David Berger and Kamran Abbasi wrote an important editorial about refugees, saying that it is time for moral leadership from Western democracies.
I cross the border between Italy and Austria by train every weekend. Italian, German, and Austrian police catch at least ten, and sometimes many more, migrants heading northwards out of each train. I have talked to many policemen about this matter and all agree that the police can’t solve migration related issues. But the most troubling issue is that I have nearly never seen any solidarity or even pity and sympathy from other passengers with these refugees. Quite on the contrary, they do everything to help the police.
I remember the time after the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 well. According to UNHCR more than 100,000 refugees fled to Austria and were welcome. Many people put up refugees in their houses. The number of refugees in Austria is much smaller now. The country is much wealthier but the political culture has tilted.
The BMJ editorial on refugees couldn’t be more topical.
Georg Röggla is an associate editor with the BMJ.