Merkel’s disastrous refugee decision
FBI director, James Comey’s warned, this week, that the gains being won on the battlefield against ISIS, in Iraq and in Syria, will lead to “a terrorist disapora out of Syria, the like of which we have never seen before”. He added, with clear logic, that “not all of the Islamic State killers are going to die on the battlefield” and this was sobering, to say the least.
His frank, pragmatic approach is in stark contrast to the flimsy defence mounted by German chancellor, Angela Merkel, on foot of a number of Islamic terrorist atrocities carried out on German soil since her decision, in September, 2015, to open her country’s borders and admit, unreservedly, an estimated one million asylum seekers and immigrants from Syria and Iraq. A number of the perpetrators of these atrocities entered Germany under the cover of this genuine crisis.
But Merkel remains characteristically dogged, stating frankly that “I stand by the decisions we made”, whilst ignoring that her decision was unilateral. There was no ‘we’. She’s wholly incorrect to claim that the decision was “in consensus with other political leaders”.
In fact, her approach was only emulated in Sweden and Austria and her decision notably isolated her amongst many of her contemporaries. For example, last September, immediately after the influx, Hungarian PM, Viktor Orban, accused her of “moral imperialism” in trying to force the hand of her peers.
Italian PM, Matteo Renzi, told the German media that Merkel was dismissing him, saying “It can’t be sufficient for Angela to first call Hollande and then EU president, Juncker, and then I learn it in the press”.
In February, 2016, Merkel received a hostile reception from EU leaders at a crisis refugee summit in Brussels. As Francois Heisburg, Paris-based special advisor at the Foundation for Strategic Studies said: “It’s ok to act unilaterally if you don’t ask for multilateral efforts. It is less so when you ask for solidarity from the whole EU”.
Merkel’s claims, and defence of her position, ring increasingly hollow and weak as the tragic violence mounts. Simplistically denouncing her citizens for “xenophobia” is offensive and unfair.
While this trait exists among Germans, as it does among people of every nationality, what has pushed Germans away from her CDU party, and towards so-called “extremists”, is simply fear; genuine fear.
She has failed to adequately allay these fears.
Merkel has spent a decade at the helm of Europe’s powerhouse economy. I believe that, in time, her decision of September 2015, made for whatever reasons, noble or misguided, will be judged as supremely foolhardy and reckless. Ten years as chancellor is a long time and she has, undoubtedly, left her mark on the political landscape of Europe. However, in order for Germany — and Europe — to have some fresh perspective and new thinking on this most pressing issue, she should emulate former British prime minister David Cameron’s recent decision to take responsibility for the consequences of personal actions and step aside.
Propaganda can’t hide truth of war
As citizens of the Irish Republic commemorate the Rising of 1916 and the aspiration, in its proclamation, to cherish all the children of the State equally, we are going to be invited to partake of orchestral accompaniment at the screening of a propaganda film based on the Somme. Young boys died by the hundreds of thousands, and more were recruited and conscripted, medically passed fit, trained and sent to the front as cannon meat. In fact, the French troops would use an expression, ‘boef tek’, in reference to body parts mingled in the ramparts of their trenches in WWI.
Boys were sent over the top, with many cut down to serve the requirements of those who led and who ruled unequally and who unfairly distributed resources in states and empires, not least the British Empire.
WWI was the result of the collapse of democracy. It was where politicians surrendered responsibility to war and military might.
Over 16m died in that war and another 18m in the subsequent Spanish flu epidemic. The ‘war to end all wars’ helped spawn a rash of wars and revolts, with consequent suffering that killed millions. It was followed by WWII, and industrialised mass extermination. These dead millions ought to be mentioned ahead of orchestrally accompanied propaganda films.
Callous attitude to abortion
I am very concerned about Louise O’Neil’s last two articles for your newspaper. Her article on July 16 seems to be advocating promiscuity. Her approach to sex as a primal need, and detached from any emotion or connection on any level higher than the merely physical, is immature. Part of our basic needs, as human beings, is for love and security. Along with physical needs for food, shelter and warmth, we have emotional and spiritual needs. Also, with our knowledge of sexually transmitted diseases, we should not gloss over the risk to health of promiscuous sex. O’Neil didn’t mention, either, in that first article, the natural outcome of a sexual encounter: pregnancy. However, she did address this in her article of July 23, in which she also outlined her pro-abortion bias, disregard for the many women who suffer after abortion, and for the child who loses their life. Surely, she is aware that babies end up dead in buckets because of abortion.
That is what abortion does (many babies survive, which is termed a failed abortion). O’Neil dismissed the picture of the baby in the bucket, as though that just wouldn’t happen. I can overlook her negative descriptions of pro-life people; we are used to that ignorance. But you cannot write about abortion and have no mention of the baby whose life was ended. As she claims to be ‘pro choice’, she should be able to look at a child dead in a bucket and be okay with that ‘choice’. Or at least be honest that what you are choosing is to kill a child. As a society, we can offer a woman in a crisis pregnancy a better option than abortion, whether it be social or economic support or better perinatal hospice care. But no-one should have to die for the benefit of others. In cases where a woman’s health is in danger, the woman is never denied treatment, even if this means she loses her child in the womb. This is never viewed as an abortion.
It’s an unfortunate and sad side-effect of treatment. Ireland has a lot to be proud of in its protection of unborn babies and their mothers. We have one of the lowest maternal mortality rates in the world. Next time Ms O’Neil is on a panel discussing abortion, she should research the benefits of having pro-life laws and how many lives have been saved by our Eighth Amendment. And, as a feminist, I can’t understand why you are not enraged that baby girls are selected for abortion just for being girls. There is even evidence of this happening in the UK. Who will protect her rights??
Illegally parked caravans’ law weak
At this time of year, I receive many complaints about the illegal parking of caravans. Don’t blame the gardai, councillors, or local authorities for this state of affairs. Blame, instead, the people in high places who made the laws and who, seemingly, have no idea what is happening on the ground.
Legislation on this problem is riddled with loopholes and anomalies. Section 10 of the 1992 Housing Bill, passed by the Dail on Friday, July 3,1992, gives power to local authorities to impose fines of up to €1,000, three months’ imprisonment, and confiscation of their caravans into storage, if they fail to obey a notice to move on. Has it helped? It is only when a case it taken to court that you realise just how weak the laws are. They seem to be designed more to protect the criminal than the victim.
For example, a person in a caravan with stolen goods in his/her possession needs only to throw them out the window for them to become the responsibility of the landowner, on whose land they came to rest.
Legislation must be enacted, giving full and adequate powers to local authorities to deal with illegal parking of temporary dwellings, and should include the power to remove illegally parked dwellings.
Until this is done, we are wasting our breath on the desert air. Over to our bureaucrats in Dublin to address the problem.
Words of wisdom for letter writers
Over the last month, I have noticed that 80% of letters to the editor have contained less than 290 words.
About 20% of the letters had more than 290 words. That was too much. Reading them guaranteed mental indigestion.
The longer a letter is, the more likely it is that nobody will read it. My best advice to letter writers is to learn to keep their treasures short and simple.
Thankfully, 80% of letters to the Irish Examiner do not strain the quality of brevity. Keep up the good work.