The photo of drowned toddler Valeria is heart-wrenching and tragic. It is almost impossible to offer rational commentary on an image like this without seeming heartless and cynical (while the actual cynicism is that that is precisely why this photo is so widely used). The photo represents a revisitation of when three-year-old Aylan Kurdi drowned in the Mediterranean Sea in September 2015 and Europeans were bombarded with the shocking image, which played a big part in the triggering of the migration crisis that started shortly afterwards and continues to this day. Emotions have their place in political discourse, but reality always, inevitably comes knocking again. Dealing with problems in reality requires a realistic, rational approach; getting sad or upset may feel cathartic, but it is not going to solve anything.
Why did my opinion about immigration and refugees not change upon seeing that horrible photo of little Aylan? Because it was immediately clear that opening the borders would mostly draw more desperate people to attempt the dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, and inevitably that more people would die doing so. The photo of drowned Aylan appeared to be the prelude to the opening of the borders, and the only winners in that scenario are the human traffickers who make fathomless amounts of money by profiting off of the wretched combination of war over there and open borders here. Tragically, that is exactly what happened.
Those warning that ISIS fighters would blend into the masses of refugees in order to make their way to Europe were called ‘hysterical’ and even when evidence started to emerge, the denial continued. Within months, official estimates were that ISIS had sent hundreds of fighters to Europe as refugees, and still nothing changed. Multiple terrorist attacks have since been carried out by ISIS fighters who came or returned to Europe as asylum seekers, but the common sense that foretold of this was denounced as hysteria – because we were not supposed to be rational at all. We were explicitly supposed to only be emotional about the fate of the refugees.
One may think that this does not reveal the deliberate pursuit of a political agenda. Perhaps not, but consider this: while the tragic photograph of Aylan Kurdi was featured on headlines and TV talk shows for days, if not weeks, on end back in 2015 – the same media have systematically refused to show any image of the victims of Islamic terror attacks. One child killed in Barcelona in August 2017 was photographed in a bone-chillingly similar pose to Aylan Kurdi. We did not and will not see this child on the news the way we saw Aylan Kurdi. Why not?
Because of the narrative. The establishment narrative of open borders, appeasement of Islam and crushing the right, crushing nationalism and moving further towards political globalism. To the mainstream journalists engaged in the activities described above, these goals outweigh human suffering. These goals outweigh the deaths of innocent children.
We are not supposed to think sensibly about asylum seekers coming to the West, but we are not supposed to get too emotional about the victims of Islamic terrorism. Therein lies the crux.
While Angela Merkel’s “Wir schaffen das”-speech in August 2017 symbolically opened the gates to Germany (and Europe by extension) for immigrants, the tragic death of Aylan Kurdi and the confrontational photograph led many Western leaders and citizens to proclaim their support for immigration. Europe saw increased support for pro-immigration politicians and organizations, and at the same time people in the Third World took Merkel’s words as an invitation.
Immigration to Europe, particularly by sea, reached a peak in the following months, with most migrants by far applying for asylum in Germany. In all of 2015, 1,257,030 people applied for asylum in EU member states. In 2016 this number was practically the same: 1,205,095. We know that less than 3% of the migrants who reached Italy by sea in 2016 are actual refugees fleeing a warzone, according to a UN report. In 2017, that number has gone further down, to 1.4%.
Anyone who is concerned about the fate of actual refugees should oppose the mass immigration that Europe has been dealing with, as it is the asylum seekers from safe countries who are eroding public support for refugees, straining asylum processes in Western countries to the point of collapse and bringing crime and welfare abuse to the West. If pro-refugee Westerners would be rational beings, they would acknowledge this – but they are guided by emotion in stead of ratio. Unbridled emotion dictates that we must help everyone and is not hindered by considerations of the effects this will have on Europe, its culture, its citizens, its welfare states and its safety.
The selective use of confrontational footage in the mainstream mass media serves the purpose of distorting political discourse and manipulating political opinion. That is precisely how the photo of 23-month-old Valeria is being positioned. The mainstream media are engaging in emotional blackmail of American citizens with the aim of having immigration restrictions lowered and the borders opened. What happened to Europe can and will happen to the US as well if the left-wing establishment gets its way. I hope the American people will be sensible enough to resist them.
For the sake of Americans, and for the sake of all the would-be migrants who would lose their lives making dangerous journeys to illegally cross the border. Stop making human traffickers rich, stop making desperate people risk their lives and the lives of their kids. Build the wall.