So of all of the crazy and inhumane plans put into place regarding refugees, the latest one come from a town in Switzerland, of all places. In the land of the impartial , the town of Bremgarten will ban refugees and asylum seekers from libraries, swimming pools, playing fields and most shocking of all—churches.
Given the treatment of refugees in nearly every place in which they find themselves, this, on the surface , should not surprise anyone—and yet, it does. It shocks. It infuriates.
The mayor of the town, Raymond Tellenbach claims that these measures have been made on the grounds of concern about “security”. Every time someone’s rights are denied or curtailed, it is done in the name of “security.” I don’t even know what this really means anymore. `
To say that the issue of refugees is a “hot button” issue is putting it in its mildest terms. It is worse than a scandal. Racism and restrictions on refugees goes hand in hand and is inextricable from one another, though those who speak out against refugees , condemn their very existence and have an appalling lack of concern for their welfare, is couched in terms that elicits the most heightened human reaction: fear. And we know what the color of fear usually is. The rhetoric surrounding the rights of refugees in particular and immigrants in general is usually aimed right where it will garner support: your jobs, your land , your life. Is it going to be THEM or you and your family.
No matter where you stand on the religious divide, whether you are a believer or not, Pope Francis, a humanitarian, spoke out against the treatment of refugees, which he called a “global indifference.” But I would take exception with Pope Francis on only one issue: the so-called “indifference”. Indifference seems to imply a turn of the head, a closed eye, a “not my problem” kind of an attitude. But no. This is worse. What the world is seeing now, is the rhetoric of hate, aimed to hit its target. Aimed to intimidate an already vulnerable population of people, who , for the most part, had no choice in leaving their homes. It seems that the world has forgotten what a refugee really is. They have no choice. They leave everything. Change is difficult . For the refugee that change comes at the highest human price they will ever have to pay.
But instead of Mayor Tellenbach realizing what a difference he could make in his small town and how these refugees could, no doubt , contribute to community life, in time, with the support of those around them, he chose to, in essence quarantine his own people against what he perceives as the enemy. This is stupidity on such a grand scale, I don’t have a name for it , but give me time and I will come up with something.
To make matters worse, the head of Switzerland’s immigration office and a host of other politicians, most of them local, support Tellenbach’s decisions.
Right now, Switzerland, formerly very welcoming to refugees, has more asylum seekers currently than any other country in Europe. While this has caused worry and resentment, politicians would do better to educate their citizens and put measures in place to help acclimate refugees so that they can live productive lives.
If the citizens of Bremgarten are afraid, can you only imagine the fear of the poor refugees who find themselves there?
Historically, poorer countries take in more refugees than anyone else. For a town like Bremgarten in a country like Switzerland who has resources but nothing but ill will , there is no excuse.
Unfortunately , with measures like this, racism, segregation, and hatred will not only become the norm, but will become an accepted response in other places around the globe, in the future.
Say hello to the new Apartheid!