We hardly had time to start debating the effects of the extraordinary actions in response to the increased number of refugees from Syria and the IS, when IS gives us further reason to bring the question of migration and refuge to the table. Regardless of the terrible tragedy to the innocent involved, this is the time to extend a thanks to the Islamic State, if they are in fact (as they claim), responsible for this appalling act.
Migrants from Africa and the Middle East have been arriving to the European Union in ever increasing numbers for the past several years, often at great personal risk to themselves. The situation is now affecting not only the governmental agencies specially equipped to handle these matters, but the society as a whole. The question of how to deal with the situation has caused increasing discussion between representatives of the EU member countries. Together with other causes of disagreement (the financial situation comes to mind) the tone of the debate has sometimes reached an alarming tone. Nothing is so devastating for any relationship as financial trouble and disagreements on the division of labor, and on occasion sometimes there has been a feeling that the EU is soon ready for marriage counseling. Under the pressure of every day activities – of how to provide for refugees, attempting to share finances equally and regulating detailed laws in a fair fashion – in this daily toil we sometimes forget to raise our heads, and see what it is we are working for.
What we have forgotten to ask ourselves is the reason why we came to be the target for all those people on the move, hoping for a better life. Can it be so, that if so many people strife so hard to enter this Union, even risking their own life in the process, that there is something in this it worth striving for? The terrorist attacks on Paris by IS makes us ask the same question. Why were we targeted?
The answer to both can only be one.
So thank You, IS, for making us raise our heads, and see what You offer on the other side. Thank You for making us remember why we constructed this Union of Europe in the first place. Thank You for making us remember why we made the choice of going down the road of collaboration instead of competition, consensus instead of confrontation, words instead of arms, peace instead of war. Thank You for reminding us that our way of life is worth our support, and that it is in need of our constant protection, so much more in the face of the alternatives.
Let us hope that the promise we gave to each others when entering this union was no less than the commitment of a marriage. In bad times, as in good times, till death do us part – even with marriage counseling if necessary.