Why Do People Hate Suffering Refugees?
Millions of people are suffering in refugee camps around the world. Their lives destroyed, their loved ones murdered, their homes obliterated, they’ve been forced to travel thousands of miles to escape persecution and almost certain death. And many of us hate them for it. Why is it that these suffering individuals - many children among them - evoke such unprecedented hatred from certain factors of society. They have done nothing to deserve it, other than existing and needing help. Yet the vitriol, rage, and even violence being directed against them from the global community is astonishing. What is behind this bizarre move towards demonizing those who suffer?
In September, Hungary authorised its army to shoot rubber bullets and tear gas at desperate refugees on its border. This decision followed increasing and often violent clashes between authorities and refugees in the area. Meanwhile, nations worldwide were clamping down their borders, even when it went against their traditional and cultural principles. Britain, for example, has always drawn a distinction between immigrants and refugees. For centuries it has welcomed the destitute and those fleeing persecution - from the Hugenots escaping Louis XIV in the 1720s-70s to the Ugandan Asians trying to get away from Idi Amin in the 1970s. Yet earlier this month Britain’s ruling Tory party refused to accept 3,000 child refugees - and has made persistent efforts to limit Britain’s Syrian refugee intake. It’s a pattern which is being repeated all over Europe. Those countries which are taking more refugees in (such as Germany) are experiencing unprecedented volumes of internal opposition - and one need only flick quickly through the comments section on any refugee-related Facebook article to see the horrible vitriol with which the safe condemn the suffering. But why? Where does all of this anger and hatred come from? Why are the refugees so despised in some quarters?
Then, of course, there’s good old fashioned racism. Rationalize as much as you like, this one is always going to be there at the rotten root of everything. Some people hate refugees because it’s kinda their thing to hate people who are different. There’s no way in which you can explain this one away - it’s just a fact. There’s no rhyme or reason to it, and it’s despicable. But it’s a prime motivator for people to resent and act against the millions of suffering people struggling their way out of Syria. Shameful, but true.