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The Refugee ‘Crisis’ Showed Europe’s Worst Side to the World

Over the last decade, migration has become an urgent political issue. The 2010s have been marked not only by the global movement of people across national borders but also attempts by governments to erect walls and fences in their path. We’ve seen nationalism winning votes and the worldview of the far right mainstreamed.

 “Flow”, “flood” and “crisis”. Media imagery and language has shaped public opinion. Of course, migration from the global south to the north – intimately connected to the legacy of colonialism and the west’s military machinations – has been happening for decades. But the 2010s has seen a higher number of people from the south moving towards the north. In particular, Europe has seen hundreds of thousands of people from Africa, the Middle East and south Asia, fleeing chronic poverty, political instability, wars, and the climate crisis in countries often laid to ruin by western-backed institutions.

Libya had always been the migratory destination for many sub-Saharan Africans because of its employment opportunities. Following the suppression of the 2011 Arab spring and Nato’s intervention in Libya, a lawless society emerged, with racial hatred against sub-Saharan Africans unleashed. Many escaped forced labour and torture, climbed into dinghies and began the dangerous sea journey across the central Mediterranean. But when they landed in Europe, they didn’t come to safety. Instead, they found themselves in the centre of a white, Eurocentric discourse – a “problem” to be blamed for society’s ills.

 Read more: Hsiao-Hung Pai, Guardian,

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