts here as they have in the UK? Marginalisation of women, FGM and hatred of the host culture come from Sharia. That is the scary bit Mr Robinson]