As members of MARS, the Migrant And Refugee Solidarity network based at Brighton University, we wish to voice our deep concern at the rise of racism and xenophobia in the UK and Europe in recent months.
The mishandling of the ‘Refugee Crisis’ is closely linked with the rise of racism: the rhetoric of fear, bigotry and hatred, the denial of our shared humanity, the insistence on a fundamental difference between ‘us’ and ‘them’. Refugees have been branded ‘feral humans’ and we have heard references to ‘swarms of migrants’, poised to invade our shores. Dehumanisation is the most basic ingredient of racism. Refugees, we hear, pose a threat to European political ‘values’, such as democracy, freedom and equality. These claims mask even deeper concerns about the identity of a White and Christian Europe. The language with which politicians and the media have discussed the Syrian refugee crisis is a poison in the heart of European society.