Dear Europe . . .
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!
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!
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.