Tuesday, 20 December 2016
Murder at the Christmas Market
As long-term readers know, I am not a fan of the "No Borders" movement. I think it sentimental, brainless and dangerous tosh. Speaking as a migrant myself, the hoops I jumped through to get my spousal visa and indefinite leave to remain made me less sympathetic to illegal immigrants. As I filled in all the paperwork and waited out my period of banishment, I grumbled but I respected the laws of the United Kingdom and the right of its citizens to be protected from foreigners who wish them ill.
Although I have lived in the UK for seven years, I don't believe I have a moral right to live here. My British husband, however, has a moral right to live in the country of his birth with his wife, no matter how foreign she may be. Meanwhile, the United Kingdom has never disenfranchised Canadians who are permanent residents, so I vote in all applicable elections. I also participate in Scottish public life as a Catholic journalist, a volunteer, and a guest at Robbie Burns Suppers and other cultural gatherings dear to Scottish hearts, including Edinburgh's German-style Christmas Market.
That said, the perpetual experience of being a foreigner has slowly led me to find common cause with the biggest migrant group in Scotland, as you may have noticed. (I hasten to add that as members of the European Union, to which the UK still belongs, the Poles DO have a a moral right to be here.) I have also joined the most traditionalist Catholic community recognized by the local Ordinary and become even more conservative in my views. Having a tendency towards mood disorders anyway, I have been on anti-depressants for years. All these things--gravitating towards other migrants, religious traditionalism, conservatism and even psychological disorders--may be (may be) normative to the migrant experience: Ed West wrote an interesting book on the subject. As the native of a high-migration city, I am perfectly familiar with the phenomena of close-knit immigrant communities and post-migration conservatism. Ed West's findings about mental illness and migration were the biggest revelation. Whether a tendency towards joining parallel communities--or becoming more conservative--is more good than bad, I do not know. Can it be problematic? Certainly.
This is all a prelude to this morning's news with is that the man who murdered an innocent Polish lorry driver and plunged his steel-filled lorry into a crowded Christmas market in Berlin was a "Pakistani asylum seeker."* I am furious on behalf of the dead, the dying, the maimed, the bereaved and the frightened in a way I would not be had the murderer been an honest-to-God refugee from a war-torn country.
I would still, of course, been angry that an Afghan, Syrian, Iraqi or Nigerian refugee had repaid German generosity with murders and maiming. I would still deplore Merkel's ridiculous invitation--which effectively weakened the borders of all the countries between Turkey and Germany. However, the murder was not a refugee from a war-torn country, but an opportunist---rather as the Frenchmen of African and Middle Eastern heritage who abused women in Cologne last New Year's Eve were opportunists.
That said, France belongs to the EU, so the French citizens among the men had the right to be in Cologne. They were opportunists only in that their French citizenship made it easy for them to go to Germany and assault local women. The Pakistani murderer, however, was an opportunist in that he took advantage of the confusion caused by hundreds of thousands of so-called "asylum seekers" to enter Germany (on, incidentally, New Year's Eve), reside there, and carry out his attack. Pakistan is not at war. A 23 year old Pakistani may indeed be an "asylum seeker" but unless his life is truly endangered by living in Pakistan, he is scarcely a "refugee."
What kind of monster would murder an innocent lorry driver and then plow his lorry through a crowd of merry-makers? Germany is no stranger to terrorism, and a German neo-Nazi bombed a Munich Oktoberfest fairground in 1980. But this lorry-driven-into-Christmas-market-by-asylum-seeker aspect is new--or nearly new, as it sounds suspiciously like the lorry-driven-into-Bastille-Day-crowds-by-Tunisian massacre earlier this year. The most significant differences--for me, not (obviously) for the victims and their families--is that Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel had--at least--a proper residency permit and had been living legally in France for ten years.
Naturally many pundits will see "Pakistani" and jump at once to thoughts of Islam. However, there is no evidence as yet that "religious" motives played any role. I am thinking merely of Germany's compromised borders and the sheer idiocy and immorality of putting one's own countrymen--and other members of the European Union--at risk to accommodate hundreds of thousands of strangers who could find (or had found) refuge rather closer to home. The primary task of the state (and for some, the sole justification for the state) is protective services. Migration is normal, desirable and inevitable, but it must be controlled.
*Update: The police are no longer sure the murderer was this "Pakistani asylum-seeker". Thus, my whole post has been robbed of immediate relevance, for there seems to be no clue as to who murdered the Polish lorry-driver and all those people. For all we know, the murderer was a native German of German parentage. But given the various terrorist events of 2016, I doubt it.
Update 2: The cousin-boss of the murdered Polish lorry driver wants people to know that the victim went down fighting. He says the police confirmed that his cousin had injuries consistent with self-defense. The victim was six feet tall and weighed well over 200 lbs, so his boss-cousin thinks it took more than one guy to subdue him. In some cultures, this is still a very important consideration. Cześć i chwała bohaterów.