Asylum applicants and the backlash against women
Should Europe accept more asylum seekers? Let’s restrict the analysis to Germany – as the German situation seems out of political control.
In 2015, not the often stated one million but about 477.000 people applied for asylum in Germany (Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge, The Economist is one of the rare periodicals/journals who gets this easily checked fact right). Of these, 163.000 came from Syria and about 145.000 came from the failed states of the Western Balkan (Albania, Kosovo, Serbia, Macedonia, Monte Negro).
Why did so many young men from the Western Balkan try to enter Germany? Easy. These failed states suffer from Über-unemployment of sometimes over 30%. The applicants however have an almost zero chance to get asylum. ‘We’ do not accept them already. Remarkably, there are almost no asylum applicants from Turkey. Why? It’s not a failed state and has ‘only’ 10% unemployment. The answer is that clear and easy. Which means that the answer to the first question is, for these applicants: we need stable Western Balkan states and jobs. Lots of jobs.
This also means that we have to restate the first question for other states, also considering the recent issues: ‘Should Europe accept more asylum seekers from troubled and failed states in the Middle East which suffer from civil war and which are characterized by cultures with a much larger gender gap than European states’ ? The answer to this question is less clear. It’s not that immigrants from these areas do not integrate. Ever more of second and third generation migrant women from the Maghreb and the Middle East are (very) well educated, avid users of smart phones and dating sites and have totally embraced the most important individual choice of western society – choosing your spouse (this book). And they want these men to be providers. But that’s not too different from what western women want, too (just ask your female students).
At this moment there is, as well all know, a strong fundamentalist backlash against western values in general and especially against independent women. Daesh is worst. Just when you thought it could not get worse (quote: ‘women exist to produce men’) you get this. A boy who kills his mum – as the government tells him to do this. Which is the Daesh message to the Islamic youth: boys are boss. Sometimes the fundamentalists even deny women the right to education and the choice of a spouse. And it’s not only the fundamentalists who deny females education. According to Amanda Mouttaki in March, 2015, “Some estimates claim that even five years post-“Education Decade,” illiteracy rates for rural women and girls in Morocco remain as high as 90 percent (though official sources put the figure at 54.4 percent).” The events in Cologne – which seem to have been instigated by a distinct group of 180 sober men – can surely be understood as part of this backlash. But that’s not the only thing. One reason why only a few Moroccan in Morocco girls attend secondary education (compared with the number of boys) is, according to Mouttaki, “For traditional Moroccan families, it’s simply not acceptable for young girls to walk to and from school alone“. Such ideas are of course simply not acceptable to western societies (and other ones). But it seems acceptable to the Moroccan state – when it comes to education a failed one. But the point: it is also not accepted by Moroccans in the west. Moroccan girls do attend school. Without their brothers or dad. Which is a very good thing. Fuck the fundamentalists and the traditionalists: that’s what the parents of these girls state.
More things are changing. And have to change. For one thing, mums in my country are, aided by apps which enable them to track the high school results of their offspring, surprisingly rapidly evolving into ‘tiger mothers light’ (personal observation, no link). No doubt, Moroccan mums are following suite (or are already leading this development…). This will necessitate a change of power inside the household: the ‘thin dark dukes’ will have to give the finger to Daesh propaganda and will have to accept that their mothers (backed by their dads) are disciplining them (about a lion dad see this book about Khalil Abu Nigme, especially chapter 9). Will the Moroccan (and Dutch) men be able to follow the lead of the women, to overcome the gender gap and to adapt to the new reality? Or will they succumb to Daesh propaganda about how sons are allowed to treat their mothers? I don’t know for sure. But it will be easier when these man can be providers, just like the women want. We need jobs. Lots of jobs.
Which brings us to one of the reasons for their frustration on which the backlash feeds is clear. Many young men from failed states in and around the Middle East cannot marry as they have no income and can’t be providers (this is not a politically correct statement in your eyes? Wash them. And look out of your university window). And part of the he answer is, again, jobs. Jobs are only part of the answer – but without jobs nothing will work. See also this piece about South Ossetia, another failed state. We need jobs. Lots of jobs.
But that’s speculation and we are out of time. The situation in Germany is already out of political control. This is at first sight remarkable. As even mass migration in manageable and the prime example to show this is Germany itself! Between 1950 and 2015 12 million people immigrated into Germany (net data, i.e. immigrants minus emigrants). As these data (graph 1) are, before 1991, only about West-Germany and as they do not take the 3 or 4 million or so East Germans migrating to West Germany after 1991 into account West Germany might well have received 15 or 16 million immigrants. After 1950. When we add the 8 million (10 million? 12 million) people migrating to the area of West-Germany between 1944 and 1950 the total number of immigrants into West Germany after World War II comes to a staggering 25 million. As far as I know (and I visit the country on a regular basis), West Germany is, anno 2015, despite this a prosperous and well organized place. So, why is it out of control right now because of a few hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers, surely as even East German unemployment is getting to record lows and was, after 25 years of ‘unity’, in 2015, finally lower than highest West Germany level in that period? Why does this new wave of asylum-immigrants lead to such political upheaval?
Is it the gender bias? At this moment, asylum seekers are on average overwhelmingly male. This has not always been the case for the total number of immigrants: especially during periods of crisis (1966, the first and second oil crisis, the post ‘Harz-reform’ years), immigration into Germany was predominantly female, in recent years a considerable number of these females, especially from Bulgaria and Romania, became prostitutes. But that was then. At this moment asylum seekers are overwhelmingly male. Or, are they? Not all of them. Graph 3 and 4 show that asylum applicants were also disproportionally young (according to German standards). And especially the youngest group (Syrian families instead of people from the Western Balkan?) is not overwhelmingly male.
The data clearly indicate a split between two groups of asylum seekers. There are some parents with young children. And whole scores of young men desperate for work. According to some, many of these young man are potential rapists and robbers. Indeed: single men are not always to be trusted, as the Regensburg boy choir scandal shows (231 abused children). Which really is a problem. Fortunately, this is coming out in the open today. Women (and boys) have to be save from sexual predators. I love pepperspray. And the open society. But back to the asylum seekers: this does indicate that large numbers of single man with traditional attitudes, no work and therefore no chance to marry really are a problem to society.
Summarizing: the numbers of asylum applicants are manageable. But is the culture the men bring with them too? The most vehement backlash against asylum applicants seems to take place in Eastern Germany – until recently another Über-unemployment area. Unemployment over there is going down as we speak – but not so much because the number of jobs is increasing. Is there a connection? Even then, the struggle against the backlash against powerful women is a cultural one and it has to be waged and the voices from the disgruntled East Germans about this are surely welcome (destroying shops from immigrants isn’t – the state has to use all its power to prevent this). But this war is being waged, fiercely, by among others many Moroccan parents who are sending their daughters to school, too. It might mean that there has to be a limit to the number of asylum seekers: Sweden has for instance reached the limit. But this struggle is also an economic one. We need jobs. Lots of jobs.
I have to thank my female Morrocan students for the inspiration.