Saturday, September 12, 2015

Refugees transforming the mood in Europe. What about the Saudi's?

 Meanwhile the US builds a wall to keep out victims of US imperialism's foreign policy.

Richard Mellor
Afscme Local 444, retired

Who knows where it will lead but the hundreds of thousands of refugees, many of them Syrians, fleeing the effects of western foreign policy in the Middle East are having a serious affect on the consciousness of the working class which is forcing governments to act.  From what I have read British Premier League football clubs are donating money from ticket sales this Saturday. Arsenal is donating $1.50 for every ticket sold.

But what caught my eye if it's true is that the thugs that run Saudi Arabia are coming under such pressure that they have taken in about 2.5 million Syrians "since fighting began in the country" news reports are saying. The family business called the Saudi Press Agency is claiming that the country doesn't consider them refugees and are free to travel the country. Hundreds of thousands have been given residency status  which means they can look for waork and stay in the country, technically anyway.

The press agency says that this is the first we've heard about it as the Saudi's "did not wish to boast about its efforts or attempt to gain media coverage.".Just love those misogynistic, autocratic religious hypocrites don't you? Oh, I forgot, they are also the world's number one when it comes to beheading people. But they're good allies of Washington and the Bush family.

This Saudi claim if it is true will present problems for them much different than in Europe. This ally of Washington is and has been one of the most brutal and violent autocratic regimes in history. Syria is or was governed by the Baathists like the US's man in Iraq Saddam Hussein. Syria and Iraq were the more secular of all the regimes in the area after the Lebanon which sunk in to years of civil war.  I was in Iraq in the 1970's  and witnessed this.  So Syrians, while Arabs and mainly Muslim, are not Saudis. It seems to me inevitable that their secular history will influence ordinary Saudi's tired of decades of persecution and lack of basic democratic rights. This will cause some problems for the theocratic regime there.

Germany: Preparing supplies for refugees.
Here are further hourly reports from the Associated Press regarding the refugee crisis. Much of it is uplifting stuff. Compare this to the waster Donald Trump, the guy that's never worked:

5:30 p.m.
France has suspended its honorary consul in the Turkish seaside town of Bodrum after it was revealed that her maritime shop sells rubber rafts to migrants. The move was prompted by a TV report from Bodrum, a jumping-off point for migrants heading by sea to Greece. France 2 TV used hidden camera to talk with Francoise Olcay in her store — which has a French flag outside and a plaque naming it as a "consular agency of France."

Olcay said she was aware that migrants are among the customers for such rafts, which are ill-equipped for a sea voyage. But she said stopping sales would "change absolutely nothing."
Honorary consuls aren't paid and often have local businesses.
5:15 p.m.
Migrant children have been applauded by 75,000 soccer fans as they accompanied Bayern Munich players onto the field in Munich.

The tribute Saturday took place before a Bundesliga game with Augsburg. The players held hands with a migrant child on one side and a German child on the other for what the club says was "a symbol for the integration of refugees."

Some of the kids waved shyly to the crowd while others simply soaked it all in — the culmination of long treks across Europe that were fraught with danger, hunger and fear. Bayern, like many German clubs, has offered support to people fleeing war and poverty. The club is donating 1 million euros ($1.1 million) to refugee projects and arranging a training camp to give youths German lessons, meals and soccer equipment.
5 p.m.
Up to 30,000 people have gathered outside the Danish Parliament in Copenhagen and are chanting in English "Say it loud and say it clear: Refugees are welcome here!"
The rally Saturday was part of a European-wide movement to welcome the tens of thousands fleeing violence in their home countries.
Moroccan-born Mohammed Harra told Denmark's Politiken newspaper "I am here to support refugees who have been driven out of their houses because of what has happened in Syria, with the bombings and the killings."
Europe this summer is facing an enormous wave of people, many from Syria, who are fleeing violence in their home nations.
4:45 p.m.
The Hungarian camerawoman caught on video kicking and tripping migrants running from police has issued a new apology after her initial one was criticized for not being remorseful enough.
Petra Laszlo said Saturday in a message on the website of the Magyar Nemzet newspaper that she found it hard to express her exact feelings because her life was now "crumbling into ruins."
Using all capital letters, Laszlo, 40, then said "I SINCERELY APOLOGIZE FOR WHAT HAPPENED TO THOSE AFFECTED."
Hungarian media say she and her family have now gone into hiding. Laszlo was dismissed Tuesday by N1TV, an Internet-based channel closely associated with Hungary's far-right Jobbik party, hours after her actions.
The channel's website has been down since Thursday after being disabled by "Fallaga Team," an Islamist hacker group from Tunisia.
4 p.m.
Some 600 French mayors and many humanitarian groups have gathered in Paris to address the question of migrant housing.

The session Saturday with Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve aims to lay the groundwork for France to take in 24,000 refugees over the next two years.  Even before the refugee crisis, France had a housing crisis for asylum seekers, with some left to fend for themselves on the streets.

Mayors attended of their own volition. Some have already said they want only Christian refugees — a notion officially frowned on. The only major French party not at the session was the far-right National Front, which is fundamentally opposed to France taking in more refugees.
3:50 p.m.
It appears that few asylum seekers want to stay in Denmark.
Danish police say 225 people crossed the border from Germany into Denmark between Friday and Saturday, and only three applied for asylum in Denmark. The rest headed north, likely to Sweden, Norway or Finland.
3:30 p.m.
The head of Sweden's immigration agency says the photograph of the young Syrian boy who drown on a beach in Turkey while trying to get to Europe "has had an impact and changed the image" of migrants.
The agency, Migrationsverket, expects 90,000 people will seek shelter in Sweden this year, a country of 10 million that took in more than 80,000 asylum seekers last year.
Agency chief Anders Danielsson told Sweden's Aftonbladet newspaper that "there is a crisis, but not for us. It is a crisis for those fleeing."
The Scandinavian country ranks among the top five European Union countries where refugees go, and is second after Germany for asylum applications this year.
On Friday night, hundreds of migrants were in Malmo's central train station.
3 p.m.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel says allowing in the tens of thousands of migrants who had piled up in Hungary was the right decision, fending off criticism from a conservative ally.
Horst Seehofer, the leader of the Christian Social Union — the Bavarian sister party to Merkel's own conservative Christian Democrats — was quoted as telling the weekly Der Spiegel that the decision was "a mistake which will occupy us for a long time." Seehofer says he sees "no possibility of getting the cap back on the bottle."

Merkel said Saturday "we made a decision last week in an emergency situation." She added: "I am convinced that it was right," the dpa news agency reported.
Merkel didn't mention Seehofer directly. She said Germany would do justice to its responsibility to help those who need protection.
2:45 p.m.
A German official says 3,600 migrants arrived in Munich on Saturday morning and a total of 10,000 or more are expected in the course of the day.

Simone Hilgers, a spokeswoman for the Upper Bavaria region's government, said that compares with the 5,800 who came Friday. At least two special trains were expected to take some of the migrants on to other parts of Germany.

Munich is running short of room to accommodate the arrivals. The northern state of Lower Saxony said it now plans to have trains from Austria run to the town of Bad Fallingbostel, and then distribute the migrants across northern Germany.

Germany takes in more asylum seekers than any other country in Europe — and expects to handle at least 800,000 this year.
1:40 p.m.
Greece's coast guard says it is searching the eastern Aegean Sea for five people — four children and a 20-year-old — who are missing when two smugglers' boats capsized en route from Turkey to the islands of Samos and Lesbos.
The coast guard said 56 others aboard the two craft were rescued Saturday.
Greek authorities continue to expedite the flow of people from the eastern island of Lesbos, where most asylum seekers reach by sea from nearby Turkey. A ferry carrying 2,493 migrants docked Saturday at the port of Piraeus, southwest of Athens, with more ferries expected later.
Those arriving at Piraeus quickly make their way by bus or train to Greece's northern border with non-EU member Macedonia. Police say about 3,500 crossed that border by foot from Friday afternoon to Saturday morning.
Greek police also found the body of a Syrian man who disappeared earlier this week near the border. He was found, apparently drowned, in the Vardar River.
12:30 p.m.
Chancellor Angela Merkel is encouraging refugee women arriving in Germany to learn the language and make new contacts.
Merkel noted in her weekly video message Saturday that women arriving in Europe "have often experienced terrible things and are also traumatized."
She said that beyond attempts to deal with that, "I can only advise women to learn the language." She said they should consider learning with their children, who may speak better German as a result of going to school — "(but) they shouldn't be scared off by that."
Merkel said she also advises women "simply to seek contacts — not to curl up and just live and work in the community they know, but try to get out too."
11:40 a.m.
Germany's vice chancellor is renewing calls for a European solution to the migrant crisis.
Sigmar Gabriel said in the central city of Hildesheim Saturday that "Germany sees itself in a situation where we are reaching limits," the news agency dpa reported. He added that "the speed is almost more problematic than the number."
Some 450,000 migrants have arrived in Germany this year, the pace picked up in the past week. The country is expecting at least 800,000 this year, the most in Europe.
Gabriel said it's important to help the region around Syria and to talk to Turkey, where migrants set off in boats for EU member Greece, about how to slow down the flow.
10:50 a.m.
Austria's leader is attacking his Hungarian counterpart's hard-line policies in the migrant crisis, arguing that it's irresponsible to say all are coming for economic reasons.
Austria and Germany are at odds with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who rejects proposed Europe-wide quotas for migrants and has drawn criticism for his management of those streaming through Hungary.
Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann told German weekly Der Spiegel that Austria, Germany and Sweden recognize the migrants include war refugees and stand by the right to asylum.
He said "Orban is acting irresponsibly when he says everyone is an economic refugee."
Faymann was quoted as saying: "Putting refugees on trains in the belief that they are going somewhere totally different awakens memories of our continent's darkest time" — an allusion to the Nazi Holocaust.
10:30 a.m.
Saudi Arabia says it has taken in about 2.5 million Syrians since fighting began in the country, its first official response to suggestions that oil-rich Gulf states should do more to address the plight of Syrian refugees.
The official Saudi Press Agency quoted an unidentified official source at the Ministry of Foreign Ministry late Friday saying the kingdom does not consider those taken in as refugees and does not house them in camps "order to ensure their dignity and safety."
It says they are free to move around the country and that several hundreds of thousands who have chosen to say have been granted residency status, giving them rights to jobs, schools and free medical care.

The report says the kingdom did not previously discuss the matter because it "did not wish to boast about its efforts or attempt to gain media coverage."
10:30 a.m.
A senior German official says people are leaving the region around Syria at a "breathtaking" rate, but is indicating that it isn't clear whether the influx to Germany will reach 40,000 this weekend.
Germany's foreign minister said Friday that 40,000 migrants were expected in Germany over the weekend. However Aydan Ozoguz, a government official responsible for immigrant issues, told rbb-Inforadio Saturday: "We'll have to see whether this figure really comes true."
Ozoguz said a lot of people are on the move, and "the pace at which people are fleeing from the region is breathtaking." She said it was "extremely cynical" of Hungary's prime minister to say people are safe in neighboring countries.

Federal police in Munich, the main point of arrival in Germany, said 1,650 people arrived there Saturday morning.

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