The Slovenia Times

Acclaimed philosophers offer their views of refugee crisis


The panel examined the theme of the festival, "Barbarians ante portas" (Barbarians at the gate), from various aspects, including the roots of the refugee crisis and Europe's response to it.

The moderator, Bosnian-born writer and scholar Igor Štiks, said the terror attacks in Paris and the assaults on women in Cologne aroused irrational imagination in people about dangerous migrants.

Flemish essayist and political sciences professor Peter Vermeersch, who has written an essay about razor wire for Fabula, on the other hand argued the problem was a lack of imagination.

A lack of imagination is especially evident in the search for a solution to the complex issue of the refugee crisis, as is a lack of responsibility in the running of a single European policy.

Vermeersch also drew attention to the metaphoric language used when talking about refugees, speaking about a wave or flood of refugees as if they were a natural disaster.

French philosopher Jean-Claude Milner, one of the most prominent living proponents of the Lacan school of structuralism, explained the term barbarians.

The word was used by the Ancient Greeks for people who did not talk, which to them was everyone who did not speak Greek. That is what the Europeans are doing today as they describe migrants as barbarians.

According to Milner, fences create barbarians on both sides. "On the one side we have people who can hear but won't listen and on the other people who can talk but don't say anything."

Alenka Zupančič, a philosopher of the Ljubljana school of psychoanalysis, is concerned about the razor wire, which should be shocking although no one is even pretending any more to even speak about it.

She believes that migrants are only an excuse for political crisis in countries. "Before the refugees were here, we were asking ourselves why give money to the unemployed loafers, while now we're asking why we are giving money for migrants when so many of our own people are out of a job."

Croatian philosopher Srećko Horvat argued that the migration crisis was part of a broader geo-political crisis, and the search for solutions went in the wrong direction.

These will not be found in multiculturalism, quotas or by exporting problems and solidarity measures are in vain. This is because the refugee crisis is a result of US interests and the interests of those who see their opportunities in the countries refugees come from.

Serbian essayist and journalist Teofil Pančić said that migrants sought to come to the West in order to live as westerns today: they did not want Islam or socialism but jobs and an opportunity to shop.

Milner begged to differ, arguing that some Muslim migrants would face a major dilemma if Islamic State survived. Some will get actively involved in its activities, others will support it passively and the rest will be considered traitors, he said, paralleling the situation to communists in former Communist countries.


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