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Europe’s Death Rattle: Part I
In the culmination of a longtime plan, a global calamity of food scarcity, due to Covid measures and 'sanctions', will soon cause record numbers of mainly African migrants to enter Europe seeking food
In Search of ‘the White Man’s Life’
Within months, or even weeks, in response to the escalating food shortages and hyperinflation now coursing through the world economy in the manner of flash flooding, new waves of immigrants will begin to arrive in Europe from Africa, the Middle East, and other places, as people voyage forth in search of food, imagining that they will find it more easily in Paris or London or Dublin. In truth, parts of Europe will be more or less as desperate as any of the places these people have evacuated, because the already scheduled consequences of the disastrous lockdown policies of 2020 will be augmented by the effects of the catastrophic sanctioning of Russia in the context of the Ukraine war. These migrants, therefore — who will arrive in numbers far exceeding the influx of 2015 — will find themselves in a situation at best little better than that which they have left behind. The results are likely to include the radical destabilisation of European societies already in disarray due to the self-imposed difficulties arising from diminishing supplies of food and fuel. These circumstances are likely to provoke widespread outbreaks of social unrest and conflict throughout Europe, leading to the breakdown of the social order in many countries, which is likely to be met by the imposition of martial law.
The peoples of Europe will again be subjected to intense moralising from their political classes — the perpetrators of this disaster. They will, as usual, be instructed as to their ‘responsibilities’ to the ‘less fortunate’ newcomers, even though their own circumstances will be little better. As scarcities escalate, Europe will descend into mayhem, mutual suspicion and alarm, at levels not seen in most European countries since the end of WWII.
All this is planned. It will not be an unforeseen, happenstance outcome of random events. Social chaos is baked into the cake of Covid disruption and tyranny. The war in Ukraine — in effect an undeclared war by the United States and NATO on the Russian Federation, with Ukraine merely the proxy patsy in the middle — has not turned out as the US and EU leaders foresaw, and this has come to mean that the social disaster will be far worse than they intended. But this does not mean that the tyrants will instantly begin to amend their conduct and seek to mitigate its effects. We shall see, therefore, the culmination of a long process of social-engineering and race-baiting that is calculated to deliver to the globalist project the means to enter into a whole new dispensation, in which the already super-rich will become far richer, and the inhabitants of the afflicted countries — in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and beyond will be, though all equally subject to dispossession, thrown at each other’s throats. The people of Europe will be daubed as racists for seeking to put their own children first. The incoming masses will be goaded into resentment and hatred of their new ‘hosts,’ who will in turn, to avoid being demonised and abused, have to meekly accept a diminution of their living conditions, expectations and aspirations unprecedented since the end of the Hitler war. This will be the denouement of a process that has been nurtured for many decades, with the precise intent of looting the homelands of all concerned. This two-part article is an attempt to describe the events and conditions that have taken us to this calamitous point. [The second part will appear this coming Saturday.]
Interviewing the rock star turned global anti-poverty campaigner, Bob Geldof, back at the beginning of Band Aid — the music-led fundraising campaign he had launched in response to the 1983 Ethiopian famine — I asked him what he had to say about the then commonplace political arguments as to why the West should not, as a kneejerk response, simply dole out charity to Africa. Those arguments had mainly to do with the alleged corruption of African politics, especially the hidden machinations of the Ethiopian regime; the condescension of post-imperial nations pretending to assist their own victims; the misplaced nature of a paternalistic philanthropy without any basis in a development strategy; the spurious ‘feelgood factor’, which turned attention away from the true causes of the famine, and so forth. I listed them all off and asked him, ‘What do you say to all that, Bob?’ He replied, ‘I say, Fuck up and gimme a pound, because that pound will keep someone alive and your useless meandering philosophising achieves nothing!’
FUGAP, then. Fair enough, I thought at the time. Something is better than nothing. Lead with compassion. Walk, hold the talk. FUGAP has an honourable place in the vocabulary of charitable action.
The effects of Geldof’s intervention at that time (he later created Live Aid) seemed on balance to be positive. In the wake of the famine, deaths from disease — malaria, for example — were dramatically alleviated, economic growth increased and the population of Ethiopia is today—at 120 million and rising—three times what it was at the start of the famine in 1983. As a fire-brigade measure, Band Aid/Live Aid was effective. But Geldof’s FUGAP approach has limits: it constrains discussion and therefore narrows the scope of public reflection. It hides behind a call to virtue but closes down alternatives. It generates a form of blackmailed silence, thereby framing the problem by default in a certain narrow way. There are limits to the ‘compassionate’ approach, which has remained virtually the totality of the West’s formal strategy for Africa.
Africa is poor, in certain respects, though not in all. It is in truth an arable and abundant continent, with enormous potential. Mostly, the land is fertile, the rainfall regular. The main problem is cultural impoverishment, by which many basic skills have been lost, in part due to Western colonialism, in part to pre-existing cultural conditions. But these problems are reparable, except that, in many parts of Africa, no real attempt has ever been made to fix them. The key resources required are know-how and a jump-start, after which the people seem imminently capable of taking charge of their lives with passion and energy.
I have never felt completely happy with the designations of third-world poverty saturating our culture, dividing opinion along ideological lines, but always serving to copperfasten a singular conception of poverty and how it should be dealt with. I have long been suspicious of leftist notions of equality and redistribution, but equally dissatisfied with religious concepts of ‘compassion’ and ‘charity’. Both approaches seem to reduce the question to a material one, an approach dogged by innumerable inconsistencies and contradictions, weakening where we should be strengthening.
If poverty is purely a matter of economic resources, why has the international aid effort in Africa been so unsuccessful? What, if anything, is missing? And if nothing is missing, does this imply that poverty is ineradicable? It has long seemed to me that attempts to eradicate poverty have suffered from the same characteristics that might be blamed for the creation of poverty in the first place: condescension, piety, ideology and remoteness, all of which have achieved very little that is positive, and inflicted great damage. Africa remains economically poor and unable to fend for its own people. A man I know who for many years worked voluntarily to bring water and agricultural know-how to the people of Malawi, says that Africa has long suffered from two problems: Aids and aid.
Conventional Western notions of helping the poor in faraway places tend to be contorted by both confused thinking and an even more confusing emotionalism: guilt, shame and felt impotence — all, incidentally, symptoms also experienced by the post-colonial native, under the attrition of the imposed colonial mindset.
As schoolchildren, we put our pennies into a box on the nun’s desk and stood watching for a moment as the alabaster ‘black baby’ kneeling on top of the box nodded in gratitude. We weren’t aware of it at the time, but implicit in this gesture of ours was a deep-seated condescension, a belief that ‘black babies’ were a different species — pitiful, helpless, always grateful for our small kindnesses. But there was something else at play also: the idea that we could assuage our guilt about the inequities of the world with a few coins — crumbs from the (purportedly) abundant western table. In spite of the increasingly secular ethos of the age, the international aid strategies of many Western governments appear today to be formulated according to a misplaced sense of a similar Christian ‘compassion,’ which places at least as much emphasis on being seen to do something as on actually doing anything constructive. Thus, ‘helping the poor’ is a kind of industry, which almost by definition requires that ‘global poverty’ remain as it is. The focus on a kind of patrician benevolence, which instils gratitude in the heart of the receiver and puffs up the aid-worker with a sense of his own benevolence, has come to define every response of Europe to Africa and the ‘Third World’ generally. In Ireland, during the boom years that preceded the economic crash of 2008, politicians would vie with one another to demand that larger and larger shares of GDP be given in the form of foreign aid. Only the headline figure seemed to matter. Almost nobody in the discussion, or indeed in the country, seemed to know or care how the money was being spent. The important thing was to be seen to be conducting a ‘moral’ discussion in which each participant competed to appear more compassionate than the next.
The Western view of Africa continues to be defined by Western needs, and not just psychological ones. There is something they have that we need. Once, it was (mainly) copper or diamonds, now it is also victimhood, but also, for the Western elites, more prosaic things like farmland and multiple unexploited natural resources. To the general Western populace, Africans offer an opportunity to feel good by giving them a little; but that little is both so little (for us) and so significant (for them) that it risks becoming a habit for both sides. One consequence of this unhealthy relationship is that the people of Africa appear to lack the capacity to project themselves forward by means of concepts or visions. Their thought patterns remain present-centred: enough to eat today, my problems solved for now. Many parts of Africa still continue to be afflicted by widespread dishonesty and corruption, not just at the governmental level. These symptoms are fatal to any hope of creating a long-term viable future — and literally fatal to more than a few Africans who run afoul of the corrupt powerful.
Why do we want to help our fellow man? Because we care? Because, living in Christian societies, we are required to love our neighbour? Because we want to feel better about our own prosperity — by, in a sense, purchasing relief from the nagging of our own consciences? Or because, at some deep level, we believe that certain peoples, by virtue of — what? — geographic location, political history, or — dare we even whisper it? — skin colour, are congenitally incapable of looking after themselves? At the core of Western ‘compassion’ and ‘philanthropy’, therefore, resides a profoundly racist idea, the idea that, by virtue of skin-colour, Africans ought to be treated as children. ‘Racism’ is the device-of-choice utilised by the praetorian guard of the globalist exploiters who seek to manipulate both Africans and Europeans by using mass migration of Africans into Europe to drive down wages and create social enmity between races and ethnicities, and to suppress discussion of what is really happening.
What, for example, if we can agree there is a single answer, is the precise nature of the Western responsibility to Africa? The relief of absolute poverty? The forging of a partnership designed to help African countries to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps? Or the jumpstarting of the self-enterprise model in African societies so that they too can benefit from the action of the Invisible Hand?
I’ve visited Africa several times since the turn of the millennium — visiting and working as a journalist in Zambia, Malawi, Uganda and Kenya. In one Zambian village I visited in 2006, I noted that what villagers termed ‘water’ was invariably a most awful disease-bearing substance, between a liquid and a sludge. The locals told me that, if they had clean water, they could deal with most of their other problems. In many parts of Africa, the water is just a few metres under the ground, but the people lack the technologies or resources to get it to the surface. In Zambia, too, I came across a massive Irish-owned industrial farming operation, funded to the tune of millions by the Irish exchequer via Irish Aid, an entity fronting for the Department of Foreign Affairs. The owner had invested the money in a massive irrigation system, so that thousands of acres were being watered by an elaborate system of sprinklers. Meanwhile, just 50 yards from the perimeter, people were shovelling wet mud out of the ground and ‘drinking’ it.
In Uganda, I observed an Irish development agency that donated heifers to farming families and, on their reaching a certain stage of competency, provided them with methane-fuelled gas burners to tap into a previously unproductive aspect of the heifers, and furnish themselves with light and cooking capability — radical technology in a country where it gets dark around 7pm all year round. On a particular trip into the countryside to observe a biogas unit being installed in the home of a widow with a large family, I observed an incidence of the mentality that defines much of the culture of aid-delivery in the Third World. The unit was being installed by some African workmen under the supervision of a representative of the aid agency (also an African). I watched in incomprehension as the workmen dug the pit for the biogas unit at some distance — roughly 20 metres — from the cow byre, rather than close enough that the woman could shovel the manure into the unit. As the work proceeded, there appeared to be no thought of how the effluent might be conveyed from the byre to the biogas unit. Not even the widow, who was standing watching, asked how this was going to work. I approached one of the supervisors and asked him. He said he didn’t know, but passed the question on to one of the workmen. ‘She can carry it in a bucket,’ he said. I said, ‘Surely now, when you are fitting the unit, it would be easy to construct things so that the effluent will flow of itself into the biogas chamber? In that way you will save this woman an enormous amount of unnecessary work.’ The workman shrugged. ‘What else has she got to do?’ he asked. It was clear: the widow was not entitled to regard herself as anything but a mendicant, who ought to be unquestioningly grateful for any act of ‘charity’.
I encountered this mentality many times in Africa — a sense that people in receipt of aid should just be thankful for what they get, that the point of aid work is to spend the budget, not necessarily to extend maximum benefits to those it is supposed to be helping. The delivery of aid is defined by an attitude that emphasises at all times that it is aid. i.e. benevolence. And the recipients are always, ostensibly, grateful.
Yet, new technologies — mobile phones, 4G, broadband —now give many parts of the African continent direct access to the outside world. Superficially, this seems an unambiguous good. In the manner of their operation, however, these technologies serve to suck the population first out of the villages and countryside, and then, in the next phase, out of the continent, creating an intercontinental incontinence that now threatens to unravel the world. The seeming powerlessness of the native is mirrored by the powerlessness of the external donor, who, other than by occasional, haphazard fits of charity, sees no possibility of meaningfully helping.
Much of our attempting to deal with the effects of global poverty takes the form of a kind of guilt-displacement, whereby the objective often looks less like the alleviation of the suffering of the poor than the dispersing of guilt in those apparently seeking a solution. The FUGAP approach may be well-suited to emergency situations, but is not a panacea for Africa’s more workaday ills.
The latest manifestation of these syndromes takes a new and more immediate form: the insistence from European goverments and the European Union that migrants fleeing from Africa to their continent must be welcomed and accommodated, often without the consent of the peoples among whom they are destined to arrive — indeed, even at the expense of those people and their own needs. In a variant on the FUGAP method, the people of Europe are told we must open our borders and shut our mouths. Clerics exhort us that ‘Jesus was a refugee,’ and speak piously about ‘embracing the Other,’ as though there was no difference between a single ‘other’ and a hundred or a million. The idea that the world operates at different moral speeds, but that these differentials can be disposed of with the odd handful of coins, has mutated and metamorphosed, nowadays taking the form of a non-negotiable requirement for Europeans to surrender their homelands at the behest of their own debased elites, who themselves appear to imagine they can remain insulated from the consequences of their ‘compassion.’
The government of my own country, Ireland, has for two decades been stealthily importing significant numbers of migrants (increasingly from Africa) to comply with UN and EU directives that nobody was given an opportunity to discuss and which the media and churches appear to have been enlisted and incentivised to support by, firstly, a policy of evasions and public silencing, and latterly providing covering fire that targets anyone who dares question what’s happening as ‘racist.’ At roughly one-fifth, the (officially admitted) proportion of non-natives living in Ireland now is, after twenty years of a largely stealthily organised influx, more or less equivalent to the proportion of immigrants who have settled in the UK in sixty years of the same approach.
Christians, who stand to be swamped within a couple of generations by incoming Muslims, are told — usually by atheists— that it is ‘unChristian’ to be concerned about such a question. Is there anything especially urgent or vital, we hear fellow Europeans ask, about European survival, or the survival of its ‘white’ population? It need hardly be noted that these questions are usually asked by people with conspicuously pale faces but little understanding of how the culture they take for granted actually works.
In his 2019 book, The Scramble for Europe: (Young Africa on its way to the Old Continent), Stephen Smith has much to say about African population, culture, incomes and recent economic and social patterns, filling in the spaces in our knowledge of the background to the media headlines of recent times, and explaining the source causes of the present drifts from Africa to Europe. He is less interested in overall figures than in age-structure, dependency ratios and fertility rates. ‘I do not lie awake at night trembling at the prospect of an Africanisation of Europe,’ he writes. Still, he outlines facts relating to the two continents that ought to concern the inhabitants of both, albeit in different ways. Smith, who spent thirty years as a journalist, moving between Libération and Le Monde, and is now Professor of African Studies at Duke University, believes that neither Africa nor Europe is prepared for the coming ‘migratory encounter of unprecedented magnitude.’
Not only is Africa’s population growing, but it is by far the youngest in the world. Between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, Smith writes, four Africans out of ten are less than fifteen years old, and seven out of ten are under thirty.
Between the two world wars, the population of Africa fell from 200 million to 150 million, mainly due to European colonialism’s introduction of pathogens from Europe into an unwary African context. Since then, however, Africa has experienced the most phenomenal population growth, and the fastest urbanisation. Today, it has the greatest concentration of young people ever witnessed in human history.
Smith has a ready command of facts and statistics, but he writes well also and the book is an easily digested primer on the nature and current workings of the Dark Continent, especially sub-Saharan Africa, which he depicts as essentially a gerontocracy with a massive seething majority of young people who can find no place in their home countries and mostly want out. Smith describes the chronic generational conflicts that characterize the continent’s exceptional demographic profile, creating an unbridgeable divide between a vast number of young people who have no political voice and a small minority of elders who refuse to cede power or ownership of water and land.
When you place these circumstances alongside post-colonial incompetences and corruptions, and a population that’s essentially doubled since the mid-1980s and will do so again by 2050 (currently approaching 1.5 billion, and set to double within 30 years) — and then factor in Europe's strange state of self-disintegration (750 million and falling) — you can see why the European population needs to see what’s been happening lately as much more than a call on its ‘compassion.’ Two distinct forms of gerontocracy seem set to collide with unpredictable — or, worse, predictable — consequences.
Africa has long been prone to ‘urban drift,’ an exodus of the young from the countryside and villages to the urban centres, mostly shantytowns. This has represented as much a fleeing from the dominance of the elderly as a pursuit of economic self-betterment. Perhaps surprisingly, the issue of internal migration has long been regarded as problematic within Africa itself, as it creates precisely the kinds of problems that arose in European cities in the more recent phase of the mass migration story. Smith describes this phenomenon of internal movement as ‘the widening terraces of a migratory fountain,’ which has now started to spill over — into Europe, which young Africans see as ‘a bright continent of abundance, where everything is well-ordered and perfectly shipshape.’
There are three characteristics to be observed in the typical African emigrant: a vision of the wider world, largely arising from satellite television and mobile telephony; access to diasporic communities already settled in foreign countries, providing bridgeheads for newcomers; and access to sufficient money to help finance the move. It is not the poorest who flee Africa, Smith says, but members of the emerging middle-class who have been able to pull themselves up out of outright poverty and are defeatist about the future of Africa. This category accounts for 150-200 million out of the 1.3 billion. This insight makes clearer why the globalist elites are anxious to move as many of such people out of Africa and into Europe: It removes the categories most likely to cause problems for the planned plunder of Africa, and offers cheap labour for European industry.
The ones who leave, says Smith, are ‘the most audacious or enterprising — sometimes the least stable as well.’ They are people who have reached a point of complete frustration with where they are, and believe it will never improve. In this sense, those who say that migrants come from a place without hope are correct. Those who leave are also people who are capable of raising their horizons to look beyond Africa, and who are able to acquire the not inconsiderable financial means to get out of Africa and into Europe. ‘Depending on where one is departing from and headed to,’ writes Smith, ‘and the challenges of the often clandestine voyage, the initial sum ranges between 2,000 and 3,000 US dollars — the yearly per capita income in many sub-Saharan countries. So, rather than ‘the poorest of the poor,’ it is a less indigent stratum of Africans that goes to Europe ‘in search of “the white man’s life.”’
Smith deals comprehensively also with the idea, widely-believed in Europe, that the numbers of migrants travelling from Africa arise from some genuine threat to their safety and security. Many of those who make landfall in Ireland come in the guise of asylum seekers, yet the vast majority turn out to be economic migrants who, though failing in appeal after appeal when their applications for asylum are inevitably turned down, are almost never deported.
There are, Smith maintains, three distinct ‘moments’ of the migration phenomenon, with Europeans at the moment tending to focus on what he calls the ‘heroic part’: ‘when an individual overcomes obstacles to get into a promised land.’ But there are two other ‘moments’: ‘the moment of abandonment, when people leave their national community and go away, and that’s less heroic’; and the third moment, in which Europeans assume that, once the African reaches Europe — that developed and prosperous place — she/he will be happy. ‘People are not happy,’ says Smith, describing how, although bringing with them many of the problems of their own societies, such people are already ‘in tune’ with an American-style modernity of ‘radical impermanence.’
‘African migrants only bring to Europe what Europe has already bequeathed to the world,’ he claims. In short, this means ‘the malady of infinite aspiration’, a term coined more than a century ago by the sociologist Emile Durkheim to explain the meaning of ‘anomie,’ another term he coined to define a lack of shared norms and values within a society unable to create a harmony between individual and social needs. Smith writes: ‘The “malady of infinite aspiration” — the frustration born out of boundless desires that can never be fulfilled — captures the dark side of globalization: there are no longer any limits, but there are still borders; the only shared code of conduct is the universal sharing of codes. Historically extroverted, and being “globalized” rather than “globalizing” in its own right, Africa more than other parts of the world suffers from exposure to infinite aspiration.’
‘“Adventure” is the password of migration. Young Africans leave their village, their town or their continent because they hope to catch a “bit of luck.” As youngsters say in Tambacounda, the largest city in eastern Senegal: Barsa walla barsac, Wolof for “Barcelona or death” (Barcelona, with its dream football team, is shorthand for Europe).’
‘They do not flee imminent danger to their life. They try to escape circumstances that, certainly, are often difficult. But others around them decide, on the contrary, to stay, and it would be a mistake to confer victim status, en masse, on those who flee life in Africa rather than stay and face its challenges. Similarly, it is misguided in my view to ascribe a collective form of ‘ontological exceptionalism’ to African migrants — or for them to claim victimization as their permanent condition.’ This victim status can be used to justify a self-imposed ghettoisation by an African diaspora in a new country, laying claim to special status which other diasporas — from within Europe, for example — are not able to demand. Long after their departure, Smith claims, migrants remain connected to their country of origin, sometimes even more intensely when they are further away, ‘while clinging to the new environment as their last, best hope.’
For Africa’s young, ‘Europe’, which includes America, is the imaginative centre of the vision of progress the colonisers left behind. Their arrival en masse in ‘Europe’ means the process of colonialism has, in a sense, been unleashed in the opposite direction, this time not as a project of conquest by the new arrivals but as a pilgrimage of expectation by hopefuls whose dreams are being exploited by unseen actors seeking to profit from what transpires.
Africa does not come to Europe to collect a debt, but to realise the education it received in the qualities of progress and civilisation. But it will come all the same, and in numbers too great for Europeans to contemplate, never mind accommodate while remaining European, or the continent even remaining Europe. And the homage of the new arrivals will soon blur into hostility as the inevitable collision of misunderstandings occurs.
There are, Smith says, two paradoxes pertaining to the patterns of migration out of Africa, both of which arise from conditions in the continent of arrival that add acceleration to the process once begun. One relates to community: the less successful have been attempts to integrate a diasporic community into its new society, the better it will be in welcoming new arrivals, who likewise will resist integration in favour of a ‘home away from home’, thus creating a ‘nation within,’ which mounts its own boundaries against the wider society while availing of whatever benefits are on offer.
The second paradox relates to unwitting European funding of migration: ‘[The] countries of the North subsidise the countries of the South with development aid, so that the poor can live better lives and — though this is rarely said so directly — stay where they are. By doing so, however, rich countries shoot themselves in the foot. In effect, at least initially, they provide a bonus for potential migrants by helping poor countries attain the threshold of prosperity, at which point their citizens have the means to leave and live elsewhere.’ In this way, Africans are assisted by European ‘development aid’ not to remain and prosper where they are, but to move in accordance with the desire of the globalist elites.
Europe can expect the typical African migrant to be young and male. If they practice a religion, they will do so in public: their faith will inhabit the public spheres of their destination countries. These faiths include Islam and a form of America-rooted but now globalised evangelical Protestantism, quite different to the European strains. Smith says that the multitude of sub-Saharan migrants expected to make landfall in Europe over the coming decades will be ‘rugged, ill-educated and uncompromising people, pioneers who scrabbled over the poverty line in Africa and who seek the kind of work in Europe that will be fully automated by 2050.’ Most of them will remain poor outsiders in their adopted countries, thrown back on a kind of collective endeavour and the grey economy, much as European migrants to the eastern seaboard of the United States survived from their arrival from the 1880s onwards. ‘The difference,’ he points out, ‘is that labour was at a premium in those days, whereas in the Europe of 2050, gainful work for many sub-Saharan migrants is almost inconceivable without a war or a climate catastrophe.’
There is a wide divergence not merely between the general living standards of Africa and Europe but also between the standards of education. Africa also suffers what Smith calls ‘a pillage of African talent.’ One-third of African-born physicians work in OECD countries, while the doctor-to-patient ratio in Africa swings between 9,000:1 and 90,000:1. In the past 30 years, between one-third and one-half of all university graduates have left Africa and not returned. The idea of Africa being turned into a talent pool for Europe, says Smith, ‘strikes me as an odd development strategy.’ One might add that doing this under cover of humanitarianism is even odder still.
The conventional official justification for the escalated intake of migrants since 2015 is that the ratio of working people to dependents in European countries is deteriorating rapidly. If Europe continues on its present course we are told, the dependency ratio will have declined by 2050 from the present four active workers per dependent to two. Meanwhile, abortion is all but elevated into a secular sacrament, with the churches intimidated into silence aside from parrotting the globalists’ agenda on mass migration. The self-destroying demographics, the European obsession with birth control, abortion, equality, political correctness, open borders et cetera, seem destined to trap Europe in a cycle of self-liquidation, whereas Africa, with contrasting but strangely hand-in-glove pathologies, seems willing and ready to capitalise on all this by simply moving its brightest and best across the Mediterranean. This will result not in the rejuvenation of Europe but the importation of African problems and pathologies. Many Europeans have this strange idea that we can reboot European demography by importing young Africans, seemingly indifferent to the potential for new tribalism and conflict, to say nothing of the question: Why should Africans, who have escaped from their own gerontocracy, wish to maintain white European pensioners in the style to which they feel entitled?
The EU’s answer to Europe’s demographic crisis consists in compensating for the overall decline of the indigenous European population (likely to fall by 70 million by 2070) by absorbing 86 million migrants, at 1.72 million per annum, almost 40 percent more every year than arrived in 2015. To stabilise its working-age population at present fertility rates, it would have to admit 1.6 million foreigners per year until 2050, which would result in a EU population comprising three-quarters foreigners/children of foreigners. Since these proposals are clearly untenable, thought is being given in various countries to raising the retirement age and capping migration levels. Smith notes that other possible alternatives to immigration, ‘like promoting and supporting large families, are rarely pursued with any vigour’ — though he overlooks or underestimates the remarkable strides in this regard being made in Viktor Orbán-led Hungary.
Moreover, under a programme known as ‘family reunification,’ migrating adults from outside Europe tend to bring significant numbers of their own dependents with them, so that the cost of schooling and health care cancels out any benefit. In Ireland, the average number of these additional dependents is 20 per initial migrant. ‘How then,’ Smith asks, ‘does one justify the a priori assumption that it would be better to integrate more immigrants into European societies than to offer Europeans incentives to have more children?’
Between the early 1970s and the late-1990s, the number of Africans seeking asylum in countries now part of the EU increased twenty-fold, from 15,000 to 300,000. This pattern has continued into the third millennium. In 2014, there were 562,700 applications; in 2017, 650,000. The coming wave might well amount to millions.
Smith asks: ‘Has the world really become so much more dangerous over the past half-century, in particular in the new democracies south of the Sahara, like Senegal, the Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria or Kenya? In 2017, according to Eurostat, four out of five asylum seekers in Europe — 82 percent — were under the age of thirty-five and two-thirds of them — 68 percent — were men.’
He also notes that in 2017, 53 per cent of first-instance asylum applications in the 28 EU countries were rejected. The Czech Republic rejected 88 percent; Germany 50 percent; France 71 percent; the UK 69 percent; and Ireland 11 percent.
The right of asylum, says Smith, ‘has become a fig leaf for economic migration.’
He also provides a dispassionate analysis of the phenomenon of deaths in the Mediterranean, a favoured media trope over the past seven years, which has enabled the effective blocking of any discussion of the downsides of mass migration. In 2015, the year of record migration to Europe from Africa, 1,015,078 migrants reached European shores, while 3,771 were lost — a 0.37 percent casualty rate. He writes: ‘Here again, it is helpful to contextualize the risk — a calculated risk — that African migrants took in 2015: that year, according to World Bank statistics, the likelihood of dying in childbirth for a woman in South Sudan, the worst place on earth to bring an infant into the world, was 1.7 percent. In other words South Sudanese women giving birth were four and a half times more likely to die than a migrant crossing the Mediterranean, which has been variously described as an “open-air cemetery”, “the shame of Europe”, even the locus of “a silent genocide”.’ He also notes that the risks were greatly increased by the recklessness of NGOs providing taxi services to rescue migrants from unseaworthy boats, which enabled people-traffickers to take even more people in even flimsier craft.
He concludes: ‘Were journalists and the public to think twice before they reach for clichés — “the poorest of the poor braving death” to flee the “hell” of Africa — a more fact-based discussion of migration would be possible.’
We have heard much about the deaths in the Mediterranean since 2015, but rather less about the deaths in the Sahara as migrants make the first stage of the journey to Europe. One estimate puts these deaths at 1,790 between 1996 and 2013, a figure Smith believes to be on the low side.
While superficially Smith affects sanguinity about a mass influx of Africans into Europe (probably to elide accusations of ‘racism’), he emphasises that we need to understand more about why it is happening before we go further down a road that may end in chaos and regret. He also proposes ways of managing better the relationship between Africa and Europe: short-term visas, one-for-one exchanges, helping Africa to stop the haemorrhaging of its population. At the time of completing his book, he was confident there was time for Africans and Europeans to make choices, ideally in concert with one another. ‘They can organize what they can’t prevent,’ he wrote then, perhaps oblivious that the next phase was just a few years away. What will start to unfold before the end of this year will raise his analysis to a new level of relevance, taking the influx to levels of unmanageability that will make the 2015/2016 waves of migrants seem like a trickle.
In the second part of this series, we will look at the cultural mechanisms used by sinister forces to provoke, in equal measure, chaos and opportunity at enormous cost to both Europe and the countries-of-origin of those who arrive there on the basis of false promises and a massive criminal network that could hardly be further from the ‘compassion’ urged upon Europe by those who are happy to make use of its services to assist their far from altruistic agendas.
End, Part I; Part II will appear on Saturday next.
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