The Visible and Invisible Story of the European Migrant Crisis

Lanza, C. and Cristini, H. 2017. The Visible and Invisible Story of the European Migrant Crisis. in: Sadik, G. (ed.) Europe's Hybrid Threats What Kinds of Power Does the EU Need in the 21st Century? Newcastle upon Tyne Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Chapter titleThe Visible and Invisible Story of the European Migrant Crisis
AuthorsLanza, C. and Cristini, H.
EditorsSadik, G.
Abstract

The rise of brutal violence and civil wars across the MENA countries and in Africa have triggered the largest migration flow in contemporary history. Migrants, mostly Muslims fleeing the multiple on-going conflicts and wars in the MENA region, are still expected to reach EU coasts, and they come by the millions instead of a few thousand in the past. Faced with this situation, European countries, as a whole, have found themselves much unprepared strategically, politically, and economically to handle this crisis. In addition, EU member states’ responses have lacked any kind of coordination so far. More specifically, when looking at the EU members’ reactions through René Girard’s theoretical lenses, it seems they focus on two apparently polar opposite arguments: the economic or the security argument fomented by Islamophobia. In fact, both arguments are identical in so far as they treat migrants as scapegoats hampering their integration policies and, thus, worsening the social discord between the autochthones’ community and the minority groups. In particular, when security reasons are argued, migrants are suspected to be potential infiltrators, while when economic reasons prevail, migrants are de-humanized and objectified. Either kind of policy addresses the migrants' issue as a threat arising from a (constructed) homogeneous group, leaving out any attempt at a sustainable integration. These approaches act as divisive tools likely to engender social discord within national communities, fomented by xenophobic narratives. Yet, conversely, the over-optimistic stand that pretends that the migrants flow in Europe will work as an economic bonus for the overaged European population equally fails to successfully address the problem of integration. This paper explores how both EU states’ responses are a failure because they do not solve the root problem of the migrants’ crisis, which is the unresolved conflict between two mimetic extremisms: modernity perceived by some, as secular fundamentalism and Islamic fundamentalism both epitomized by nihilism and endogamy. As light is shed on the visible and the invisible migrants’ conflict resolution side, we analyze how this issue may turn out to be the catalyst to help the European states and the Muslim communities reform their “model of politics”. Should both parties fail to take steps in this direction, chances are a cycle of clashes will progressively escalate the conflicts between these extremes, on the one side over utilitarian, rational and technocratic regimes, on the other fundamentalist and radicalized states or organizations that are their mimetic doubles. This paper discusses the possibility of a new path to break the mimetic chain that is based on resentment and responsible for entrapping the conflict in the dialectic of a fake clash of civilization.

KeywordsMigrant, European Union, Mimesis, Rivalry, Integration,
Book titleEurope's Hybrid Threats What Kinds of Power Does the EU Need in the 21st Century?
Year2017
PublisherCambridge Scholars Publishing
Publication dates
Published01 Jun 2017
Place of publicationNewcastle upon Tyne
ISBN9781443881791
Web address (URL)http://www.cambridgescholars.com/europes-hybrid-threats

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