[VOM칼럼] What if Africa became the refuge?!

What if Africa became the refuge?!

A few days ago, the Japanese News Agency published a map showing the countries where the new Coronavirus had spread. In response to the growing threat to the public, the World Health Organization (WHO) raised its alert level from epidemic to pandemic.

The map displays countries invaded by the virus with the majority of the globe highlighted in red as a sign of the pandemic’s presence. As for countries where the epidemic has not spread widely, these countries include most of Africa, especially the countries of Central Africa and West Africa, which are characterized by extreme temperatures.

Meanwhile, Germany’s Der Spiegel newspaper also published an article edited by a number of journalists under the title “We are not prepared at all … “ The article talked about the German health system’s preparedness to survive the virus pandemic through containment in a similar manner to China. They highlighted that hospitals were at maximum capacity and that there was a shortage of personnel in intensive care units across 37% hospitals. Compare this with China, who built 15 hospitals in less than a few weeks, able to take care of tens of thousands of patients or with the English neighbor who managed in one of the provinces with just a clinic, taking care of 90% of suspected cases in their own homes without the need for hospitalization. Comparisons can even be made with South Korea and what it offers citizens in terms of services and efforts to contain the virus.

The point I want to highlight is that across Europe, discussions are taking place about the preparedness of existing health and welfare systems in the face of disasters and epidemics, along with discussions about the willingness to combat them.

Major and important changes occur in the world in the aftermath of disasters, wars and famines, as systems change and even ideas, policies and visions change and disintegrate to be replaced by new visions more appropriate to reality led by a generation loaded with experience that it has not quite healed from just yet. This process has taken place several times in the past and will continue to do so, the Coronavirus pandemic being the latest disaster. I’d like to make it clear that this article is not concerned with virus transmission in relation to a specific race or ethnicity and we do not hold biased opinions that suggest the virus is genetically directed towards the Chinese, Europeans, or Americans etc, but we consider the fact that the virus has not spread in hot places, especially in the”poor South” in Africa and some developing countries in Asia whose weather is also hot.

It is clear that the Europeans understood this fact, too, and began to act on it, waving calls from afar to emigrate to the “South” especially to Africa. This rhetoric fails to acknowledge the role played by European governments against refugees and “illegal” immigrants from Africa, particularly as Italy is a destination for African migrants flows.

What would happen if these calls gain popularity, and one day we see Italians, Greeks and Germans riding on boats and heading “illegally” to the Congo or to Cote d’Ivoire?!

What would happen if the immigration wave was huge in a place where Africans could not organize the situation? Will we find movements demanding governments of African countries to implement human rights and guarantee the safety and freedom of European “white” men?

There is a historical precedent. During the World War, there was massive displacement and flow of southern European peoples towards Africa. However, for this to happen again in such serious situations, it remains unimaginable under the circumstances in which we now live. The Mediterranean is full of hundreds of thousands of drowned victims of European cruelty and smuggling gangs.

Despite this, the believable possibility is that Africa will receive all refugees with open arms and without any restlessness, as this has always been and will remain a green land for everyone. Its people do not close their hearts, especially in crises.

We must join hands and exchange experiences and cooperation to fight this fierce disease and be all together without fanaticism, discrimination or racism of any kind, gender or color, this is the only and true way of salvation from all crises. It may seem like a naive invitation, but it is imperative in light of the real danger that gathers us.


♦ arabic : ماذا لو أصبحت أفريقيا ملجئًا؟!


글 | Ibrahim Abdalla/이브라  기자 (이주민방송MWTV)
영어감수 | Dr. Farrah Sheikh/파라

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