I have been following with interest the recent German elections which seem to indicate a continuing if not growing trend of right-wing parties making significant inroads in parliamentary representation not only in Germany but in several other western European countries. The anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany has for the first time gained parliamentary seats at the expense of the more established parties, such as the Christian Democratic Union and the Social Democratic Party.
This is an interesting development which could potentially change the dynamics of European politics. It is widely believed that the relatively poor showing of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her party resulted from a perception that she was too ‘soft’ on the refugee issue and on foreigners, especially Muslims.
This is unfortunate, especially when seen against the millions who seek refugee status in several European countries, in particular Germany, France and Britain. Many of the refugees are from the Middle East who risk their lives and those of their children to escape being killed or persecuted.
This tendency by the electorate to punish parties that are taking humanitarian and liberal positions on the issue of immigration is an unwelcome development, and runs counter to the principles of shared humanitarian and a world without borders. We live in an increasingly globalized and interdependent world, and issues of marginalization, social exclusion and poverty must be the concern of all responsible governments.
Nationalistic thinking and putting country above humanity is inconsistent with the vision of an integrated global community and must not be allowed to take root. Ethnic/religious intolerance, ethnocentrism and xenophobia are alien to the human spirit and should not be encouraged or promoted, especially by those in positions of power and authority.