Manager: This is an editorial from Dagbladet, and expresses the newspaper’s views. Dagbladet’s political editor is responsible for the editorial.
The debate about Norway’s reaction on the fire in the Moria camp reached a new bottom level with VGs leader mandag. It is about the government’s decision to bring 50 asylum seekers from Greece, announced after the fire that left 11,500 people suddenly without a roof over their heads. VG’s article is an example of a simple rhetoric that is spreading.
“Prime Minister Erna Solberg is not naughty when she and her government say yes to accepting 50 refugees who are to be brought out of Greece,” writes VG in a leadership position. And “Those who now demand that Norway accept 500 instead of 50 are not necessarily kinder than those who say no.”
No one has claimed that Erna Solberg is naughty, or that Norway should accept refugees because someone should feel kind. This kind of rhetoric is used only by those who argue against Norway accepting refugees, asylum seekers or immigrants. The implicit accusation is that the only reason to do such a thing is to feel better about yourself. Such a feeling is often set up as the opposite of reason.
As if there are no rational reasons to help people in need. As if the right to seek protection is not a human right. And as if the asylum institute does not depend on a burden sharing.
Fortunately, politics does not act just about self-interest and financial interest struggle. The welfare state is built on values and political decisions that are largely about caring for weaker groups in society. There is no contradiction between having a heart and having a brain, responsible politicians actually use both every day.
It is also in Norway’s interest that Europe’s borders work and that we have a well-functioning asylum institute. The situation in Greece, and in Italy, is so serious right now that it threatens the system itself. The whole idea of large refugee camps on the Greek islands depends on those who come there to process their asylum applications and travel further from there. Those who are not entitled to protection must be sent home, and those who are refugees must be settled in either the country of arrival or in other European countries. Then the other countries must also accept. A gathering of more and more people without a future or justifiable living conditions is a recipe for disaster. This is how infection can spread, this is how fires can become death traps and this is how people can be radicalized.
The debate should therefore be about how Europe can best resolve the situation there and also distribute the 4,000 children and others who should quickly move away from congested Lesvos. It is not feeling, but facts.