Nesrine Malik: British hypocrisy is to blame for the deadly plight of migrants

Of note:

It is often argued that once it became clear that the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting wasn’t going to tip the United States towards adopting national gun control laws, that was the moment the gun control argument was lost for good. The equivalent moment, as far as British and European attitudes towards refugees and asylum seekers is concerned, was when the body of Alan Kurdi washed up on the shores of Turkey, almost five years ago.

Despite the global grief, the front pages, the renderings of Kurdi’s little body in paintings, his elevation into a symbol of a world that had lost its way, nothing happened. In fact, EU migration policies became even harsher. Last week, the British public was again moved when the body of a Sudanese migrant, Abdulfatah Hamdallah, was found on French shores, drowned after trying to make it to Britain. In the same time frame, another more fortunate migrant made it safely to Kent, and was immediately assaulted.

This duality lies at the heart of our attitudes towards migrants, asylum seekers and refugees: an outpouring of grief one minute, a political pummelling the next. We like to think of ourselves as kind, and touched by the tragedy of specific cases, but we do nothing beyond expressing sympathy. We are horrified by the treatment of Windrush victims, but not the hostile environment and the policies that led to the scandal. We are haunted by the desperation of people who take treacherous and fatal journeys to the UK, but many of us are complicit in their fate by voting for politicians who pledge to make those routes “unviable”.

Source: British hypocrisy is to blame for the deadly plight of migrants

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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