Recent attacks in Germany show folly of its open door to refugees

PUBLISHED : Monday, 15 August, 2016, 5:11pm
UPDATED : Monday, 15 August, 2016, 10:17pm

Recent terrorist attacks in Germany conveyed a message to people all over the world that there are now few countries in the world that are safe to visit.

Some countries and regions have already issued a travel alert for Germany, which until now has generally been regarded as a safe place. It is nevertheless true that some travellers are now diverting their itineraries in Europe (“Chinese tourists shun Western Europe in wake of violence as travel to France drops 15 per cent”, July 28).

Before these attacks, the chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel, had already been seriously criticised for her lenient polices on immigration. The assaults inevitably provide her political antagonists with a chance to declaim against her asylum policies and her Christian Democratic Union party (“Merkel defends handling of refugee crisis after German terror attacks”, July 29).

As the first female leader in Germany and the most powerful leader in Europe, Merkel has maintained a position on Forbes’ list of the most powerful women in the world for eight years. Most prominent leaders in Western world hold her in high esteem, but her open-door asylum policy has not gone down well.

According to figures revealed, about two million migrants flooded into Germany last year. Merkel’s decision to accept more political refugees from Syria and other countries at war demonstrates her kindness and clemency towards those living in harsh situations. However, as a political leader, she ought to be more rational, especially in the areas of national interest and security.

The recent attacks in Germany originated with a new immigrant and a refugee from the Middle East, a hotbed of terrorists. On July 19, a teenage Afghan refugee wounded four Hongkongers in an axe attack on a German train. A few days later, a German-Iranian teenager opened fire in a mall in Munich, killing nine people.

Disappointment at the open door to political refugees has caused tension between local people and the new settlers, which may possibly result in more xenophobic attacks. In May, I read that a Chinese female university student was killed in the eastern German city of Dessau while out jogging near her dormitory in the evening. It struck me at the time that the tragedy was somewhat connected with the locals’ dislike of foreigners.

Germany is now in a dilemma about its immigration policies. If Merkel’s government cannot deal with the migrant crisis properly, it may put Germany in jeopardy and leave a stain on her political life.

Barnaby Ieong, Macau