ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Refugees in Europe

Europe wakes up to a crisis which has been festering for long; does it have any solutions?

A s Europe today grapples with its “largest refugee influx”— surely an exaggeration if ever there was one—it is instruc- tive perhaps to go back and remember the history which has been forgotten. Historically, from the time of the first human habitations, the Mediterranean world has been united by its common climate, culture and networks of trade and travel. From Egypt to Phoenicia, from Asia Minor to Athens, from Rome to Carthage, the lands which ringed its waters were brought together by the Mediterranean Sea, never divided by it. The dead body of Aylan Kurdi washed up on the Turkish coast is a grim testament to how, over the past few centuries, the same Mediterranean Sea has now come to divide the very people and cultures it nurtured for millennia.

The long centuries of European colonialism, the discovery of oil and the establishment of tyrannical regimes to ensure smooth supplies of that black gold to the industrial west, the transplanting of European Zionism in Palestine and the encouragement to Islamic fundamentalism to undercut democratic movements have all contributed to the present-day conditions where hundreds of thousands of people have been forced to flee from their homes and seek refuge from war and destruction.

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