Should the new Danish law on seizing refugees’ valuables also demand refugees give up their second kidney?
Last week, among other controversial amendments to the country’s Aliens Act, Denmark adopted a law authorizing the country’s officials to confiscate refugees’ non-essential belongings valued at over $1,450 to partly cover the costs of hosting migrants. As if the indignities of fleeing one’s country with only a couple bags and a suitcase due to economic deprivation or war wasn’t enough, now Europe’s governments want to strip refugees of what meagre valuables they have in order to supposedly cover the costs of the refugee crisis.
You can be assured the millionaires and billionaires of these same war-torn countries aren’t coming in on foot or on boats, but rather their private jets fly them safely to somewhere in the Swiss Alps. These are the poor and destitute middle class, left with nowhere to go and no option but to run. They leave behind their properties, families, and jobs, and take with them the bare essentials, only to arrive in Europe and be mugged of any non-essential valuables, which I assume means we benevolently let them keep their underpants, combs, and toothbrushes. Yet why not go all the way? Why not deem kidneys non-essential and force all migrants to give up their extra unused organs to help cover the costs of their resettlement? Why not pull the gold from their teeth while we are at it? Europe has a proud history of that, don’t they?
This isn’t about money; the money is there all around. This is about humiliation and punishment for the crime of poor people daring to venture into our prosperous land. Rather than thieving an heirloom a Syrian refugee had handed down from his grandparents, we could create a Robin Hood tax financial speculation that could raise billions. Or there is also the stopping of corporation subsidies worth billions, or maybe closing the offshore tax havens, or crazy ideas like ensuring billion–euro companies start paying their fair taxes. The list goes on. Then, let’s not look at the billions stolen and flushed down the toilet in financial fraud that not a single banker has been accountable for, yet our tax money has bailed out. So we had the money to prop up their casinos, but not enough to house homeless refugees?
There is no shortage of money, only a shortage of compassion and justice, and an excess of sadism and greed. Robbing poor people of the valuables they bring from a war zone or dire poverty is sinking to a new low. To read about the popular support this policy has in the UK, Germany, and other European countries makes me deeply ashamed to be a citizen of a Western democracy.
To add insult to injury, the very reason we are on the receiving end of this wave of migrants is that we have spent the last 200 years using the third world as our sweat shop. We have exploited their natural wealth, made them clients of our arms industry, and ensured vicious and violent regimes remained in power so they can stay in poverty, we can live the way we do, and Western companies continue to accrue colossal profits without question. The third world is poor by design, not by chance.
When the blowback of centuries of violence and pillage spills over into our sanitized world, we then have the audacity to steal any personal items they bring in of value, after stealing or destroying anything of value in their home countries before they got here. I can’t help but stare, mouth agape in disbelief, at how fucking unbelievable this practice really is.
But who knows? Karma is mysterious, and maybe in a hundred years it will be our descendants fleeing Europe in search of a safe haven, and if greeted with the same hostility, our children’s children can rightfully point the finger and lay the blame squarely back at us.