Peter and I wondered what we would see of the refugee crisis that there clearly is in Europe.
We did see refugees on the outskirts of Paris as we were to driving from the airport into the center of town – perhaps we some dozens of refugees by the side of the road – usually in small groups of 3-7 people. we didn’t see any in the center of Paris. Of course, there are refugees but the numbers that we saw probably are not all that different from the number of homeless that one would see in any major city in the United States. We believe we saw some but not a lot in Greece even though we know that there are many who have sought refuge in Greece.
We have not seen any in Germany even though we understand that Germany has probably taken in more refugees than other countries. I talked to my colleague Maren, last night about this and she said that there clearly are neo-Nazis and white supremacist in Germany who are hatefully against allowing anyone but whites into their country and that she hopes that this party will be kept under control and not gain members or power but she said that the kindness is far greater from others than those who hate and fear and those who have little compassion for those suffering. She said there are websites and organizations that make it possible to donate to refugees and that she has done that and that many other people have.
I wondered how many people there actually were in these big cities that have not found at least some shelter and food and I also wondered what big and small cities are capable of doing since so much of this crisis is caused by war and so many of our countries cause wars and participate in war. It always seems to me that there are easier and less expensive ways to solve problems. But then, I’m a Quaker and we have been working on finding alternatives to violence for many years. And I would expect that there are many refugees and immigrants that could be integrated into society if society so chose.
It was Interesting for Peter and I to see the differences of the numbers by the side of the road in Paris than we had seen a few years ago but when we thought about it, the numbers were not huge that we saw and certainly the numbers we saw could be integrated into society. So, we wondered about where others were and what was being done. Of course, we don’t have answers to it but the people we talked to in Germany and France do not seem to feel that everything is out of control and there wasn’t any sense from them that “these people” are destroying their country or the country is overwhelmed. There clearly is a problem but it does make us wonder to what extent this problem is out of control and to what extent countries are doing well at addressing an international problem.
This has led to several discussions with people from the countries we were and also between ourselves.