The above link to a Washington Post article echoes a theme which has replayed itself over and over again in Europe, and, of course, in the US. Everyone has an opinion and perspective about the refugee crisis in Hungary, Germany, and the rest of Europe. It’s a crisis because it’s a huge and sudden rush of humanity that threatens to overwhelm support services in countries unprepared for the massive influx of new residents.
In 2012 Europe was struggling with the same question but under different circumstances. Economic changes put officials on alert and politicians nervously prepared to block citizens from the EU who would presumably snatch jobs and opportunities from British citizens.
Now Germany is aware of the need for an increased working population, and, along with modest offers from France and Britain, is among the few nations to foresee the benefit of welcoming migrants from Syria and Libya. The immediate dilemma is clear, but what about the long-term impact of thousands of children entering school systems with little or no knowledge of the language and culture? How will teachers cope with families burdened by worry and economic hardship? What distractions of the traumatic journey at the hands of unscrupulous human traffickers?
I’m going to follow this story with keen interest, as will all compassionate educators. Not only to see how the story will play out for the 160,000 plus migrants, many of whom are children; but to evaluate how effectively these nations will be in settling so very many people who have been thrust around like nuclear waste between nations.
There will be no end of debate about the woes of incorporating so many folks into countries already burdened with humans to house and employ. Schools will struggle to welcome and educate children who had no autonomy in the decision to leave home countries. But one happy little thought I’m left with, that I mean to pass along, is the sparkle of diversity that infiltrates every community in which people seek to carve out their new normal. My time in England was enhanced by the contributions of immigrants – the new citizens – changing the profile of English villages somewhat, but also working to be a part of what has been contributed there before. All our nations have been changed and shaped by incoming peoples, and aren’t we just a bit better off for it?