Immigration to Europe and War on Terror

The choice between death by fire or death by water

Afghan War is over after completing its 20 years of devastation and destruction but we still do not know whether the slogan “Global War on Terror” is still saleable or not?

The so-called Global War on Terror started from Afghanistan after the tragic 9/11 incident and spread to Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Somalia, northwest Pakistan, and the Philippines, creating 37 million refugees who had been displaced from their homes where they were living contentedly despite poverty, inflation, political corruption and other routine phenomena of third world countries. The war on terror “thing” turned their life upside down leaving no option but to leave their homes. Devastated Iraqis, Syrians, Yemenis, Libyans, and Somalians had the mighty Mediterranean Sea between their destroyed homes and peaceful Europe. Living under constant fear of death by bullets and bombs thrown over them for “peace-seeking”, the majority of them decided to flee by drowning —-A choice between death by fire or death by water. European politicians claim that the phenomenon of waves of refugees and immigrants seeking safety in Europe has acted as a poison on EU societies, forgetting the fact that they were compelled to flee their homes in basic instinct of survival from NATO-led massacres.

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As a student of Philosophy of Communication, I keenly followed the role of media to encourage refugee’s influx that practically put European governments to the wall, paving a way for non-stop exudes of Syrians, Iraqis, Yemenis, Afghanis, and Libyans to reach European borders. How would a normal person not try to help after seeing photos of a six-year-old boy all dressed up for a voyage but found dead on the shore of the Mediterranean?

The study indicated that the displacement of people by these post-9/11 wars is almost without precedent. They compare the figures for the last 20 (September 2001 to September 2021) years with those for the whole of the 20th century, concluding that only the Second World War produced a bigger mass flight. Otherwise, the post-9/11 displacement exceeds that brought about by the Russian Revolution (6 million), the First World War (10 million), India-Pakistan Partition (14 million), East Bengal (10 million), the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan (6.3 million) and the Vietnam War (13 million).

European media was actually exposing what the European armies under the banner of the War on Terror did with Iraq, Syria, Libya, and Afghanistan producing millions of desperate refugees who overcrowded European beaches with cockle-shell boats.

Refugees attracted media attention on the last highly visible stages of their journeys between France and Britain and raising the question of why they were risking detention or death for Europe?

There is an instinctive assumption in the west that it is perfectly natural for people to flee their own failed states (the failure supposedly brought on by self-inflicted violence and corruption) to seek refuge in the better-run, safer, and more prosperous countries.

A story that started from launching “global war on terror”, on Afghanistan created no less than 37 million refugees who had been displaced from their homes, according to a revelatory report published by Brown University.

The study, part of a project called “Costs of War”, calculated using the latest data that “at least 37 million people have fled their homes in the eight most violent wars the US military has launched or participated in since 2001”. Of these, at least 8 million are refugees who fled abroad, and 29 million are internally displaced persons (IDPs) who have taken flight inside their own countries. The eight wars examined by the report are in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Somalia, northwest Pakistan, and the Philippines.

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The study indicated that the displacement of people by these post-9/11 wars is almost without precedent. They compare the figures for the last 20 (September 2001 to September 2021) years with those for the whole of the 20th century, concluding that only the Second World War produced a bigger mass flight. Otherwise, the post-9/11 displacement exceeds that brought about by the Russian Revolution (6 million), the First World War (10 million), India-Pakistan Partition (14 million), East Bengal (10 million), the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan (6.3 million) and the Vietnam War (13 million).

The traumatic cost of this global war on terror is rightly represented in an article of Emma Graham-Harrison published in Guardian on September 10, 2021, in which she wrote about collateral damage and insane man slaughtering committed by foreign forces in countries under attacks. While citing a horrible incident from the Afghan war, she wrote that one of the most notorious massacres of the war, was when US Sgt Robert Bales walked out of a nearby base to slaughter local families in cold blood. He killed 16 people, nine of them children. She writes that Afghans who knew little or nothing about the planes flying into towers in New York, and certainly had no link to shady al-Qaida because of its ambiguous status, were caught up in the war that followed, and that claimed their loved ones’ year after year. It is hard to understand that crafted wars had been imposed on people who then tried to flee their countries and their foremost target was Europe because the United States was far away from their lands because they felt that the western world is (was) the only safe place left on earth because death imposed by the west was dancing everywhere except western countries.

Renowned writer of European politics Patrick Cockburn in his article published last year (September 2020) in the Independent indicates that the willingness to launch wars and to keep them going might be less if American, British and French leaders had to pay a political price for their actions. Unfortunately, voters have never understood that the influx of refugees, to which so many of them object, is the consequence of the vast displacement caused by these post-9/11 foreign wars.

For a skeptical observe one question will always be un-answered; whether the incident of 9/11 created mass destruction and devastation upon innocent soles or the 9/11 incident was designed to destroy the unfavorable humans.

Shazia Anwer Cheema
The writer Shazia Cheema is an analyst writing for national and international media outlets. She heads the DND Thought Center. She did her MA in Cognitive Semiotics from Aarhus University Denmark and is currently registered as a Ph.D. Scholar of Semiotics and Philosophy of Communication at Charles University Prague

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