Vail Daily column: Arab apathy and the effects in Europe |

Vail Daily column: Arab apathy and the effects in Europe

Pat Mitchell
Valley Voices

World news today is dominated by tragic footage of desperate families heading in a northwest direction, from Libya, Syria, Afghanistan and Lebanon, seeking asylum and safety.

Most are Arabs and Muslims embarking on treacherous trips across the Mediterranean on flimsy boats, paying coyotes vast amounts just to restart their lives in more prosperous, safer environments.

The unmistakably horrible irony hovering over these poor people and their children is the prior attitudes toward the West, Christianity and excess in general. Norwegian, Italian, British and Irish warships become their saviors, all far from their native waters, commanded to help those in need.

My confusion: Where are the flotillas of warships and rescue cruisers from Egypt, Syria, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates determined to save fellow Arabs and Muslims and their children? Egypt’s Premier Abdel Fattah al-Sisi spent billions on the Suez Canal recently to showcase wealth and prowess among rival Arab states, and yet he cannot find it in his heart to create neighborhoods for these refugees? He would rather send them to eat cake in Europe with the infidels/Christians, creating havoc in someone else’s homeland.

Germany’s Angela Merkel, when asked last year how well Algerians, Moroccans and other Middle Easterners have thrived in the motherland, responded smartly, “Assimilation was a mistake. It has not worked.”

France’s banlieus have not fared any better, housing mostly low-income, unskilled, unemployed Muslim communities in perpetual squalor, creating a state-supported welfare and hate-filled dilemma no politician wants to endorse.

Sweden, Norway, Hungary and Britain are all re-evaluating their collective stances on this problem, balancing fiscal reality with nationalistic compassion. Voter sentiment sides dramatically with walls and fences, citizens placing blame on the Arab hierarchies and their distant memories of the Crusades.

How interesting it is that the very elements of indulgence and abhorrence of the West, within religious contexts, is trumped by safety and provision. Islam, referred to often by President Obama as a peaceful, loving religion, goes to great lengths to espouse family values and generational respect but casts its communities into the Mediterranean … toward the enemy.

Within a worldwide view of this shift from totalitarian to democratic living, we can see a trend beyond Europe. Mexican families walk through treacherous deserts to reach better lives, schools and welfare. Seventy-six percent of immigrants are now on some form of federal or state assistance, compared to 51 percent of native-born Americans. Shocking, really. Guatemalans flee drug cartels and corruption, hearing from relatives how well they are treated here, comparatively speaking. Is Latin diffidence comparable to Islamic indifference?

The question we must ask ourselves: Is it our duty/calling/responsibility as humans on the earth to find solace for this human wave of discontent? A poll should be revealing — it may come to a vote next September.

Pat Mitchell lives in Edwards.

Support Local Journalism