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6 years ago

Refugees: Europe closes its borders, and its heart

FRANCE 24 English
FRANCE 24 English
Helping refugees, German Chancellor Angela Merkel declared this week, is "no more or less than a moral imperative". She received a nine-minute standing ovation. But FRANCE 24’s Douglas Herbert sees the mood souring against migrants.
It’s been just 14 weeks since the photo of a 3-year-old Syrian boy, Aylan Kurdi, lying lifeless on a Turkish beach triggered a global outpouring of compassion for the plight of migrants.
The image, shared around the globe, prompted a surge in donations to refugee charities. Here in France, President François Hollande phoned Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. And Canada’s then-prime minister, Stephen Harper, was suddenly put on the defensive over his conservative government’s refugee policy in a federal election campaign that he would ultimately lose to Liberal Justin Trudeau.
(Canadian immigration authorities had reportedly turned down a pervious asylum application by Aylan’s uncle; Trudeau, meanwhile, repeated an earlier, pre-campaign promise to take in 25,000 Syrian refugees.)
What a difference 14 weeks makes.
Since that late-summer bout of sympathy, the mood towards migrants – when we think of them at all – has turned markedly more abrasive, and acerbic.
Facing down a revolt
The November 13 attacks here in Paris have injected an added note of fear and suspicion about strangers from strange lands.
Angela Merkel, fresh from being named Time Magazine’s Person of the Year, has faced down a threatened revolt from hardliners within her own Christian Democratic Union party over her open-door migrant policy.
But given the enormous pressure she’s under – her finance minister likened his leader to a “careless s... Go on reading on our web site.
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