You may have heard about the wave of refugees pouring into Europe. Perhaps you've seen them on TV. We're in Europe and they're pouring this way, so we get a lot of coverage. I don't know what the coverage looks like where you are, but this is what I've seen. I've seen people arriving to Greece on a boat that looked more like our blow-up kiddie pool. The people said they were fleeing the war in Syria. Parents wept as their children, alive if not well, were placed on firm ground. I've seen refugees in Greece aggressively fight with locals - locals overwhelmed by the sheer number of people arriving on their shores. People were everywhere, going everywhere, even into people's backyards and homes. I've seen women and children lined up at a train station in Hungary while guards minded them with sticks and dogs. I've seen a journalist kick, trip, and punch refugees including children trying to escape from guards. I've seen groups of male refugees deny women and children aid passed out by guards, throwing the food, water, and clothes in the trash or on the train tracks. I've seen bodies floating in the sea. I've seen groups of Germans welcome refugees at the station. I've seen comments to articles that I cannot believe are written in free Europe and not Nazi Germany with one commenter suggesting the trains full of refugees go straight to Auschwitz. I've seen Polish support rallies interrupted by opposition. I've seen heated, but polite political debate. I've seen a person opposed to refugees spit on a supporter.
Many people in Poland are opposed to taking refugees or at least that's what I get from the newspapers, television, and my Facebook feed. Not all people opposed hold the same feelings or to the same degree. Here are some as I have seen them...
They question if those refugees flooding into Europe are in fact from Syria. They wonder where all the women and children are and why the refugees have smartphones. They question why those who reached Turkey didn't stay there. They wonder why they don't flee to countries with more similar religious backgrounds and why those countries have not offered to take them in.
Many are upset about the seeming lack of policy and/or procedure concerning people arriving via boat or on land. They point out that other countries process refugees in a different way. They are skeptical of Germany's loud cries of "welcome" and see it an attempt at atonement for WWII.
Some wonder at Poland's ability to absorb the numbers Poland has been asked to take. Many scoff at the irony of so many Polish people emigrating in the last few years due to the poor economic situation in Poland and lack of jobs and wonder where their assistance was. They joke that the refugees will escape from Poland as soon as they see that our social benefits are not as generous as in other European countries.
Many are skeptical at the refugees/migrants/immigrants ability and willingness to assimilate to Poland's culture and religion. Many are worried that the predominantly Muslim migrants will pressure the government to allow Shariat for them and then extend it to others. They remind me that as an atheist, punishment of death awaits me and my family.
Many simply do not want any person category "other", other nationality, other language, other religion, other color. Some protest against those "dirty Muslim terrorists". Still others while looking at the pictures of drowned children say, "Good. They would have grown up to be terrorists anyway."
I don't have the solution. Frankly, I don't want anyone to pressure the government to make legislation according to their religious beliefs. I wouldn't like it if refugees did it, and I don't like it when Marzena Wróbel does it either. I don't want them to die either. There has to be a better way.
Were you hoping for more out of me?