'Behind every refugee to Europe stands an arms dealer and a killing government'

A migrant takes a selfie with German Chancellor Angela Merkel © Fabrizio Bensch
It is awful that Europe can’t organize itself and manage the refugee crisis. It’s ordinary people who are showing compassion, humanity and care for those suffering, says Jan Oberg, director of the Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research.

While far-right sentiment has been rising in Europe, a heated debate has fired up in Germany, after a photo of Angela Merkel standing next to a Syrian refugee appeared online. Social media users argue the migrant looked like one of the terrorists responsible for the recent attacks in Brussels.

RT: Why were people so quick to call the Syrian migrant a terrorist?

Jan Oberg: I am a bit surprised myself and being a photographer, too. I don’t see much of a similarity between the faces. But it can be a malicious thing. Everybody wants now to blame Chancellor Merkel for her much more humane and far-sighted welcoming policy that I think is the duty of Europe. She is, in this sense, the real European, not the rest of the bunch in the EU. It could also be one of the usual things that somebody gets a weird idea on the internet and it catches fire and it spreads all over, and people don’t think. I think it is a storm in a glass of water, unless it was someone that started this maliciously to blame her, to get more opposition against her. She has enough problems, I must say.    

Tony Robinson, Co-director of Pressenza told RT: “We have a tendency for people to believe the information they receive on the internet and through the news without really double checking what could be true or not without realizing there could be some manipulation. Another point is, there is a bit of racism and xenophobia going on here. An idea that it is very easy to confuse people who come from the same region…I think people are jumping to conclusions because there is an atmosphere of fear which is being generated precisely by the media, by politicians because they have an agenda where they want to keep out these people in order to try and follow their own political aims.” 

RT: Do you think the threat of terrorists entering Europe by hiding among the migrants is real?

JO: As far as I know, the Brussels attack was made basically by people who had grown up in Europe. And we have something to think about how we’ve treated the immigrant children or second generation people in Europe. Of course, it is possible for somebody - ISIS, or whatever - to act a role as a refugee, tell a lying story and get into Europe and form a cell. Of 1.2 million who came in last year, we cannot exclude that some of them are not real refugees or had really bad intensions. But that is not an excuse for sending refugees back to Turkey and stopping ways to Europe. The solution to this problem is two things: Stop the bombing, stop the wars, it is all a consequence that behind every refugee stands an arms trader and a killing government. Secondly, manage your affairs in Europe. It is appalling to me that the European leaders are not able to house, to care for as the Pope correctly said: We have 508 million people in Europe and there is 1.2 million coming in - that is 0.2 percent. This is a minor thing and had all these refugees instead been Jews from Israel been struck by a catastrophe, we would have received them in a different way. It is an awful thing that Europe cannot organize itself, cannot manage this crisis. We are wealthy, we should have a possibility to do that the government way, now it is ordinary citizens who are showing the compassion, the humanity and the care for those who are suffering.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.