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Home > English > Alternatives International Journal > 2016 > January 2016 > Human Migration as Crisis of Europe

Human Migration as Crisis of Europe

Monday 4 January 2016, by Ranabir Samaddar

Europe achieved continental unifi cation through economic means, liberal constitutionalism and a currency union. It set goals of peace and security that encourage everyone to be liberal with unfettered freedom to access the market, and, on the other hand, allow the European Union to follow interventionist policies near abroad. The consequences of the union are to be found in Europe’s restrictive and contradictory policies and programmes relating to immigration and refugee protection. The European migration crisis originates from this contradiction.


Crossing borders might be a banal routine for cosmopolitan elites, yet reports, everyday, show that it continues to be a death-resisting and not infrequently death-embracing journey for refugees, and immigrants in search of life and security. Yet, undeterred by the risk that borders represent, the Palestinian–Italian film-maker Khaled Soliman al–Nassiry said recently at the Sydney premiere of the documentary comedy On the Bride’s Side, “Our hearts are broader than borders.” He continued, we shall change the colour of the border from blood red to a different aesthetic... In the context of the violence and immense sufferings that borders are imposing on the people on the move, we are witnessing the production of a new culture, which is both innovative and post-colonial and post-globalisation. (1)

The entanglements between various spaces the travellers are passing through deserve the attention of scholars and human rights activists. After all, the history of humanity repeatedly shows that borders are there to be crossed. People who have chosen not to have a homeland repeatedly take decisions to cross borders, pass through them connecting the spaces they walk or sail through with new destinies that these spaces had never been assumed to be associated with. (2) Migration has emerged through the recent events in Europe as the unconscious tool of history to end the last liberal empire in the modern age.

The end days of any empire present a surrealistic picture. Blame games, last tangos and futuristic talks prevail while the end draws remorselessly close. For instance, when Syria was already burning after the Western intervention, and refugees from Syria were pouring into Europe, the glory-crazy French President Francois Hollande, on arrival in New York to attend the United Nations General Assembly, announced on 27 September that French warplanes had attacked a training camp in eastern Syria. With a flourish he said, Our forces reached their objectives: The camp was completely destroyed. Six jets were used, including five Rafales, and they were able to ensure that our operation did not have any consequences for the civilian population.

He added that France might launch other strikes in the coming weeks, if necessary, with the goal of “identifying targets that are training camps or places where we know that terrorists can threaten the security of our country.” (3)

Last Liberal Empire

Europe was the last liberal empire in history. It achieved unification after World War II through dialogues on coal and steel, peace, and economic means. It established a charter of rights, it founded a European Court of Human Rights, it curbed nationalism, it broadly attained currency union, held peace and security as the goal of the union, and, finally, as Ralf Dahrendorf remarked after the annus mirabilis of 1989 it encouraged everyone to be a liberal with unfettered freedom to access the market. So much so that countries in the east of Europe joined the union one after another to make it a true empire, two centuries after Napoleon Bonaparte had failed to create one and had provoked unwittingly the first concert of the continent in 1815. Yet crucial fault lines remained. The peaceful empire was built in the last 50 years on whiteness of skin, a particular faith called Christianity, anti-communism, stringent anti-immigration laws and practices, neo-liberal tools of economic coordination, massive banks, and geopolitically what turned out to be most uncertain for the fate of the continent: doing away with the old fuzzy division of the continent into west, middle, and the east. The present crisis of Europe in the wake of the entry of massive numbers of migrants from West Asia and North Africa is perched on all these fault lines. The immigrants are non-Europeans, they are predominantly Muslims, quite a lot of them are not white, and they have disturbed the seamless nature of the united space called Europe because the old divisions into west, middle, and the east have now resurfaced in the wake of the migrant rush.

One more thing as an introductory comment: Europe’s migration crisis follows in quick succession Europe’s currency crisis. The two in combination have dealt a blow to the liberal empire from which the latter will find it hard to recover. Is there a connection between the two? While many left-leaning intellectuals in Europe think that the coincidence was only god willed, the connections are deep and structural. Suffice to say that the European Monetary Union could not have been achieved without defining what the borders of the union were. In other words, while empires have frontiers and states have more defined borders, in this case the empire wanted to achieve state-like clarity. Thus the old historical divisions were replaced with a new seamless unity. Migration to Europe hurts the core of the unification project. If the old concert vanished into history with its failure to define the respective boundaries and borders of the Great Powers, and folded up after the Berlin Congress (1878) that divided Africa, the present union is facing the same problem of settling boundaries.

Yet the prehistory of this liberal empire is marked by massive migrations. Greeks travelled extensively and built cities in Asia and North Africa. The Romans created an empire stretching from England to Turkey. Europe between the fourth and seventh centuries witnessed what is called the “migration of the nations,” when Huns, Goths, Franks and Angles moved into new homelands, in the process creating the foundation of the nation states of today’s Europe. Around the 17th century and lasting for more than 400 years, Europeans moved from one part of the continent to another in no coherent pattern. In the core West European countries, large parts of the working classes were formed in the 19th and early 20th centuries by migration from the Mediterranean nations. In these two centuries, migrants from all over the world also travelled to Europe with ease, and Europeans migrated to the vast lands of the Americas and Australia.

In the post-World War II years, no country was more associated with guest workers, the gastarbeiter, than Europe. We need to remember all this as a necessary backdrop for understanding the current migration crisis. It will help us to ask: is the migration a crisis, or is it that migration appears as a crisis of Europe in the particular conjuncture of today?

Migration History

It is not that post-war Europe is facing immigration flows on a large scale for the first time. It is also not true that this time it is the biggest flow that the continent has received. After the Algerian war, the Algerian population in France between 1962 and 1975 doubled from 3,50,000 to 7,00,000, and France became a country of massive immigrant population. While the headlines have outlasted the media’s usual attention span this time, (4) they will inevitably fade, as they faded after the Balkan wars in the 1990s, when there were 6,70,000 asylum applications to 15 European Union (EU) countries. In fact, last year 6,26,000 people (44,000 fewer than 1992) applied to the 28 EU countries for asylum. And to be truthful, many more refugees and shelter-seekers have sought and found shelter elsewhere. Turkey hosts 1.8 million Syrian refugees, Lebanon 1.2 million, and Jordan 6,00,000. Turkey now shelters more refugees than any other country in the world, and four countries (Turkey, Pakistan, Lebanon and Iran) host as many as 36% of global refugees. Europe also wants to think that Germany and others are helping refugees, but Germany’s refugee-to-native ratio is about 40 times less than Jordan’s. In the United States (US), refugee admissions have dropped to 70,000 from a peak of 1,22,000 in 1990. (5) Twenty-five percent of the world’s refugees are in the least developed countries (LDCs).

And although the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is still the institutional focal point of refugee protection, individual governments in the rich West determine how many asylum seekers they will admit (6) while camps are mostly in the LDCs, and the structure of power and influence in the global protection regime is decidedly skewed.

If many are straggling into Europe, no one is asking how many are simply left behind, how many stopped, and, most importantly, how many are dying? Warnings of the great humanitarian disaster were aplenty in the last few years when the roulette parleys among the European powers went on with absurd regularity and monotony on stricter currency union norms. Undeterred by the Mediterranean boat tragedies, the European powers forged yet another tool against human migration. They met in Marseilles in April 2015, decided to further tighten the immigration rules, strengthened FRONTEX (the European border agency), and forged one more policy, targeting the migrants as the evil outcome of climate change.

One of the spectres looming over this script of the twilight age of the anthropocene is the massive migration to the West from the supposedly climatically inhospitable regions of the South. Millions, we are told, will want to escape the floods, earthquakes, droughts, and famines to crowd the rich countries of Europe, Japan, North America and Australia. These are the climate refugees. They sail through the Mediterranean, pass through the snow fields, cross barbed wires, and crawl into the bellies of ships, wagons, and aircraft to reach the Promised Land. This is the final disaster that will strike the world marking the end of the age of human intervention in nature—the twilight of the anthropocene.

Those historically minded will remember that this was the spectre that haunted the rulers in colonial India also in the last quarter of the 19th century when the El Nino famines struck the country, and became, in the memorable words of Mike Davis, the late Victorian holocausts. (7) In that age, climate change, social factors, abrupt economic transitions, and particular political command structures combined with devastating effect to cause millions of deaths in India and across large parts of the world. The colonial organisation of power accentuated the environmental impact on the peasantry and destroyed the customary ways of providing relief to the distressed and the victims. Famine foods (foods that rats can eat but humans cannot) and migration facilitated the spread of epidemic diseases like cholera, dysentery, malaria, and smallpox. Similarly, the managers of global governance are now worried: how will they stop migration? How are they to make these dangerous migrants resilient and stay put in the face of war and climate change? How can they find a way to make migration an appropriate adaptive strategy? How are they to prevent the travelling diseases from entering safe countries? These indeed are the concerns voiced this time by European politicians.

Yet as the present phase of migration from West Asia, North Africa and the Aegean Sea boat tragedies occur, remember that when the Marseilles discussion was taking place, migrants from Africa were sinking and dying in the Mediterranean. (8)

Tragedies of Past Five Years

Therefore, it will be good to view the present migration with some historical sense. Let us quickly glance through some of the most conspicuous reports in the last five years:

• Left-to-die in the boat on the Mediterranean: A boat left Libya carrying 72 Africans, but quickly ran into trouble and began losing fuel. Using a satellite phone, the passengers contacted a priest in Italy who alerted the authorities. A military helicopter dropped water for people on the boat and was never seen again. The boat drifted for days and then at one point neared a French aircraft carrier. No rescue operation was mounted, despite international law dictating that any ocean-going vessel must help another in distress. All but nine of the passengers died. An inquiry by the Council of Europe blamed the disaster on a “catalogue of failures” and recommended that Europe overhaul its immigration policy. The United Nations declared that all migrant vessels in the Mediterranean be considered “in distress.” That was in April 2011.

• Then on 18 September of the same year, as many as 15,000 migrants were stranded in Croatia, as the Croatian Prime Minister said his country could no longer accept refugees and began sending people up north. The migrants had been booted out from Serbia, and Hungary and Slovenia had closed their borders. Critics said that years of tight immigration policies in Europe had forced migrants to attempt ever more dangerous crossings. With European countries struggling to control the influx of migrants from Syria and North Africa, the European Council president called a meeting of EU leaders to discuss the crisis on 23 September.

• Tragedy again struck on 6 September 2012 near Greek shores, 160 feet east of Samos, when a fishing boat carrying Iraqis, Syrians and Palestinians travelling from Turkey capsized, killing 60, nearly half of them children. The boat was only around 160 feet from shore; around 45 people managed to swim to safety. Meanwhile the Greek police announced that they had caught tens of thousands of migrants trying to cross by boat or via the strip of land connecting the country to Turkey. Three months after the fishing boat accident, Greece completed a 6? mile fence along its border with Turkey with funding from FRONTEX. Bulgaria followed suit with a fence of its own. Human Rights Watch told the Guardian that closing the land bridge simply forced more migrants to opt for the “most deadly route”: crossing the sea.

• On 18 October 2013, after another boat carrying 200 people capsized, Italy rescued more than 1,00,000 people with a special rescue programme, but 2014 was the deadliest year yet for migrants. Nearly 3,500 died or went missing. Yet other European countries, instead of appreciating Italy, criticised the latter for not coordinating with them and argued that through the special rescue mission Italy was encouraging migrants to come over to Europe. The EU governments asked Italy to shut down the special mission and launched its own operation, Triton, which emphasised that its duty on the Mediterranean Sea was not rescue but surveillance with the help of data from helicopters, drones and satellites.

• The second week of February 2015 saw more than 300 migrants drown in failed crossings.

• On 18 April 2015 a ship carrying an estimated 950 people sank 17 miles off the Libyan coast with 800 people on the ship drowning. Amid an international outcry, European ministers agreed on a 10-point plan to address the migrant issue, which meant in effect systematic efforts to destroy smuggling boats, tighter border controls on refugee routes, and a scheme to offer migrants resettlement options.

• Decomposed bodies of 59 men, eight women, and four children who had suffocated in the back of an abandoned, unventilated truck travelling from Hungary were found on 27 August 2015. The police found a Syrian passport on one of the victims and the authorities believed that the victims were migrants being smuggled into Europe. The lining of the truck, registered in Hungary by a Romanian national and bearing the logo of a Slovak chicken company, was ripped from the inside, suggesting the victims had made a desperate attempt to escape. Yet another tragedy happened on the same day, with two boats carrying 500 migrants sank off the Libyan coast killing up to 200, some while trapped inside one of the boats after it capsized. Survivors said the smugglers had beaten them with sticks to keep them below the deck. (9)

• Finally, on 2 September 2015, photographs of Kurdish–Syrian toddler Alan Kurdi’s body brought reckoning to Europe’s halls of power. Nilufer Demir’s photograph of the dead body of a drowned boy lying on a tourist-heavy beach became the My Lai girl’s counterpart in this crisis. It instantly became a media sensation. European politicians claimed that they would reconsider their refugee policies. The British Prime Minister and the German Chancellor promised a more open-door policy, while migrants and refugees stuck in Hungary protested against the shabby treatment by that country’s government. No one of course forgot that the same British government had refused to accommodate the migrants trapped in the English Channel tunnel few months back. (10)

• Yet, after Alan Kurdi’s death further tragedies happened. Among many more deaths, prominent was the death of 22 migrants in the Aegean Sea in more than one boat disaster on 30 October 2015. Migrants were from Syria and trying to cross the Aegean to reach Greece. (11)

Who are these boat survivors and the boat people who died? While European powers have been playing their ping- pong diplomacy around the boat survivors, similar events are taking place nearer our part of the world. It probably began with the Komagata Maru ship, travelling from coast to coast for days and months and refused entry by the biggest colonial power 100 years ago in the early part of the last century. Then came the Haitian boat people, the Vietnamese boat people, and now the Rohingyas, many of whom after being pushed out of Myanmar do not have formal access to food, shelter, or work, and in search of secure life are now being compelled to take to the sea in perilous journeys to South-east Asian countries like Malaysia, with Bangladesh and Thailand being the main transits. Labelled as “Asia’s new boat people” their plight is being compared to the Vietnamese exodus by boat in the 1970s. But which European Power cares for Asia’s boat people perishing in the Bay of Bengal, Strait of Malacca, and Indian Ocean, with Australia denying the shelter seekers any right of entry and in fact quarantining them in offshore islands?12 And Europe needs to be reminded of the 10 million refugees in India from East Pakistan in 1971.

Outcome of European Policies

Europe’s 10-point (now 17-point) action plan is faulty, to say the least. In the first place, Europe aggravated the Syrian situation by joining the US bombings and intervention in Syria and Iraq. In trying to force regime changes in Syria, earlier in Iraq, Egypt and Libya, it caused its own borders to shrink inward. Its compromise on the issue of Palestinian self-determination had already aggravated the insecurity of a liberal empire. On top of all this, its policies against Iran and Lebanon had worsened the situation in West Asia and had contributed to the instability of the region. The liberal empire had and still has no coherent foreign policy; it only knew how to hold on to the trans-Atlantic alliance and keep on producing a consumerist happy continental economy. It is now receiving its just due. Europe now has to carry the burden of its actions and must shelter the thousands that move into the continent.

Remember the “Coalition of the Willing?” Since the US invasion of Iraq in May 2003, more than four million Iraqi civilians were uprooted in one of the largest humanitarian crises of our times. Approximately two million of these refugees lived for long thereafter in desperate conditions and legal limbo in Syria, Jordan and Lebanon, whose governments received barely any support from the international community. In comparison, only 1,00,000 Iraqis claimed asylum in the EU countries between 2003 and 2007. There were no legal routes to Europe for Iraqis fleeing persecution; this was exacerbated by the fact that the coalition troops and embassies within Iraq did not accept asylum claims. The vast majority of successful Iraqi asylum claims were made in Sweden, with European countries joining the Coalition of the Willing and later displaying not even the minimum humanitarian concern for displaced Iraqis.

The EU plan now focuses only on the Balkans. Yet, as one source mentions, through September 2015, 2,04,630 illegal border crossings were identified on this route, while 3,59,171 people attempted to cross through the eastern Mediterranean route and 1,28,619 opted for the central Mediterranean. Over the past six months, this sort of piecemeal approach allowed the crisis to spiral. The EU now wants to pay Turkey 4.6 billion to settle its borders with the latter, which implies that Turkey with that money would henceforth confine the migrants within its boundaries and not allow them to move into Europe. EU candidacy is also a bargaining chip. This is truly a “boats and camps” approach with necessary bribe to the boat and camp managers. (13)

But cash and other financial incentives to secure borders of Europe will only create greater problems for the empire. However we are mistaken if we view this step mainly as privatising security or subcontracting the security of the borders of the East. Its economic rationale must not be lost upon us.

Money as protection is not something as scandalous as the idea at first hearing suggests. After all, to protect one needs resources. With resources one can provide care, care in turn functions as an element of power. Also the fact that the global protection regime is marked by power and influence should not also astonish us to death. What is new is the fact that money, resources, care, and protection are now globally deployed to enhance the market economy, make the weak and the vulnerable also economic agents of the market. What Europe is doing today as a strategy to cope with migration marks a broader transition of the continent towards becoming a neo-liberal empire. Therefore, we have to at least have a sense of the changes in the patterns of migration flows prompting changes in the strategies of care and power.

Three Fundamental Changes

Let us note in this context three fundamental changes, each of which demands full-length scientific study. So, we can only barely mention them here:

First, today’s migration flows are massive and mixed. Thus, the way in which the Refugee Convention of 1951 conceptualised forced migration as a single individual’s decision to leave his/her country and seek shelter elsewhere is not the case today. Population flows are massive today because all types of migrants—refugees, illegal immigrants, economic migrants, climate and environmental refugees, previously internally displaced persons, asylum seekers, trafficked men, women, and children, escapees of war, violence, and natural disaster—are mixed up in these population flows. Not only are persons and groups mixed up, but the reasons to migrate are also mixed up and complex. This is the fundamental reason as to why the UNHCR is becoming increasingly ineffective today, giving rise to the protracted nature of displacement.

Second, the ideology of humanitarianism is overwhelmed with humanitarian practices that must depend on market norms. Therefore, we shall see more and more public–private partnerships in protection strategies and policies like camp management, sale of refugee products, health management, management of refugee economies, etc, and more importantly, celebrity endorsement, all of which we first saw in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Angelina Jolie began endorsing refugee causes from then on.

Third, the international legal structure of protection is becoming weaker, while on the other hand, regional protection pillars are not being strengthened. Even the fact that most of the care of the vulnerable is borne by societies across the world in informal ways is dismissed by models of global governance. Add to these the fact that war-induced population flows is not discussed at all in the 1951 convention, which refers to war only in the context of the aftermath World War II.

In the 1950s and 1960s in the last century when the refugee protection norms were put in place, the Cold War was the context. European protection of refugees now has a different context. In place of the Cold War, there is the global postcolonial predicament which flows from the postcolonial world, also flows from the poorer parts of Europe to its richer part. In this changed context, Europe does not adhere any more to global protection principles. European powers are today discussing and distributing the “refugee burden” among various EU members—something unthinkable under the 1951 convention. What will be the norm of such distribution? Wealth, the gross domestic product (GDP), population, size of the country, population–wealth ratio, labour market needs, country of first, second, and then the later order of access, ethnic or other similarities with the refugee population flow? It will be like marketing commodities and distributing public goods. Angela Merkel in fact demanded a binding quota for all EU members for relocating around 1,20,000 refugees from Italy, Greece and Hungary. (14) The transition to neo-liberal economic policies takes place this way.

In Africa, market-friendly protection and support practices are now being experimented with. In Turkey, the refugee economy is already working like an immigrant niche in the overall national economy. The immigrant niche in the market is marked by outright plunder of labour power known as primitive accumulation, distress working conditions, semi-free labour, old labour recruitment patterns, bank loans to entrepreneurs, etc. The products of this market are linked to global commodity chains. (15 ) Angela Merkel’s gesture towards Turkey during her visit in October 2015 with offers of aid, money, and allurement of EU membership is the first step towards constructing these fringe economies on the periphery of Europe towards a neo-liberal population management regime. (16) Without this capitalism cannot survive today. The global capitalist economy is fast moving from the Old aid strategies towards making the needy self-sufficient, which means making them resilient, market-enabled actors. This is one of the modes of European transition from a liberal union to a neo-liberal empire. The present crisis will be a great occasion for a neo-liberal restructuration. This will once again prove that neo-liberalism survives by making virtues out of crises. Crisis is its mode of existence. (17)

Support for Migrants

It is not, however, a story of complete cordons and enclosures. In an atmosphere of xenophobia citizens, human rights activists, pastors, labour activists and several anti-racism groups have mobilised support for the migrants. The social media wavered. CNBC reported of one poll that said that 55% of the French citizens opposed any easing of restrictions on immigration, over 4,30,000 British citizens had signed a petition calling for the government to receive more asylum seekers while over 1,10,000 lent their support to a counter petition; 51% British citizens opposed letting more Syrian refugees come to the country; 60% of Germans felt that the country could cope with the refugees arriving; 44.6% of the public wanted Switzerland’s borders to be temporarily closed; 94% of Czech citizens felt that the EU should deport all refugees, while 44% did not think that Czech Republic should be helping refugees at all. (18) More and more news started coming in recent months in Europe, including Germany, of attacks on migrant groups. Refugee camps have been attacked in some places in retaliation for the Paris killings. All the more, therefore, one can only feel proud of the migrant solidarity movements in Europe against the heavy tide of xenophobia, racism, and warmongering.

At the same time, the European powers may be thinking of what befell Rome 1,500 years ago in the wake of the entry of the Huns, Visigoths and Vandals into Roman territory, ending in the sacking of Rome. Like then, war has devastated Europe’s near abroad for the last 25 years. Neo-liberalism’s victory has come at a great cost. Also, as the recent Paris killings suggest, even though this victory may be pyrrhic, its impact on population flows (including labour flows) may be severe. We may see, on the one hand, the desperate need of a continental neo-liberal economy for new labour, on the other an equally desperate drive for securitisation involving severe restrictions on population movements. Add to this the contradiction between a pan-European vision of a continent-wide neo-liberal polity (represented most by Germany) and the nationalist politics of the smaller East European countries (represented most by Hungary and Poland).

New Neo-liberal Regime

In this context, what we are witnessing today is the emergence of a neo-liberal regime of protection, fraught with internal contradictions. We may revise therefore the thesis of Europe being a liberal empire caught in the crisis of its refugee protection policy. Europe as a neo-liberal union is forging today’s appropriate care and protection regime. Force and monetary tools—both are operating as instruments of this transformation. Population flows into the continent happen to be the occasion when the continental border enforcement and management policy will be revised. In that sense, and as the suspension of the Schengen arrangement by France in the aftermath of the Paris killings suggests, Europe has already arrived at a post-Schengen era.


(1) Jadaliyya “Borders Are There To Be Crossed,” (accessed on 2 November 2015).

(2) Some of the recent reports have attempted to trace more than thousand mile routes through which migrants have reached Europe from Syria and Iraq—manly on foot to Turkey, walking through the country, crossing the Aegean, reaching Greece, or sweeping through the Balkans from Turkey, onto Macedonia and other contiguous countries, boarding onto the trains some time to Austria, Germany, reaching as far as far as Norway, some then swinging through the north of Norway to Russia. No partition refugees even attempted such long campaigns on foot. Some reports speak of use of cell phones and other modes to gain information and track safe routes, evading the border police, etc. See for instance reports in International New York Times: “Swept up in the Migrant Tide” (p 1) and “Family Traces Path through Europe” (p 5), both on 24–25 October 2015; there were also reports of former refugees helping new arrivals to move on. See for instance the report by Barbara Surk, “Former Refugees Embrace Role as Guides for New Arrivals,” International New York Times, 26 September 2015, (accessed on 1 October 2015).

(3) Aurelien Breedensept, “France Says Its Airstrikes Hit an ISIS Camp in Syria”, International New York Times, 28 September 2015 (p 5), 5 (accessed on 5 October 2015).

(4) International New York Times predicted, “Mass Migration Poised to Rise, and Worsen,” report by Rod Nordland, 2 November 2015, p 8.

(5) Figures are from Robert Farley, “Four Myths about the European Refugee Crisis (And Why You Need to Know the Reality),” (accessed on 15 October 2015); another report speaks of 2,800 deaths in crossings since January 2015—Fulya Ozerkan, “17 Migrants Die off Turkey, 500 Rescued,” Asian Age, 27 September 2015, (accessed on 1 November 2015).

(6) Thus, country after country in Europe declared unilaterally the number of asylum seekers they would admit; “Slovenia unilaterally imposed a daily limit of 2,500, forcing fellow European Union member Croatia to also ration entry from Serbia” in “Migrant Crisis: Many Stranded in Balkans,” Agency Report, Statesman, 20 October 2015, p 8.

(7) Mike Davis, Late Victorian Holocausts: El Nino Famines and the Making of the Third World (London: Verso, 2002).

(8) Exact words of the title of the essay, “We Are All Refugees,” International Journal of Refugee Law, 4 (3), pp 365–72.

(9) International New York Times (20 October 2015, p 1), put the figure of deaths on 27 August 2015 in the abandoned truck as 71.

(10) News items excerpted from “What Is Europe Doing About Its Deadly Migrant Crisis,” (accessed on 28 October 2015).

(11) “22 Die in Aegean Boat Tragedies,” AP report, Statesman, 31 October 2015, p 8; see also on the Aegean boat disasters, “When Desperation Lures Migrants into Tragedy,” International New York Times report, 20 October 2015, p 4.

(12) There are numerous reports on the Rohingyas and Bangladeshis drowning the seas. For instance, “Back Home from Sea of Death,” Daily Star (Dhaka), 20 September 2015, (accessed on 25 September 2015); Prasenjit Chowdhury, “The Boat Is Full,” Statesman, 16 September, 2015, (accessed on 20 September 2015).

(13) Hannah Postel, Matt Juden, and Owen Barder, “What the EC’s 17 Point Refugee Action Plan Ignores,” (accessed on 24 October 2015); also on EU’s financial gesture to Turkey, Paul Taylor, “EU Offers Turkey Cash, Closer Ties,” Canberra Times, 17 October 2015, p 13.

(14) “Germany and Austria Call for EU Summit on Refugee Crisis,” PTI report, Statesman, 17 September 2015, (accessed on 30 September 2015); also “Merkel Calls on Europe for Joint Responsibility on Refugee Crisis,” Toronto Globe and Mail, 20 September 2015, (accessed on 1 October 2015).

(15) On Turkey and West Asia in the wake of the war-caused devastation and refugee flows, Nergis Canafe, “Post-Colonial State and Violence: Rethinking the Middle East and North Africa outside the Blindfold of Area Studies,” Refugee Watch, 45, June 2015, pp 7–31.

(16) “Angela Merkel in Turkey to Promote EU Migrant Plan,” AP report, Statesman, 19 October 2015, p 8.

(17) On this see Phil Mirowski, Never Let a Serious Crisis Go to Waste: How Neoliberalism Survived the Financial Meltdown (London: Verso, 2013).

(18) “How Europeans Have Reacted to Migrant Crisis,” (accessed on 10 September 2015).

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Ranabir Samaddar ( occupies Distinguished Chair in Migration and Forced Migration Studies, Calcutta Research Group.

Thanks to Madhura Chakrabarty, Ravi Palat, and Sucharita Sengupta for their inputs. - See more at: