While we wait for the tsunami

Day-to-day reports of dead migrants, like the 71 found in a truck in Austria and hundreds who drown every week in the Med, are now flooding in from the borders of Serbia, Hungary and France.

When something is a megatrend, it means humans are not likely to prevent it from happening – at best they might delay it. As with a tsunami, you might escape to the higher ground, but it will sweep you off your feet if you do not hold on to something.

An unprecedented migration
The exodus from Syria is not like any other stream of refugees we have seen in the past. They are families, neighbourhood friends, work colleagues and others who could no longer live in bombed-out towns in a country whose infrastructural economy has ground to a halt. No production and higher prices make migration a categorical imperative, as philosopher Kant would have put it 200 years ago.

Syrians are not stupid. Many of them realised years ago that something might happen someday, and they prepared themselves by putting money into safe bank accounts and sending their most gifted children to universities outside Syria. They are coming here because they can no longer stay and their savings will at some point run dry. There is no telling when circumstances back home will return to normal.

A culturally rich nation
The Danish politicians know this, but they are acting as if they are sitting on high ground and out of harm’s way. We are afraid that this is not the solution. The migrants are coming and the southerly nations are not equipped to absorb them, so they will hit our shores regardless of the austerity actions of the integration minister, Inger Støjberg.

Most Syrians are French or English-speaking. They are Muslims but not overly religious. They are skilled craftsmen, nurses, teachers, lawyers and doctors with a cultural baggage that is to be respected.

Many Danes remember only a few years back how enjoyable it was to visit the Danish Cultural Institute in Damascus. Now closed down of course, but the people we met when it was open are the same people working their way northwards in Europe.

A blessing in disguise
We urge the Danish politicians to consider it a blessing in disguise. Instead of talking about the high costs, they should take a look back and see if immigration has contributed to the country’s GNP in a positive or negative way.

We know that we in Denmark have infrastructural problems between the cities and towns and land districts. We also know that we have a growing imbalance between the generations demographically.

Instead of trying to move the Danes around or encouraging them to breed more, we suggest we receive this wave of migrants as a blessing which, if handled smartly, will very soon become an asset and not a liability. (ES)