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The Refugee Crisis, Climate Change and Terrorism

January 26th, 2016


A number of shops in our home town of Lewes in Sussex are showing posters in their windows which feature a photograph of someone, and then under the heading ‘The Gift of the Refugee’ is a brief summary of their life and what they have brought to Britain as a gift. The refugees are from all over – Nazi Germany, the Middle East, Africa, Eastern Europe. It’s a clever idea – it turns on its head this idea that refugees will take something from us – our benefits, food, territory – and we read about the contributions they make – the surgeon from Syria, the writer from Africa and so on. On someone’s window there’s a picture of the Dalai Lama with the caption “I am a refugee.”

Several friends in the town have made collections of food, blankets and tents, and have gone over to France to bring them to the camps. One of them – the talented musician and composer Dirk Campbell – has just published an article revealing his thoughts about the crisis, about where we stand in relation to it, and about its relationship to those other worrying issues: climate change and terrorism.

Dirk has a wonderfully incisive mind – he cuts through to the heart of things in his conversation, and he applies this same talent to these issues. He writes: “to focus on terrorism while ignoring climate change is like trying to eliminate clothes moths when your house is about to collapse from rot. It is clearly the lesser problem, though it may appear more immediate and manageable.

Even in Paris, which suffered two terrorist outrages in 10 months, you are far more likely to die from overeating, atmospheric pollution or crossing the road than from a terrorist attack. And, as extreme weather events increase in frequency and food supplies dwindle, you will be more likely to die from climate change. Yet governments seize on terrorism. Why? If you want the real reason, as the saying goes, follow the money. The terrorist threat creates jobs and exports, selling munitions to corrupt governments who want to kill and displace their dissidents. And I would add, follow the psychology. The terrorist threat is easy to understand and makes people put faith in the government, which makes them easier to control. The climate change threat is hard to understand and nobody really believes the government can do anything about it anyway.”

And as regards the refugee crisis, the main focus of his piece, he writes: “To sit in comfort while people in other parts of the world are suffering and dying has always made many of us in the affluent West uneasy, but now those people are not just in other parts of the world, they are coming here. And we have hardly seen the start of it. There are two options: keep them out, or let them in.”  Read the article to find out the solution Dirk proposes.

4 Responses to “The Refugee Crisis, Climate Change and Terrorism”

  1. Yes. He does cut to the heart of it. The problems in Syria, to take just one instance out of the current roiled global soup of poverty, warfare and oppression, are very understandably causatively linked to climate change/prolonged drought. Many people in the still vastly more affluent West, perhaps most, are worked so hard and have so many worries, and so little time for anything else than the nuts and bolts of keeping their jobs going, their families together, that they seize upon what is easy to understand — often propaganda/slanted information designed to control them and to keep the hatred that supports the war machine and t’s great profit for the top tier, going. Right action can only come out of knowing and understanding the facts — and empathy. Thanks for sharing.

  2. They were all refugees: hundreds and hundreds of Lamas, monks ,nuns, and laypeople – bringing with them the entire traditional Buddhist culture of Tibet. What a debt the contemporary spiritual culture of the west owes to their courage. Well done, Lewes!

  3. Thank-you for this article – I find it increasingly distressing to read about and see the display of wealth ‘enjoyed’ my some in our society without a thought for others who are suffering. My fathers ancestors came from France but, reflecting aren’t we all descended from refugees?

  4. Yes climate change is very important, I guess, I’m not really sure. It’s also important that terrorists don’t invade by disguising as refugees. It would be great if everyone would be able to live in harmony with everything and be able to ward off enemies or change there entire nature for the good so everyone would live in peace. I don’t see that as working in the past. Without the your government a harsher one would have already taken over and you’d probably never have been created. I guess it’s hard to think about when your looking for a peaceful buzz and different levels of consciousness and unseen realities and stuff. A government made it possible for you to do that. By the way drugs mess you up. I do feel bad for the real refugees as well, so don’t attack me on that. There are just a lot of other factors.

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