Most of the flood of migrants we are experiencing come from third world countries. Why is this and why now? It’s necessary to understand what they are fleeing from to see why.
It’s now possible for tourists to reach any part of the globe. I have travelled to many third world countries; they are always interesting and, apart from the cost of getting there, are cheap. You may as well stay for some time once there. In the cities accommodation can be had for a couple of pounds and meals for less than that. “Lonely Planet” guide or similar provides the inside knowledge. The reason we travel to these places is because my wife is a parrot nut, she wants to see them in the wild.
On arrival, we then proceed to the more remote places where wild parrots live, usually jungle/rain forest and usually by riverboat. There’s always someone ready to take you to any place you want to go for very little money. These tales of extreme difficulty of access put about by BBC TV crews are lies. Sometimes it’s hard to avoid being taken, people are waiting for you when you get off the train/bus eager to take you on an “eco tour”.
Wherever you go, tourists have been there before you and tourism invariably destroys what it comes to see, in this case the societies in these remote areas. The locals have an intense interest in their visitors, if you sit in what passes for a bar, you are quite likely to be accosted and cross-questioned as to where you come from and what it’s like there. These days, even in remote places, the local bar might well have an internet satellite connection (to encourage the drinkers) so all traveller’s tales can now be verified.
This leads to dissatisfaction. Especially when they see the tourist bling, (cameras, money, fancy clothes etc.) Many of these remote villages have now been totally deserted by the young who have made the pilgrimage to local towns in the expectation of wealth. This rarely works out, they have little education, few skills and no contacts; a life of crime is a more likely outcome. Those left behind (the aged) meanwhile try to keep going in ever greater hardship, poverty and even starvation as most of these places run on a peasant style, agricultural, subsistence economy, that is, backbreaking labour.
Visiting these places for a week or so is very interesting. However, the filth, food, insects, illness, heat/cold/humidity, start to get you down after a while. There’s nothing attractive about poverty. If you live in one of these places, there’s nothing you can do about it, money, education and lack of contacts being the obstacles. (Everything in these countries runs on graft, idleness, nepotism and a large dollop of incompetence in my experience.) The rich minority don’t give a monkeys about the poor. There is no middle class in most third world countries. 99% of the people are poor. The 1% wealthy are intent on maintaining the status quo. The government/police/military exist to enforce this. Interestingly, in the “revolutionary” societies, the poor only change one set of masters for masters even worse.
A side issue is language. If you are a Brit, and want to learn a language, the problem is which one. Foreigners have no such problem, it’s English. The locals are keen to improve their English, another reason to talk to you. (This is the reason for the Calais encampment, they speak English not French.) The prettier ones (male and female) hang about tourist areas, hoping to entrap a Westerner into taking them back home. Surprisingly often, it works, sometimes well.
Women have a tough time. In many places, they do all the work. In some societies, you can buy a woman at the local market. They stand around in groups, togged out in their Sunday best. The last proposition I received was in Papua New Guinea where a pretty, well educated, trained and subservient girl costs around £800. (Euphemistically called “bride price”). Guaranteed to get pregnant in a year or money back! How well this works, I have no idea but the girls are eager to be bought by a Westerner, anticipating a life of wealth and ease. At no time before have I been surrounded by pretty girls so willing! On the other hand, they are virtually all skilled knife fighters (for self-protection.) In PNG you can have as many women as you can afford. Anything they might earn becomes yours. Educated women cost more because they can earn more. The men sit about in the streets and watch the world go by. (When they are not fighting that is)
The cities are even worse. The rich live in fortified buildings, often with private security. Such is the crime it’s not wise to be out at a night especially on foot. Even some of the taxis are cruising the streets looking for people to rob or kidnap. There’s a new scam being developed on every visit.
Nowadays the great beacon for migrants is travel to the first world as we all know. Only the relatively wealthy, ambitious, criminal or desperate can make this journey. The reason they come now in such numbers is the internet. The really wealthy have no incentive to travel, they would be poor when they arrived in the first world.
The first world does not want these economic migrants, these people have no education, never mind useful skills and as previously noted, are more likely to end up in crime. We have plenty of our own people similarly equipped, the only difference being a willingness to work. Any who do make it to the West are hardly likely to tell folks back home that they’ve made a big mistake, more likely to claim success regardless of the truth.
Some, of course, are fleeing from war. We should accommodate these on the strict understanding that they return home when it’s safe to do so. And we should only take families, not draft dodgers.
(Photo Credit: Harold Armitage.)