There have been several opportunities in the past few days to ponder the ways in which we are tossed around on the waves of chance. Do we live by order based on reason and fair play and let our better nature shine through our system of justice? Or do we live by our impulses to do good and pride ourselves on our flexible nature? That is the moral question behind the recent celebration of the change of heart in regard to Syrian refugees now pouring into Northern Europe. In a perfect world, we would not be faced with this choice. We would have better policies, savvier institutions for dealing with crises, more resources allocated to the needy. All things are never equal, however, and we are always forced to make choices. Mercy is being prioritized over justice at the moment. But that leads to the question, how long can we keep it up?
|Angela I - the chancellor caught|
in a politically awkward moment
|I'm with you, young lady. I think Garemny is|
a pretty cool place!
|Angela II - the chancellor in the eyes of a|
A note on terminology: The BBC uses the term migrant to refer to all people on the move who have yet to complete the legal process of claiming asylum. This group includes people fleeing war-torn countries such as Syria, who are likely to be granted refugee status, as well as people who are seeking jobs and better lives, who governments are likely to rule are economic migrants.We can take great pleasure – I certainly did – in seeing one act of generosity after another flash across our TV and computer screens – like the Austrian kid who joined a convoy of Germans and Austrians to drive across into Hegyeshalom, on the Hungarian side of the border, pick up families of refugees and drive them across the line to Nickelsdorf, in Austria, and an hour more into Vienna. Are you people smuggling? asks the reporter. “No,” the kid says, “I’m just being helpful.” And we can ask ourselves if this is a real change of heart among the peoples of Western Europe. Is it that people have gotten kinder? Or is it that the media are driving this phenomenon and editors have their fingers in the wind and are guessing we're overdue for some human interest stories? Are the media really driving the story? Or are they merely riding the story, and it’s the people who have had their fill with the smooth-running but soulless system of German (and Hungarian, and Swedish and you-name-it) justice and want something more?
|Eritrean refugees in front of the U.S. Embassy|
in Tel Aviv
I love Garemny - http://mashable.com/2015/09/05/refugees-arrive-germany-austria/ - an AP wire photo by Jens Meyer
Angela I: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/angela-merkel-makes-palestinian-girl-facing-deportation-from-germany-cry-on-television-10393719.html
Angela II: http://www.stuff.co.nz/world/europe/71832406/refugee-crisis-germans-clap-and-sing-to-welcome-10000-arrivals