I had not heard of Imre Kertész until today, but I have been interested in Jewish history since the 1970's, Holocaust history since the 80's, and Hungarian history since the late 90's. Also, I am very interested in what is happening in Central and Southern Europe now. His voice is unexpected on the anti-migration side. Perhaps it is driven entire by his ethnic Jewishness, but it certainly seems to be drawn from a broad literary and philosophical mind, and a long history of observing Central European behavior.
There was a linked Weekly Standard article today which introduced me to Kertész. I don't know what Europe should do about an invasion which is about 25% pathetic refugees and 75% opportunists with largely economic motives - or worse. I don't blame the young men from Africa and Asia for their desire to move to a place where they might make a decent living, as opposed to the oppressive countries they come from. But neither do I feel sorry for that group. How do they rescue the one and turn back the other? Especially as the 25% is a defeated, frightened, kicked-dog group while the other is a defiant, violent sector prepared to punish anyone in their path? And are already complaining that they are not being treated right in accordance with their Muslim sensibilities? If you want a nice multiculti group with decent families moving in to help teach your children that "See? There are good people all over. Let's have them for barbecue - oh! or something - next Saturday," then these are not the droids you are looking for.
A Serbian friend, a refugee who works at my hospital said last week. "I hate, hate Milošević. He would kill his mother. But this is what he said."
A story from 1993. Our family sponsored a Haitian child from about 1986-96. In 1991, Haitians started coming across to Florida in makeshift boats in increasing numbers. Bush 41 had them steered to Guantanamo or back to Haiti, while we decided what to do with a group which was part political, part economic refugee. Bill Clinton made it a campaign issue, that he would never be so cruel as to not rescue such people, promising the US would help such sufferers under a Clinton administration.
In early 1993 the numbers of Haitians in ridiculously rickety boats suddenly increased in the Atlantic. We didn't actually rescue them in a welcoming Clinton administration. We eventually, quietly, without a lot of reporting, sent them back. Except for those who had already drowned trying to get here, confident that the calculated risk was now worth it. Their number included the father of our sponsored child. I don't blame him for trying. Why wouldn't he believe what an American presidential candidate said?
False kindness kills, and it kills the poorest and most vulnerable. I really don't know what Europe should do, but I don't see how it can absorb the millions who will want to come. They want to come to Germany, and Sweden, and France. They are trying to bypass a dozen warless but poorer nations. Yet Western Europe, for all its rhetoric, is ultimately able to slow the numbers into their countries to a manageable level. As in the years 640-1683, it will be Italy, Greece, Bulgaria, Serbia, Croatia, Macedonia, Romania, Hungary who pay the price.