My friend Argit shared this on Facebook via Matilda Axelson. She compares her experience eloquently against that of thousands of refugees seeking asylum and support.
Today I moved to Belgium.
Not because I have to. Not because of fear. Not because of threat, or pain, or violence.
I just simply felt like it.
I felt like moving to Belgium today. So I did.
Because settling down in another country is easy for me. Because my passport says I am Swedish and that entitles me to go almost wherever I want, whenever I want. Because the current mobility System gives me the right to choose my country of residence, regardless of my actual need.
I am welcome here. I get acknowledged by the society and met with a polite nod of respect when I enter the bus. I can invoke my right to receive a long-term permit to stay, without having to spend seven days and nights “queuing” in a park outside the immigration office.
No one questions my decision. No one tells me to go back where I come from. No one refuses me a job, insults my religion or puts me on hold in a several years long administration process, denying me access to integration services meanwhile.
Why do you want me so badly?
Why, dear System, have you chosen me to be part of your society?
– Am I a trauma surgeon, a professor, or fluent in three languages?
But I know all about the latest tv-series, both on Netflix and on HBO.
– Do I have twenty years of experience as a craftsman, in child care or in manufacturing?
But I’ll mix a pretty good Dry Martini if you ask me to.
– Do I own a lot of money or have other assets, which I am likely to invest in your country?
But when I do have some money left, I like to go shopping.
– Do I possess any other certain skill or ability, which your society might profit from?
But I have a great talent for finding cute pictures of kittens online.
– Am I likely to spend the rest of my life in your country, and hence contribute to the growth of your economy or balance up the current population decline?
But I am likely to spend some years of my happy youth here, enjoying your bars and nightclubs, and then move on to the next adventure.
– Am I moving here because my home country is in ruins? Am I on the run from war, starvation and conflict? Have I decided to put my whole family in a tiny rubber boat and travel across dangerous waters, because I know that they will be safer crying in that boat than staying one more minute in the terror they are fleeing from?
I just simply felt like it.
“Expat”, they call me.
Not immigrant or EU-migrant.
Because I am an EU citizen and The System says, that makes me “one of us”.
You don’t want me because I am special. You don’t want me because of my skills, my contribution or my potential. You want me because I am European. A white, most-likely-to-be-Christian, privileged European.
There are currently hundreds of thousands of refugees knocking on the doors of Europe. That is hundreds of thousands of trauma surgeons, professors, linguists, craftsmen, teachers, labourers, investors or other skilled people, waiting to be let in to contribute to the EU society. To spend all assets they have in building a home, let their kids grow up safely and create a future that lasts.
But they are not welcome. Instead, The System of the European Union chose me.
Don’t you see that you are not sustainable?
Don’t you see that you’re discriminating the very people who are willing to invest all their money and all their remaining living days into building up your society?
Don’t you see that “accepting to receive the smallest amount of refugees possible” is not what makes you profit in the long run, but instead makes you miss out on one of the greatest development opportunities of our times?
The time has come for you to step down.
We have voted and you lost.
The past weeks we have donated our money, our time and our hearts to eliminate the very grounds of discrimination, upon which you are created.
Instead, we choose to say “Refugees Welcome”.
Germany has stepped forward. Sweden has stepped forward. They, and other countries with them, have decided to change their parts of the System.
Not simply because of humanitarian reasons. Not because they are trying to be heroes. Not because they want to sacrifice their own wealth in favour of others.
But because they have been clever enough to realize that welcoming these people is what will make the society bloom and thrive in the long run.
Please trust me on this one:
You want these strong and admirable people as part of your community.
You don’t want me.