Van Diemen’s Land, Monserrat, Barbados, Devil’s Island, Gulag, Gitmo, Manaus, Rwanda

The ongoing debate over the British Government’s decision to deport those seeking asylum in Britain to Rwanda has thrown up all kinds of reasons to justify such a policy, not all rational, well thought out or legal, writes Fr Bobby Gilmore.

For the first time in two decades, we are now seeing an increase in the amount of people living in extreme poverty, ending a period of historic poverty eradication.
Borge Prende, President of the World Economic Forum

You won’t have a name when you fly the big aeroplane
All they will call you
Will be deportees.
Woody Guthrie

Spokespersons for this Rwanda policy claim it is an antidote to human trafficking carried out between the north coast of Europe, particularly France, and Britain. This is the end journey for an exodus out of Africa, parts of Asian subcontinent and the Middle East.

What seems extraordinary about this whole sorry saga is that the security services of Member States of the European Union and Britain are unable to curb the activities of those in the trafficking business. It would be understandable in the past with the lack of surveillance technology that those engaged in this human exploitation would elude border security, but not now.

However, few if any, as in the past, are asking why these desperate people who use the service of traffickers are leaving home, risking life and limb, for unknown, unfamiliar, unwelcoming destinations. And why so many make Britain, Europe and the United States their destination of choice? Here’s why.

Firstly, down through history it is well documented that people follow wealth and investment. It is now a well-documented fact that Britain, the City of London, is the favourite secure destination for global oligarchic wealth from all over the world. It is then dispersed with service expertise available to safe offshore havens around the world, particularly in British-ruled territories, such as Cayman and multiple others beyond the reach of relevant regulation authorities.

Indeed, it is well documented that even development aid received in developing nations from northern aid institutions and governments is hived away in such offshore havens. Debt, a modern colonising instrument is prevalent.

Underdevelopment is a reality leading to common violence, high levels of poverty, unemployment, scant public services, poor education and health systems. Many people from Central American states are leaving because of common violence invisible to the naked eye of an outsider or tourist, as is institutional corruption.

As in history, people decide it has to better elsewhere and they leave. Then it was anecdotal information. Now, their television screens show that to be true. The history of their nations and their colonial connections generally determine their destination.

A good example from the past would have been people from the former British Caribbean preferred to cross the Atlantic to Britain rather than emigrate to the nearby United States.

Irish people migrated to Britain rather than France even when graffiti said in capital letters-no Blacks, Irish or dogs. People from the Asian subcontinent preferred Britain before anywhere else. Evidence of this is the number of the descendants of such people in the British public life and institutions today.

So, it is not a surprise that people from the former European empires are socially attracted to this or that European metropole. It is probable that most of those people crossing the English Channel have social connections going back into the distant past with British colonial rule.

Second, globalisation structures that promoted the free movement of capital, goods and services ignored structures need to facilitate the movement of people. Immigration reform was and still is ignored. However, selective migration is taking place in the form of draining developing countries human assets needed for progress. Note the presence of expertise from underdeveloped countries, failed states, working in all aspects of the British, Irish and European economy.

Yet, European states insist their immigration policies are working. How can they be working if they are selective in draining underdeveloped states of their trained human energy bands? Are these receptive states in Europe remunerating those developing states whose human capital they have and are pillaging?

Third, war, conflict, religious, political and social persecution are forcing people to flee. The present Russian Ukrainian conflict is a good example. Unnecessary misdirected wars more about regime change than resolving problems have caused confusion, disarray, destitution and uprooting of many. The so-called war on terror with no visible tangible enemy has caused havoc in many rural areas of the developing world.

Millions have become unhinged from their ancestral homes forced to move to edge cities and new refugee cities in many parts of the world. Arms manufacturing economies in the Britain, Europe, Russia, China and the United States arm a variety of factions to protect their interests and keep the arms manufacturing industry not just viable but tremendously profitable for companies and their shareholders.

Over the centuries European empires have used trafficking in human beings a central pillar of occupation, colonisation and ethnic cleansing. Deportation of political troublemakers, the dislikeable in society and orphans were victims of institutional trafficking served a purpose. After the atrocities of the Holocaust were exposed, a shocked world decided that international declarations were necessary to protect the defenceless against the abuse of state power by opportunist politicians.

However, these declarations agreed to, signed and ratified by governments, need the constant protection of the courts to be effective as is the case at present involving the British government’s deportation of asylum seekers to Rwanda.

It is risible to imagine that creating a new deterrent such as deportation to Rwanda will slow the movement of people and put traffickers out of business. Traffickers will be offering a service as long as there is absence of cohesion between northern rich developed destinations and the leadership in undeveloped countries.

Immigration are not a threat to western democracies, kleptocracy is.

The poverty of our century is unlike that of any other. It is not as poverty was before, the result of natural scarcity, but of a set of priorities imposed upon the rest of the world by the rich.
John Berger

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