The current refugee crisis is being discussed in almost every bar, classroom, staff room and bus station across the continent. The media coverage and public discussion on the current situation is colossal and different opinions and points of view of all degrees are flying around all of us.
I would like to take this opportunity to write only about the positive possibilities that this influx of people could bring.
The first point is the opportunity for economic growth. Germany has made headlines after accepting massive numbers of refugees and has gained worldwide respect and attention for the kindness and respect being shown at it’s train stations as hundreds of displaced people board off trains from Hungary. Germany is a country with an ageing population and future predictions show a small work force trying to support a huge retired population. This current situation gives Germany a huge economic opportunity. To attract refugees, huge numbers of whom are well educated, young and have language skills, is a golden chance to create a young workforce to prevent further problems with an ageing population.
Countries who are publicly showing resistance to accepting refugees could be shooting themselves in the foot should they ever need to try and attract young, working people from outside of the EU to try and balance their own workforces.
Another positive aspect is cultural diversity and change. Meeting people from different backgrounds and countries, who speak different languages, who cook different food and who have different perspectives, is what life is all about. We have Indian restaurants in London, Irish bars in Spain, Kebab shops in Germany, Whisky bars in Slovakia… new culture doesn’t mean that the current one disappears, it enriches what already exists. Let’s open up to the possibilities of all the new food and words and traditions we can try, and maybe love.
One Icelandic Facebook post surged through the internet and I am going to quote it because it captures my sentiment exactly:
“They are our future spouses, best friends, the next soul mate, a drummer for our children’s band, the next colleague, Miss Iceland in 2022, the carpenter who finally finishes the bathroom, the cook in the cafeteria, a fireman and television host.”
By Alona Cameron, Bratislava
An excellent article Alona, unfortunately you are preaching to the deaf and ignorant. Slovakia has yet to integrate its own nationals into a tolerant, modern society – ask the Roma, or someone of Hungarian decent. The way all visitors are treated by officialdom is a disgrace. I read that a woman and child were attacked and robbed by Slovak heros, in BA, in broad daylight whilst more heros stood around and just watched – low or no moral standards or just spineless cowards? I have also read some time ago about an entire muslim community being built, a new village complete with mosque. Did any one raise an objection? the only difference – money. The rich are welcome so long as the locals get a good cut. That in its self shows that the indignation and angst regarding the potential of immigrants can be calmed by cold hard cash. Alona is quite right to point out that immigration is the only solution to the forthcoming crisis that our hosts appear to be ignorant of. Slovakia has a falling population, the elderly almost out number those of working age, people who can’t or won’t work are increasing in numbers, the average worker has to support a state worker. Who is going to pay the taxes to support these people in the future?, who is going to provide the medical and social care? build your homes, repair your roads, educate your children and produce the weath for the country in the future?
The notion that an influx of immigrants will dilute or destroy Slovak culture whilst a reasonable but unsubstantiated fear is not supported by what I see every day. Traditional Slovak buffets are closing every day to be replaced by pizza, tacco, burger, suchi and kabab take-aways. Whilst not run by nationals from the countries associated with such food, the Slovak businessmen who are opening these shops obviously believe there is a demand for such delights. Double standards? we want foriegn food so long as it is made by locals and are prepared to accept these erratz substitutes invading our high streets.
So naïve!!!! Slovakia has high unemployment,youth unemployment is double over 20%! Migrants coming to your country are not interested to learn Slovak language and assimilate.They,majority if them create their own conclave’s,where they continue with religious,cultural etc.practises, which are completely incompatible with European/Slovak way of life.
At this time e in Western Europe is 900 no go zones.Even police refuses to go there and in many if them applies only Sharia law.
And just to came to me,Slovakia pensioners are one of the poorest in Europe!
You better take care of your old people and future of your children,then foreigners who eventually take over your society.
I do believe to help them.But in their countries,not in Europe.
And defending countries rights,freedom,traditions doesn’t make me far right of worse.
What a load of tosh…. you must be Slovak. The only enclaves I see in Slovakia are the Roma shanty settlements. The only people practising religious and cultural activities that are incompatible with European/decent way of life are the time warp castaway Slovaks. 900 no go areas – please name one. Western European Security forces do not fear going anywhere unlike the Sk Keystone Cops who baulk at dealing with anyone with “connections” I can understand Slovaks believing that Sharia law would take over here when you see what a lawless country this is. Not interested in learning Slovak? who is? minority language only of any use here unless your attempting to communicate with a Mygar, Russin, German or Polish minority members and of course the Roma.
Yes Slovak pensioners were some of the poorest in Europe thanks to your former Socialist engineered society. While Western workers are obliged to make their own provision for old age the state did and still does provide a comparatively good pension to most. Who is going to fund the future pension pot? Most young Slovaks want to leave ASAP for greener fields and fairer more stable societies in the West. Black economy work is becoming more common, avoiding tax is a national sport bending the system is a national pastime. Foreigners will never take over your society unless you let them and judging by the apathy shown to certain foreign “companies” who basically already control much of your society, that is a real possibility. Then again foreigners who have risked their lives to escape corrupt political regimes just may decide to put a stop to the Slovak gravy train.
And just how would you help people in their own countries when they are overrun with religious zealots, being bombed back to the stone age, have no law and order or are persecuted by their own governments? Ah, you must prescribe foreigners changing things by force, so long as it is in some other country.
Why Slovaks believe an influx of foreign immigrants, when nobody wants to come here in the first place, will somehow jeopardise their rights, freedom and traditions is beyond me.
‘Why Slovaks believe an influx of foreign immigrants, when nobody wants to come here in the first place, will somehow jeopardise their rights, freedom and traditions is beyond me.’
Maybe one of the stupidest statements I have every read. Are the traditions in Germany, France and Sweden being affected? How about Bastille day? Do you think the crowds will increase next year? Bikinis in Sweden? Oktoberfest attendance will be down in Munich. Who wants to have a beer and get run over by a lorry? You are correct its probably beyond someone such as yourself. For those of us that live in the real world its elementary,
All of you who think life is so much better in a multi-cultural society such as Germany, France, etc…, I’m a belgian citizen with a wife and 3 sons. Women are being raped here every day by refugees. Even children… people in the cities are scared, Old people are afraid to leave their houses and women are harassed al the time. Those who say there are no no-go zones for police are LYING! We have several of them. And always in muslim neighbourhoods. They do not contribute to my society but hate it and spit on it. They only come for the bennefits my ancestors and me worked hard for! Please do not Make the Same mistake and Keep them out! So many people here have found great respect for East-European leaders to withstand the pressure from the West. Stay Slovakia, Stay Europe Stay proud and dont become a victim of bad leaders like Angela Merkel, who loves other people more than her own, because history can not be changed. What is happening in my country, you dont want in yours, believe me i know. And then maybe in a few years from now my children will still have a place to go to and call it Europe, and perhaps even home since Belgium does nog feel like that for us anymore…
RJ – you must be a Slovak or from some other spineless race. Do you really believe that indiscriminate, isolated terror attacks or even a prolonged terror campaign will anyway result in the peoples of the nations you quote abandoning their customs and culture? Just because is it this custom for peoples in this part of the world to just roll over and accept subjugation by any group of thugs who move in uninvited, please do not tar the peoples of the western democracies with the same brush. Yes, attendances will be down, but the events will continue as ever, the certainly will not be abandoned. Read your history, the current activities of Islamic fundamentalist terror groups are the latest in a long and bloody history of terrorism – Red Brigade? ETA? Black September? PIRA? etc. – did these cause any loss of freedoms or cultural heritage in the countries affected – NO!
A day in the real world would leave most Slovaks in need of psychiatric treatment. This comfort bubble where the indifferent, led by the incompetent and life continues in this fairy-tale belief that displaced people actually want to come here will probably never change. Bigotry is so deeply inbred here that any rational attempt at an informed discussion on the crisis is impossible.
BTW – Alona’s article is about the positives of the refugee crisis, an attempt to introduce a balanced perspective to the issue in a country where the only focus is on blinkered, misguided beliefs expounded by politicians and elements of the church.
As a champion of protecting the culture and customs of this back water perhaps you would like to give your perspective on the fact that the weapons used in at least three recent attacks have been traced back to Slovakia. Perhaps the KSK, MJK, Col Moschin, DELTA and the SAS should come to Slovakia and change this particular part of Slovak culture……for ever.
Slovakia has one of the worst records for immigration in the EU.
Look at how they treat all foreigners at the “barely” existent stations to get your PR card. They have to realize that foreigners bring a lot to Slovakia. Many outside the borders know nothing and care nada about Slovakia.
Citizenship through blood is pure hell and with SMER in place for another 4 years,
I don’t see any positive changes to come.
It’s a great article with a positive perspective. It will not be easy to integrate people who have a different culture, religion and traditions. But the benefits will outweigh the short term fears. Bravo for writing this, Alona.
very interesting article
A fantastic article fully of fairy tale hopes.. but too rosy a picture to seep through. I am interested to know how many migrants/islamic fundamentalists are interested to settle in Iceland? Ha Ha…the destination in Germany. Oh of course future spousses : Islamic hunks marrying European libertines for papers not the other way around ? Have the Icelanders ever asked this question to themselves? Miss Iceland 2022… will the future local Imam of Reykjavik approve of this.. a muslim girl posing in thongs before men?? Have the Icelanders imagined how Iceland will look in 2 years time when there will be Shariyat implemented over and above the constitution of their own country…. these are one side of the story.
The other side of the story is the European Union’s double standards in treating immigrants with or without nuisance values. EU has no plans or haven’t done anything to improve the human rights conditions of non-EU immigrants who are already living in the continent (legally) especially the ones who do not have nuisance value. they are systematically harassed at EU airports by Airline Staff as most of the times the info in their databases are outdated. Let me tell you the lives of the non-Eu spouses of EU citizens…. they don’t even have the rights of travelling freely accompanied by their EU spouses without a visa! Shame on EU ..Shame on EU’s concept of humanity and human rights… I would call it the Dark Ages of Europe are back !!!!