of the Lazy Literatus

An Open Letter to Europe.

Dear Europe . . .

gaiwan writing

Yes, this concerns all of you. Hey! Sit down, Luxembourg! I don’t care how small you are. You founded this damn coalition, so you have to stay here, too. Okay, y’all settled? Grand. Let’s get started.

As a very outside observer (i.e. a ‘Merican, if you will), it seems to me that you have yourselves in quite a human rights pickle at the moment. The shores of Italy and Greece are swamped with refugees.

Shut up, Britain! Yes! They’re refugees, not migrants. I know you Limey bastards like to mince words, but not this time. Can I finish? Much obliged.

Anyway, your shores are teeming with refugees, and there seems to be a lot of hullabaloo about what to do with them. Or whether anything should be done at all. And I’ll be honest; this shuffling of feet over a tried-and-true humanitarian crisis is really quite . . . appalling.

Seriously, you know the situation is bad when Germany is the voice of empathy out of all of you. Freaking Germany!

angry german lady

No offense, Fräulein, you’re a lovely country, but you’ve gotta admit . . . this is all very out of character for you. In a good way, of course!

So, let’s face facts.

Hundreds of thousands of refugees are at your doorstep. Most of them are from Syria. Others come from Northern Africa, Afghanistan, and a scant few hail from the Balkans. But overall, we can all admit, the vast majority of ‘em are escaping the Syrian wars. (Yes, plural.)

The reason – aside from the obvious – is something you all are probably not familiar with. And – to be honest – I wasn’t aware of it, either. I had to be enlightened by (I hate to admit it) a friggin’ Upworthy post, which condensed Syria’s difficulties into one easy-to-understand comic strip. I hate everything about Upworthy, but this time . . . they actually hit the mark. I’ll give you, fair countries, time enough to read it.


Okay, so what did you learn? Shut up, Italy. I don’t care if you have bread overcooking. Anyone else?

Yep, that’s right. A sizeable portion of these Syrian refugees are former farmers. A record-long drought forced them from their livelihoods, and that cascaded into political unrest. Climate change is the likely culprit.

The question becomes, then, what do you do with a bunch of displaced farmers? Right . . . you let them farm. But where? I know all of you are claiming you have no room for refugees. And, Germany, I have no clue why you think can take the brunt of 800,000 of ‘em . . . but you go, girl. However, you shouldn’t have to.

Okay, show ‘em, Spain. Yes, Spain, you have to show them. Goddamn it, Spain, just stand up and show them! Nobody cares about your damn lisp! Get up there!


See that?

That’s right, you twits. Entire villages are on sale in Spain, right now. For the price of a flat in London’s bad areas. The last resident in one of these abandoned regions died decades ago. Let me repeat that: Entire. Villages! And Spain’s not alone in this.

According to some estimates, Europe – as a whole – will have 30 million hectares of abandoned farmland, due to urban migration, by the year 2030. That’s a helluva lot of land. That includes Spain, Portugal, Poland, Greece, Italy, and more.

Yes, even you, Britain.

Piss off to you, too!

Okay, let’s review. Millions of hectares of abandoned farmland, and hundreds of thousands of displaced farmers are seeking asylum. Seems pretty obvious to me.

Why not pool all your resources, divvy up the farmers among yourselves, subsidize individual farming collectives, and see what they can do? I, myself, blog about tea from unusual growing regions. I would leap at the chance to try Spanish-grown tea cultivated by Syrians. Or Polish-grown. Or Greco-grown. Italy, I know for a fact that you’re growing tea in Tuscany, right now. France, I know you’re at it, too.

Okay-okay, you don’t have to make ‘em grow tea, but you can make ‘em do something. These refugees on your shores are a blessing, not a curse. Most of your populations are dwindling, anyway. Yes, I’m looking at you again, Italy. It would be a shame and a half if you turned them away, just because they weren’t . . . well . . . white and Christian.

So, why not give ’em a shot. Seriously consider the tea garden collective thing. Or any sustainable farming practice. The potential is waiting at your doorstep.

That is . . . unless you all have a better idea.




Didn’t think so.


The Battle of Five Tea Rants


Colluding with a Kullad


  1. Ok, that is a brilliant idea!! I feel like maybe this should be sent to Europe, make EVERYONE read it!

  2. Interesting post. I definitely need to learn more about this issue. It seems difficult enough to keep up with social issues in the U.S, but I will read the Upworthy post. We are a small “global” world after all. I like how you said these countries should consider refugees a blessing, not a curse.

  3. I understand what you say but I am afraid it is that easy/simple.

  4. Margo Hutchinson

    And give them tea while they are waiting for answers. Russia now says they will support Assad…let them…Russia fighting ISIS perfect! An authoritative leader is better than the chaos they have now or ISIS

  5. Although I agree that we (that is Europe) should play our important part in taking care of these people (much more than we do now), I also think that we should not do it on our own and that the biggest polluters should certainly pay their part of the price too. (http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/ghgemissions/global.html#four)

    But things are not as simple as they seem. There are reasons why Spains farm villages are getting empty. Reasons that have to be solved before the refugees encounter te same problems.

    • Agreed. The USA also has to play a larger roll in this crisis. After all, the situations in Syria and Iraq are kind of our fault.

      But the situation, oddly enough, is as easy as it seems. Europeans just don’t want to be inundated with Muslims.

    • Good point @bram – the fields are abandoned for a reason. It’s all pretty complicated…

  6. Wow, Geoff – your blog is beautiful. Haven’t visited for a while now but I think this is visually the most attractive one yet. Anyway, it’s great to read that you too are concerned by this crisis, even though it is playing out thousands of miles away. I think the more people think about the current situation and come up with ideas, the better. Thanks for writing down and sharing your thoughts.

    • They’re very simple thoughts, and don’t think for a second I think the U.S. shouldn’t take in the lion’s share. We’re the ones who escalated this mess.

      And it’s all thanks to your other half . . . the site, I mean!

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