Sunday 23 October 2016

Razor wire is not the answer on migrants

Published 29/08/2015 | 02:30

Angela Merkel
Angela Merkel

The Americans have always looked askance at European leadership. 'When catastrophe strikes, who do you call?' was the jibe on Capitol Hill. These days, there is only one person willing to break awkward silences on difficult issues.

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel was called upon to speak the word unto Vladimir Putin during the Ukraine crisis and it was also she who knocked heads together over Greece. Therefore it is no surprise that hers was the voice that implored that a united and immediate response be mounted in the face of the tragedy on Europe's borders.

How much darker do the stories have to get before Europe's conscience is pricked? Yesterday, dozens of bodies were pulled from the sea, the previous day we learned how 71 people perished in the back of a refrigeration van. A European strategy on migration is now imperative.

Ms Merkel cannot be the only leader troubled by the plight of these desperate people. With our history, one would like to think that someone in Government can summon up the resolve and will to speak out on behalf of these voiceless multitudes. Europe used not be a cold place for refugees.

We have to rise above a 'keep them at bay' mentality. We owe these people something more than razor wire, guard dogs and water cannons. Since the dark ages, Europe has aspired to carry a humanitarian lantern; few could be guided by its faltering beam during the current crisis.

Irish Independent

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