Press TV has conducted an interview with Abbe Jolles, an international human rights litigator, about a protest held in Brussels, Belgium, to condemn terrorist attacks and criticize security loopholes in the country.
The following is a rough transcription of the interview.
Press TV: Now, essentially in most talks about the refugee crisis being currently covered in the mass media, mention is being made of the economic, political, let’s say, ramifications and consequences, but oftentimes the case is a cultural one, is it not? Fundamentally seen, it is a cultural issue. Now, what is your take, that is, cultural take on the phenomenon?
Jolles: I’m sorry, which phenomenon is the problem?
Press TV: The migration of refugees. It is usually being seen as in the demographic in the sense of matter, and the economic impacts that it might have on the European community and the political ramifications, but many often believe that there is also very curious cultural aspect to it. Do you agree with that?
Jolles: Well, I think that these people are running from war. They’re under threat and it’s very important that they be permitted to enter into Europe. They really don’t have a choice. So, I suppose you could look at it that way, that other cultures will come with them, but these are normal people for the most part, who are victims and have had to leave their homes. And so, it’s very important that they be welcomed into Europe with open arms.
It’s very sad that there are demonstrations today by the right wing you were just speaking about them. That’s a very sad commentary, because these people are simply trying to get away from… they’re victims themselves. And they’re not…
Press TV: Essentially the crisis that these victims are facing and it’s the reason why they’re leaving their homes is partly being, let’s say, impinged on and, let’s say, contributed by from Western countries. The Western countries are partly to blame for what’s going on in Syria for instance and indeed in Afghanistan for many years. Now, why is it that when these people are leaving their homes, because they just have to, there’s a war over there, they are not treated fairly over there in Europe, in your opinion?
Jolles: Well, I think it’s the way that you see when there are finite amount of resources or people view it that way that there are finite amount of resources, they simply do not want to share. And so, that’s really the reason; but it all goes back to education and if we could educate them or begin to educate them, everybody needs to learn how to speak their languages and we need… That’s the cultural part that you were speaking about. So, it’s very very important, this issue of education.
Press TV: And by education you are offering to the refugees being educated or the local people, your opinion?
Jolles: No, actually I’m referring to the Europeans, that it’s very important for them to understand the cultures that are coming there and to understand why the people are coming and to understand that they are victims, that they didn’t want to leave their homes and travel to Europe with their little babies and their old people. They were forced to do that; otherwise they were going to die. So, it’s important to explain this.
Press TV: Very briefly, do you think that the European nations are on the right path to achieve that end, that understanding that you were mentioning right now?
Jolles: Well, I think they’re certainly not on the right path when they’re demonstrating against these poor people. That’s not the right path, but I think that we can persuade them that it is the right path as these people come in, I mean, I’ve seen many many interviews with individual refugees themselves and they are just wonderful people. So, I think that it’s important to educate the Europeans about this.