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The helpless hand of humanity after Moria fire

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16.09.2020

The number is 1,500. That's out of the 12,000 refugees and migrants who lived in the former Moria camp on the Greek island of Lesbos before it burned to the ground. Most of them are still on the island with nowhere to go. Still, 1,500 of them will be flown to Germany.

Every person brought to safety is good news, that has to be said. But is Germany going it alone, just like in 2015 when the country took in hundreds of thousands of people from across the globe?

No, that is not the case.

The German government’s humanitarian gesture seems desperate, clueless, and somewhat timid.

DW's Berlin correspondent Jens Thurau

Relevant authorities are now busy trying to point out that the estimated 400 families set to arrive in Germany don’t all come from Lesbos — with many living on various other Greek islands. And most of them have already had their application for asylum registered.

The message is clear: Berlin is helping the hopelessly overloaded Greek authorities. But the narrative must not be: the camp burnt down so now there is a clear way to get to wonderful Germany. It’s a despicable narrative that uses hundreds of desperate refugees — children, women, men — as scapegoats.

And yet, this tale depicts the moral, ethical and humanitarian standards that the European Union's refugee policy has encompassed for some time.

Just don’t set a precedent. Politicians in Berlin have said time and again that at the EU's headquarters in Brussels, the Germans are told that taking in refugees is their problem. Those looking the other way — mainly Eastern European counterparts — will say it the issue has nothing to do with them.

And Germany knows exactly the effect this has: Every humanitarian gesture becomes fodder for right-wing, populist misanthropists.

Every lone move — no matter how small........

© Deutsche Welle


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