Wednesday, April 05, 2006


I've been hearing a bit about that other immigration problem, Bush--the one involving Africans making their risky bid to get to Europe to find work. About a thousand of them have already died this year, apparently one in five who are foolhardly or desperate enough to make the attempt. There was a report on their horrific journey last night on the BBC World News. Theirs is a truly sorry plight. The people coming north from Mexico have miles of desert to cross, and it has been widely reported that many die a miserable death along the way. The Africans in question make an equally perilous crossing, six hundred miles of often treacherous Atlantic ocean from the west coast of the continent to the Canary Islands--their gateway to Europe.

This side of the Atlantic, we tend to see our problems in the perspective of our geographical isolation from the other continents. But I have been arguing for some time, Bush, as you'll remember, that the "illegal immigrant" crisis in this country is only a part of a world-wide crisis. It's hardly suprising that those who are suffering from hunger, disease and deprivation in their native lands--and who see prosperity elsewhere in the world around them--would tend to move to where there is at least a slim prospect of work and money to send home to the family.

My argument for some years now has been that the world's population growth must be managed with the whole earth in mind, and with the whole arsenal of weaponry at our disposal including, importantly, sex education and birth control. (Apologies for the military metaphors, Bush, but this if anything should be one of those political "wars on..."--fill in the blank--that you presidents like so much.) The concept of nations, I predict, will soon have to be modified or sacrificed in the light of the new reality of shifting populations, shifting climatic patterns, disease, and other global changes. People will not only vote with their feet, they'll change the face of the earth with their stampedes, and there's nothing that restrictive immigration laws and border controls will be able to do to stop them. We have sufficient evidence of this already.

I read somewhere recently that this is not a socio-economic problem but an evolutionary one. I know that you personally have a bit of a problem with evolution, Bush, but you'll surely agree that we humans have a powerful survival instinct. We will do whatever is necessary to protect our lives and those of our children even if, in today's world, that means leaving them behnd and wiring money from a distant land to meet their basic needs.

Rules, regulations, laws--no matter how stringent or draconian--will prove eventually powerless against this most basic of human instincts without taking it into account. This, I believe, is what needs to happen. Our understanding and compassion for the whole of our species has to grow, and our boundaries and the laws that govern them must change to reflect that growth. Nothing else will work. Unless, of course, you happen to believe with your evangelicals that it's all a part of the endgame God is playing with His prime creation.

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