Fear for the unknown

Today, I came across a quote from Shakespeare: "In time we hate that which we often fear." It is pretty current, as Forum voor Democratie, a national right-wing party, has recently become the big winner in the provincial elections in the Netherlands. I have to say that it wasn't entirely a surprise, as similar sentiments can be found in many countries in Europe and the US. The refugee crisis has caused people to view strangers as something negative. In times of scarcity, it is hard for people to share their limited resources, let alone to total strangers coming from a far place. Many countries could not properly handle taking up that many refugees, so the resulting crimes and unrest made the people scared and even hate them. The most easy and straightforward solution would be to close the borders and build a high wall, ignore it until it goes away by itself. People consciously or unconsciously chose for the road with the least resistance. But it won't go away. It is better to confront our fears and tackle this big problem bit by bit, step by step. There is no easy solution. We try, we might fail, but we need to keep on trying until it works out. We have to invest in the refugees first, so that they can become full, participating members of the society. Starting with better housing, mental health support, and ways for them to earn their own living in a non-criminal way. Once they are self-supporting, they will no longer be a cost, but a contributor to the local economy.

We need to give first, before we receive.

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