It goes almost without saying that it is deeply tragic for refugees from a war-torn country to feel the need to travel abroad to find security and comfort. No one wants to be forced out of their home, their region or their country. But there comes a time, particularly for the elderly, mothers and children, to leave if they are to survive.
It is therefore just, humane and simple kindness to help refugees from these countries at the time of their greatest need. We should therefore welcome them with open arms and try to help them recover their lives. Their terrible plight is largely a consequence of the military actions of governments in the past, of chickens coming home to roost.
We should not wait until we see an image of a drowned toddler being held tenderly on a beach, or of a woman deliberately tripping over a man with a child in his arms who tries to flee from a line of aggressive police simply in order to get a better shot with her camera.
A people should be able to overthrow their own dictators, as was tried in the so-called ‘Arab Spring’, before all oppressive governments and rulers get help and arms from abroad.
The clear moral of this disaster is that the United States of America and NATO should not adopt a policy of neo-liberal intervention in other countries and attempt to be the policemen and soldiers of the world.
Peter Marshall is the author of over 15 books including Demanding the Impossible: A History of Anarchism.