When you read about desperate refugees crossing the English Channel in dinghies, do you ever ask yourself why these people left home in the first place? Few give it much thought. To most, migrants seem just a fact of life.
But the reality is they’re “the thin edge of the wedge of a vast exodus” created by military intervention by the US and its allies. How vast? An analysis by Brown University has put the number displaced since 9/11 by the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Somalia, northwest Pakistan and the Philippines at an astonishing 37 million. At least eight million of these have fled abroad; the rest have been internally displaced. That surpasses the disruption caused by the First World War (ten million), India-Pakistan Partition (14 million), and the Vietnam War (13 million); in recent history only the Second World War has seen a greater displacement.
For as long as the conflicts spawned by the war on terror continue, so too will “these waves of migration – and the anti-immigrant backlash that has done so much to poison European politics”. (Patrick Cockburn, The Independent)
My comment: 37 million people displaced! And we are still throwing huge sums of money at the military to keep the “peace” in half those countries, while the US infrastructure creaks and groans, people are coming out of school semi-literate, huge numbers are unemployed, families have insufficient food, and we have made a hash (so far) of handling the coronavirus (add your own grumbles). Question: are our leaders fit for purpose? Let’s hope the new government picks up on all this.