Sunday, November 06, 2005

Kurdish tragedy plays out in The Netherlands

NRC Handelsblad carries a story about one of the people killed in the fire of the detention centre in Schiphol. A Kurd by the name of Mehmet Avar from the Diyarbakir region in Eastern Turkey. His family lived in Deventer in the centre of The Netherlands. Mehmet was here illegally for 14 years. He died in the detention centre fire last week. This fire was lit by a Libian detainee according to the Islam in Europe blog (hat tip, Esther!).

Basically the story very much lights out the sad plight of illegal immigrants on European soil and in the clutches of the immigration bureaucracies. Mehmet never got a legal status despite simultanious asylum procedures in The Netherlands, Belgium and France and a story of persecution by the Turkish state for agitating for Kurdish minority rights and socialism. I have to wonder if Mehmet would ever have felt any loyalty to any of these countries, had he been granted a legal status of even citizenship.

The journalist interviews some of Mehmet's family. Mehmet was uninsured and was kept alive for some time by a Dutch girlfriend. Otherwise Mehmet's brothers Ahmet and Nevim remain evasive about how Mr. Avar earned his keep for 14 years. I wonder what remains hidden here. An illegal job, undercutting the wages of legal tax paying Dutch citizens? Crime, organized or otherwise? Working and organising for the PKK or another Kurdish organisation of "freedom fighters"? These are basically the options for an illegal. None of them are beneficial to the Dutch citizens of this country.

It is unfortunate that Mehmet had to live this kind of life in the shadows. It is tragic that he had to die in a fire. And that his legal relatives feel increasingly alienated from a Dutch society that is turning away from them. But it is the way it is and it will change for the worse rather than for the better. The sooner we all understand that, including the biased Dutch media ("linkse kerk") the better it is.

No comments: