Can we offer perspective to despair?


Can we offer perspective to despair?

The flow of refugees to the promised country ‘Europe’ from war-torn and impoverished countries leads to extreme emotions: giving shelter or detainment. Both points of view are understandable because of moral values like solidarity, generosity and security. The photos of drowned people are really sad, but those who survived can be seen, as the Dutch Minister of International Trade said, as people with ‘ambition and courage’. Those are exactly the much-needed skills to build a country. However, most refugees end up being illegal and see their dreams evaporate. Their human resources remain untapped. Europe is going to invest large amounts of money to keep people out of Europe and to fight crime of human trafficking. From the principle of the Rule of Law this is quite understandable: crime does not pay.

Make a virtue of necessity

Let’s make a virtue of necessity and put development aid with career planning, training and coaching into practice. Many countries are working on a new Constitution that guarantees the rights of citizens and the constitutional state. The application of this remains a bottleneck. The most vulnerable issue is bridging the cultural, religious and political contradictions and the handling of an often violate unprocessed past. At the same time recognizable common issues also ask for a solution. How can we combat unemployment, organize health care and education, reinforce the rule of law, built a good governance and fight corruption? Another type of questions is: How do you organize a constructive debate between stakeholders between trade unions and employer’ association, between farmer corporations and governments, between religious leaders and youth?

Refugees share similar experiences regarding their journey and near death experiences. We can see them as local experts who are ready for internships and can learn from our knowledge, experiences and ways of maintaining our democracy, rule of law and integrity. In return they can provide European countries with new impulses for international cooperation and programs to combat terrorism and to support initiatives for economic development and reinforcement of democracy. Refugees can bring the knowledge and experience how Europe emerged from the Second World War and developed into an ideal back to their homeland. Because, let’s face it, next to courage and ambition the majority of all refugees do have a heart that wants the best for their country. They would prefer to go back to their families and friends to build a decent future together.

For Europe this can also be an excellent opportunity to put development and international security in this worldwide shared human perspective.

Henk Bruning