“….Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!
“….What I have just written goes beyond emotion. It is in the realm of duty. There are things we must do whether it makes us “feelgood,” or not. We cannot watch people perish, when it is within our ability to save their lives. We cannot let people starve and thirst, when we have food and drink enough for their succour. We cannot look away. Or rather, we must not look away, hide our heads and our wallets, or we will deservedly go to Hell. Our “feelings” on this are beside the point: this is a moral imperative.And yet these refugees have no “rights.” Indeed, one has little of anything, when floating across the Mediterranean in an open dinghy. We have duties. The whole situation is quite opposite to that presented by the talking heads, when they try, so feebly, to reason. We do not “owe” these people citizenship or anything of the kind. They are refugees, not immigrants: we do not have an obligation to confuse these categories. They are “entitled” to be grateful for what they get; and to wait, peaceably, for legal status, wherever they have landed, according to our laws. We do, however, owe them succour. Why?
Because they are Christ, washed up at our feet; because they are the Holy Family; because they are Joseph, and Mary, with their Child, fled from Herod.
At the moment, facing millions (actual, not rhetorical millions), all we can do is feed, clothe, and shelter. For the catastrophe has happened. The opportunities for hypocrisy are huge, and we will avoid them only by acting intelligently, in good faith. Those who demand action by the state’s emergency services are wasting their breath: of course these agencies have gone into action. The question for each soul is rather, What can I do? This does not depend in any way on “collective responsibility.”
Should we want to go there, we will, as I have argued recently, look plainly at our own collective role in creating this crisis. As I explained, several days past, “we” in the West have played the most significant role, except the Daesh itself, in creating the conditions by which it has flourished. We scotched, but did not kill the serpent. I think it is morally incumbent on us, collectively, to go back in with boots unambiguously on the ground, and finish the job we started. And this, even if we don’t want to.
For the cause of the refugee crisis must be addressed, and that is the Daesh; and only by annihilating the Daesh can the crisis be eventually resolved. Alternatively, it will continue to spread. It is on our heads that we allowed it, and on our heads that it will ultimately fall.
But in addition to American, I should like to see Canadian, Hungarian, Greek, German, Swedish, French, Italian, and many other styles of boots on the ground. For the Yankees are still carrying most of the water, and they are not our servants.”