Street Tales: There’s a reason we’re all talking about immigration

One of the hottest topics these days is refugees.

Not that it is a unique situation, because the very same thing has occurred throughout history, although maybe not to the same degree as today. Maybe it is just the amount of media coverage that has made it appear larger than ever before, but for sure, it is at the forefront of today’s news.

Who are these people, where do they come from and for what reasons? What are they fleeing from? Or are they possibly being driven out?

Whatever the reason, the number of people in migration status today is about 258 million worldwide. The forecast for the year 2050 is for 403 million to be on the move, so the numbers justify the coverage it gets.

While the largest group would move because of economics, a very large portion are refugees because of conflict and ethnic cleansing.

Daily, we are informed of the complete misery that these folks are experiencing. Images like the body of a child on the beach; the accounts of theft and pillaging from these people, not to mention the abuse, including rape and daily beatings. It is all so staggering and common that many people have become immune to these stories.

I have heard from several people I know who believe many of these stories are fabrications or methods refugees will use to solicit sympathy from the countries they are trying to enter.

We are shown images of prisoners of war and ethnic cleansing clutching a fence; so thin and emaciated that a plain stick shows more promise of life.

Discovered mass graves and vaults full of skulls almost tend to complete the picture of reasons for these people to be on the move.

Regardless of origin or belief, these refugees are simply trying to stay alive, and against hope, try to find a country where they can live in peace and be able to experience freedom and work, by which they can support themselves. So then, if that is who these folks are and what their aims are, how is the rest of the world to handle this massive relocation?

What have been the reactions that have been expressed and even acted on? How has all this affected the populist movements around the world? Nationalism is once again very prominent in many areas as well.

Two examples stand out above all the other opinions that we are presented with: the first being Angela Merkle of Germany and the second being Donald Trump of the United States. The gap between the two is incredibly huge, and with seemingly no possibility of building a bridge between the two. What then do they represent?

Merkle opened Germany’s borders to accept nearly a million refugees, based on her compassionate convictions, while Donald Trump economically holds his own people hostage to secure funds to build a wall to keep refugees out of the United States.

Merkle expressed the fact that most of these people only want a safe, secure place to live, and so are worthy. Trump has labelled all refugees as scum, criminals, rapists and security threats, and is determined to keep them out, thereby counting them all as not worthy.

Loudly voiced opinions around the world, and even in this country, fill the populace with fear and trepidation, to the point that minds are set firmly against immigration completely.

The United Nations is in a quandary trying to come to grips with the whole issue, suggesting that this movement is beyond the complete grasp of just a few individuals.

In my next installment, I would like to explore the many thoughts that shape what is happening and what could possibly be coming.

Chris Salomons is a retired Red Deer resident with a concern for the downtrodden.

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