zondag 4 oktober 2015

Humiliation is never good

Last week I thought: this goes all wrong. I do not mean that we - the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, France – accept too many refugees, because I do not know. Maybe we can handle it.

Nor do not mean that other countries - Hungary, Czech Republic, Israel - wrongly hold off the boat, because they may have their reasons.

I refer specifically to the reproaches made by the rich and developed West within the EU to the poorer and less developed East. Thus it is said that Hungary is “antisocial” and “inhumane”, and that the Eastern European countries in their opposition to mandatory quotas don’t represent “21st century Europe”.

Aren’t here the most deadly ingredients that can play in the interaction between people and states fully active again? The moral and cultural superiority of the West and the ‘primitiveness’ of the unruly countries are recurring themes. And therewith humiliation is the order of the day.

This is so bad because with a bit more historical look at our own cultural and social developments it may become well understandable that the East European countries do what they do. Don’t we ourselves wrestle with the integration of newcomers, while working on that already for fifty years. A couple of years ago Chancellor Merkel still considered integration to have “failed”. I did not agree with her, I think it goes well in many areas, but let’s not forget  that we needed fifty years for it. That experience Eastern European countries do not have. And Israel certainly not, because for such a development peace is a prerequisite for, including with Syria.

Furthermore, the seventy-year post-war peace and prosperity helped the indigenous Western European population to for the first time in world history think in completely different ways about faith, tradition, sexuality and identity. Remember the many shocks accompanied the process, at least in Holland, from the rebellion of the first prosperity-generation of in the sixties, through massive secularization, the revolt of Fortuyn and Wilders to the current debate about Blackface.

A suchlike cultural and social development apparently can only start to develop after a period of 20 to 25 years of peace and stability, the point where Eastern Europe is only now. Moreover, Hungary and Romania have had bad experiences with the difficult embeddable Roma. How ethical – or simply: wise – is it to demand of others something after twenty-five years that took us seventy years te reach?

Europe will have to deal with its member states in the way in which a state deals with its subjects. No state will oblige citizens to just take refugees into their homes. Those who can and want to do so may be encouraged. But those who are not ready to do so for whatever reasons – trouble in organizing their own life, trauma, poverty – can not be forced. And certainly not with an appeal to 21st century moral standards which originate in Western peace and prosperity and are suddenly thought to be universal.

The latter pretension can only have a humiliating effect. And does the pedantic West still not know what that means?

Also see Reluctance against the West, Half-grown and Plato disproved?