Submitted by Raúl Ilargi Meijer – The Automatic Earth
Sign on Greece/FYROM border Nov 2015How black would you like your Thanksgiving Friday slash weekend? Many Americans don’t even appreciate the term, or the events, at all anymore (or so they say), but the idea of getting what you don’t need, or want, on the cheap, will still prove irresistible. But then, when all of your desires have been fulfilled, food wise and gadget wise, and you’re still feeling empty, maybe we can help and offer a sweeping redefinition of the term Black Friday.
Since we live in times that see many other things on the verge of being sweepingly redefined, too, and imminently so, perhaps that’s only fitting. How about this, for starters? Black enough for you?
Turkish state media say six children have drowned when boats carrying migrants to Greece sank in two incidents off the Turkish coast. A wooden boat smuggling some 20 people to the island of Kos capsized in bad weather off the Aegean resort of Bodrum early on Friday. The state-run Anadolu Agency says most of the migrants made it to shore with the help of rescuers, but two sisters aged 4 and 1 drowned. Their nationalities were not immediately known. The agency says a second boat carrying as many as 55 migrants from Syria and Afghanistan sank hours later off the town of Ayvacik, further north. Four Afghan children drowned in that incident, Anadolu reported. Ayvacik is a main crossing point for migrants trying to reach the island of Lesvos.
Or have we already all gotten too blasé about those dead babies by now? They’ve been washing up on those beaches for half a year or so, after all. How about those who survive the seas, and then get stuck behind a razor wire fence halfway to their preferred destinations?
Remember the men who had sewn their lips shut? Not even that is enough for more than a few hours of media attention anymore. Not nearly as much as being suspected of terrorism; that sells much better than desperation. So, presumably, will being in the way of goods of ‘important’ companies like Sony and HP’s goods reaching their destination, even if you can’t reach yours. Life is all about priorities.
A protest by migrants on Greece’s border with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) is putting railway operator Trainose at risk of losing major international clients. Migrants have over the last few days been protesting FYROM’s decision not to let them cross from Greece. Many migrants have camped on the railway lines connecting the two countries, which means that no trains have come in or out of Greece for the last week. This means that the freight Trainose is responsible for carrying has not been able to reach its destinations. The railway company serves major international clients such as Hewlett Packard and Sony.
Is there a better way to sum it up than this sign at the Greece/FYROM (Macedonia) border? We doubt it.
Or perhaps there is a better way after all. The absolute cluelessness of Europe’s ‘leaders’. Here’s a brilliant example of the gap between them and the real world:
The EU risks suffering the same fate as the Roman empire if it does not regain control of its borders and stop the “massive influx” of refugees from the Middle East and central Asia, the Dutch prime minister has warned. Mark Rutte, whose government assumes the EU’s rotating presidency in January, said southern EU countries had yet to implement policies agreed to stem the flow [..] Mr Rutte said Greece, where more than 700,000 have landed this year, might have to increase its “reception capacity” to at least 100,000. Athens has so far committed to about half that, insisting that it does not want to become a giant refugee camp.
“As we all know from the Roman empire, big empires go down if the borders are not well-protected”, said Mr Rutte in an interview with a group of international newspapers. “So we really have an imperative that it is handled.” [..] Mr Rutte said the EU needed to act quickly to stem the migrant flow, adding that he was optimistic that Sunday’s summit in Brussels between President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey and EU leaders would help ease conditions by providing €3 billion to improve refugee camps in Turkey and disrupting the “business model” of human smugglers channelling migrants in boats to Greece.
It’s all still about ‘stemming the flow’. Actually, it’s more about that by the day, and that’s precisely because ‘stemming the flow’ doesn’t work. The idea is that the Greeks do more .. yeah, what exactly? Tell dinghies loaded with desperate refugee families, half of whom suffer from hypothermia, that they should turn around? What, to get back to Turkey? So Turkey can send them back to Syria?
That’s just nonsense, of course, the product of malfunctioning neurons. Then again, there’s too much of those going around Europe to mention. The above quote is more remarkable for a few other things. First, to claim that the Roman empire went down because it didn’t protect its borders is so contentious no serious historian would want to claim it as his/her own.
And that’s without asking how the Romans should have implemented that protection. Second, say we take Mr. Rutte’s assertion at face value, then the only peoples those borders should have been protected from, the ones who actually sacked Rome, were the Barbarians. Rutte, ergo, compares the Syrian refugees to Barbarians. And that doesn’t look all that smart.
And now that the article mentions Erdogan, and the €3 billion he’s been promised by Europe, as well as the fast track route into EU membership, let’s see what he has to contribute to Black Weekend.
First off, he had two prominent journalists arrested on espionage and related charges for publishing an article way back in May about his own secret service people smuggling arms across Turkey’s border with Syria. And Brussels is going to reward this interpretation of ‘freedom of the press’ with €3 billion?
Then of course he had a Russian jet shot down this week, maybe just as a patsy to the US -or others-, maybe to avenge Russian bombs falling on transports such as that conducted by those same secret services, or oil deliveries from ISIS managed by his son. That’s Erdogan’s Thanksgiving Turkey: Arms out, oil in.
What should be clear is that shooting down a Russian plane, and under questionable pretext to boot, is not done. Whether you do it to please someone else or just yourself. Turkey will lose a lot more than those €3 billion in tourism and trade with Russia once Putin gets on Erdogan’s case for real (and Russia will not forgive this no matter what other policies need attention), so Brussels can figure out where the money will go. Russian tourism in Turkey alone brings in $2.7 billion a year. And it’s been halted.
Turkey claims it gave 10 warnings to a plane that might have been in its airspace for 17 seconds (a highly contested claim), only to shoot it in Syrian airspace?! It claims it hadn’t recognized the plane as being Russian? Since they apparently fire at anything that moves, what do we think would have happened if this had been an American plane? Or a French one? There doesn’t seem to be anything Turkey has said about the incident that rings true.
But then, that’s the case for so many things so many people say. In the meantime, our morality -let alone the high ground- is washing up on Greek beaches with those babies whose lives our societies don’t deem worth saving, the lives we judge to be not worthy of living.
Our honesty, our sense of fairness, our decency, basically all things that various prophets have proclaimed are the most important qualities in life, are washing up lifeless on cold deserted patches of sand. And ‘we’ are seeking to further vilify Russia and tempt it into acts we ‘must’ respond to. We are aligning ourselves to that end with Erdogan and Saudi Arabia, the main supporters of those we claim in public to be at war with.
Here’s how this works: If the end justifies the means, and we make sure there never is an end to this, then arms will continue to be traded, profits will continue to be made, and lies will be told till no-one can tell up from down, since all means are justified until the end of time.
That this leaves us morally utterly rudderless then becomes just another one of those justified means. Anything goes.