Pantelis Boukalas PANTELIS BOUKALAS

As Europe turns gray

COMMENT

TAGS: Society, Migration

While the religious leaderships of Christian Europe went to pains to remind their faithful in their Christmas messages that Christ and his family were also refugees, Europe’s political leadership did not appear particularly moved – even less so great chunks of the societies that shape the contradictory and self-seeking face of Europe.

The fact is that gray is about the most hopeful color that this part of the bloc can be colored, and it has covered much of its area. This is evidenced by elections and public opinion polls in France, Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, the Netherlands and of course Greece, where the rot of racism from the far-right part of those nations is marring the heartfelt expressions of solidarity from so many other members of their societies. This is also confirmed by the spike in hate attacks: Molotov cocktails launched at refugee camps, anti-refugee rallies, attacks on foreigners, sacred sites and symbols of non-Christian religions, enthusiasm for fences and barricades etc.

This gray rot is insidious and threatens to swallow up all that is bright and gives birth to the solidarity shown toward migrants and refugees by those who have chosen to take action in the face of intolerance: people who act in the proper Christian spirit even if they are atheists, agnostics or of another faith.

In an atmosphere where consumption fever and the commercialized “Christmas spirit” leaves little room for the true spirit of giving without expecting anything in return to flourish, the symbol of Christ as the political refugee becomes inert. You cannot use him as a paradigm because he too will become another irritating figure without a home, someone belonging to a bygone era, unwanted and shunned. The fugitive Christ is born and dies every day in the faces of the children that drown in the Aegean or in the waters off Italy, Spain and France. He dies every day in front of the walls of a West that knows how to create wave upon wave of refugees through its cold, calculating actions but is indifferent to helping the victims.

The human mind cannot predict divine will. But maybe it is not blasphemous to speculate that if the Son of God were at Stephansplatz in Vienna last week – during the time of the year meant to celebrate his birth – and seen the disgusting performance of hate staged by far-right “thespians” (men in hoods posing as jihadists, beheading Europeans holding signs welcoming refugees), he would have been unable not to utter the words: “I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not.”

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