Europe’s refugee crisis – sucking up all the oxygen of global publicity

Mehdi Hasan

Mehdi Hasan

British journalist, Mehdi Hasan, is the host of “UpFront” on Al Jazeera English and the former political director of the Huffington Post UK. In early November the Washington Post published an opinion piece in which Hasan compares the Western media response to the ‘European’ refugee crisis, and their virtual ignoring of Africa’s refugee crisis. “Europe’s refugee crisis continues to suck up all the oxygen of global publicity”, he argues.

Hasan reminds us of comments made by leaders of Western democracies, and even the Dalai Lama, himself a refugee in India:

President Obama stated: “uncontrolled migration into Europe” is a “major national security issue” for the United States. German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, who admitted one million Syrian refugees to cross Germany’s borders in 2015, has described the refugee crisis as a “historic test of Europe”. And the Dalai Lama, who is one of an estimated 120,000 Tibetan refugees living in India, allegedly told German reporters that “too many” refugees are seeking asylum in Europe and “Europe, for example Germany, cannot become an Arab country.”

The above comments, and the following by the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk: “The most responsibility [for refugees] is and will continue to be placed on Europe,” set Mehdi Hasan reflecting.

In an opinion piece published by the Washington Post on November 3, 2016, Hasan weighs the facts between the Western World’s response to the refugee crisis and Africa’s. It makes humbling and sobering reading.

Dadaab Refugee Camp (Photo: courtesy of UNHCR)

Dadaab Refugee Camp, KENYA (Photo: courtesy of UNHCR)

In a racy and hard-hitting article Hasan compares the media response to France’s dismantling of the “Jungle” camp near Calais, with 10,000 refugees, and the dearth of interest in the Kenyan authorities plans to dismantle Dadaab camp, the largest in the world and a virtual refugee city, with over 300,000 refugees.

“We don’t often hear about these particular refugees or asylum-seekers, do we?” writes Hasan. “They are, to borrow a term from British historian Mark Curtis, “unpeople,” the poor, nonwhite residents of the developing world who tend to be ignored by the Western media.”

Hasan’s full article can be accessed by clicking here:

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