Arbeit Macht Frei : Work sets you free

The Great Migration: “We are seeing something unprecedented in human history.” UN News

In an earlier article, I mentioned that we had dinner with a French tourist – a psychiatrist who works in a hospital in Berlin. She had been here in New Zealand on a walking holiday for a couple of weeks when we had dinner, in the first week of January.

I was very keen to hear how things are going in Europe these days. In particular, I  wanted to ask a few questions about how the local people are coping with the 1.1 million migrants that arrived in Germany in 2015  and the ones that have arrived since.

She was travelling alone, so  she was a really good person with whom  to discuss the question of personal safety, particularly for women in European cities.

Also, she works in a hospital. I had read some horror stories from medical professionals in Europe about the way migrants behave in hospitals and treat doctors and nurses (particularly the women) and wanted to know how true this was.

So, after some general chit chat, I asked the question of what life was like for the locals in Europe these days  bearing in mind that Berlin had just announced a safe zone for women for New Years Eve. She hadn’t known about the safe zone in Berlin, as she had been away travelling, but the general answer to the question was, everything is fine.

What? It can’t be. I don’t believe it.

So I tried another tack. Did she meet up with a lot of them with mental problems in the hospital?

She said no. Another surprise. But her next comments were the ones that really surprised me.

“I am a psychiatrist, and there is not much I can do to help them, because their situation is uncertain. Most of them realise that they will not be staying, so their prospects are not clear.”

Not staying?

“Yes. We have taken them in while their own countries are at war, but when the situation at home is resolved, we expect them to go back home. In the meantime, we allow them to work in our factories. But no, they will not be staying.”

Do the ‘refugees’ know this?

Turkish ” guest workers” at Düsseldorf airport in 1970. Source: DPA

Germany has a history of this. They are known as Gastarbeiter (guest workers), and over the last few decades, many of them came in from Turkey to take the menial jobs that most Germans do not want. They would be granted visas for a limited time period only, and would have to go home once the time is up.

So basically, she is telling me that these are just more Gastarbeiter?

In 2016, Angela Merkel is reported to have said that majority of migrants would be expected to go home once the wars in their countries mainly Syria and Iraq are over. But pictures of Syria these days show that there will be very little left of a country to go back to. And what of the large number of migrants who are not from Iraq or Syria but have jumped on the sympathy bandwagon and are actually from Pakistan, Afghanistan and North African countries?

It is quite clear that Germans are being appeased by their Government, which assures them that the migrants will not be staying. This woman was absolutely sure about it. But I cannot see how this is ever going to be effected simply because of the sheer numbers of migrants, if nothing else.

Merkel quoted that 90% of migrants from the Balkans went home once the conflict was over. That may be true, but surely this situation is different. I’m not sure I believe the figure of 90% anyway, as we have a large number of Balkan migrants here in New Zealand, and none of them seems to have the slightest intention of ever returning home. They travel back for holidays, but New Zealand is home now.

It seems most unlikely that migrants would uproot themselves from their home country, travel a dangerous route (country shopping along the way), arrive in a country with absolutely nothing but the clothes they are wearing, learn the language, find a job, work for a while  and then head off back home as if it was all just some kind of working holiday.

Germans are being fooled. Very few migrants will ever go home. Very few will work either. She admitted that only a few are currently holding down jobs.

But what was also interesting was her choice of language. ‘We allow them to work’ was what she said, implying that the population and Government of Germany has the whole thing under control, as part of some grand master plan.

I don’t think it does. I don’t think it has this situation under control in any way, shape or form.

How many people are going to want to return to countries like Iraq and Syria described so well by Donald Trump this week (well, he was talking about Haiti and El Salvador, but the description still applies) when they can live in comfort and welfare heaven in a place like Germany?

Germany has a big problem on its hands. But in the meantime, if you are wondering why there is not more outrage from the German people about the situation in their country, the reason is not just because the media is not reporting it. (Although it is true that the media is not reporting it.) The German people are being duped by their own Government into believing they are the modern day the Samaritans of the world, and when they want this issue to go away, it will.

It won’t.


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Accountant. Boring. Loves tax. Needs to get out more. Loves the environment, but hates the Greens. Has been called a dinosaur. Wears it with pride.

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