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Wuppertal / Kolumne

Fortress Europe

Nearly every day there are human tragedies happening at Europe‘s outer borders. For the most part, there is no reporting on it since not all of the incidents are so extraordinary that they would find their way into media. But Ceuta, Melilla and especially Lampedusa have become symbols of the desperate escape from despair in crisis-torn areas of the world. After the globally cheered case of the Berlin Wall there has been built a new one: Between the rich and the poor. It is guarded more and more effectively.

Whoever gets over this wall learns about the cynical distinction between political and economic motives, as if the escape from political persecution was nobler than the one from distress. The escape from misery is criminalised by the bureaucratic consequence. There is used the method of degradation in order to scare. Without hesitation there is spoken about “fighting refugees”, as if there was a matter of pests. This attitude becomes even more contradictory when there‘s incessantly spoken of the age of globalisation.

There is little told about the reasons for the longing after Europe: The rich nations run a dumping with dishonest trade agreements (EPA) which paralyses whole economic sectors in Africa and in other parts of the world; There are restructuring programmes dictated to the IWF and the World Bank which destroy the basics of the livelihood of a large part of the population. And just as calmly the export of such weapons, from which the persons have to flee sometime, is supported. Nobody wants to be responsible for the consequences of these politics.

More and more affected persons are questioning this disturbing situation by talking about their experiences. With their stories they do not only break out of their anonymity, they also overcome their speechlessness. By providing an insight into the refugee‘s world and sorrow and showing the tragedy, they fulfil an important function of literature. Also, they contribute to the development of a new consciousness and urge to a humane understanding of globalisation: A globalisation which is not restricted to movement of goods and capital, but can be understood as a fair arrangement of the world’s society.

Walter Benjamin had pointed out this humanistic challenge more than eighty years ago: “Human beings as a species are at the end of their development for thousands of years, but mankind as a species is at its beginning.” The longing for Europe only arises from the hopelessness in the deprived societies. And Europe is not innocent of this.

Dr. M. Moustapha Diallo

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