It was only several weeks ago when David Cameron called for an immediate end to the “swarm of migrants” attempting to cross the border into England. The British Prime Minister pledged to deport people who arrived in Britain illegally. However, due to increasing public pressure the Conservative government has said that it will accept up to 20,000 Syrian migrants into British borders. This has split public opinion, many believe accepting 20,000 migrants into the country is a disaster waiting to happen whilst other think that Britain should be allowing more migrants through their borders. The conservative government has so far treated migrants as problems and nuisances but one question must be asked, who or what created the problem in the first place?
Power, it seems, is an evolving concept. The notions of power have changed, there is no singular definition of the term. Power is very much in the foreground, it drives debates in the international sphere and political arena. The influence of power is far-reaching, over-arching and at times unexpected. Above all one must not forget the old saying ‘power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely’. There is sufficient evidence on the international platform which exposes the wiles of the West.
The illegal eruption of an extended conflict which began back in 2003, the killing of Muammar Gaddafi and the drawn out civil war in Syria, to name a few. These global events are clearly either orchestrated or heavily influenced by the Western governments and yet they cannot justify adequately, the invasion and exploitation of non-western states, the constant delay of the Chilcot report is a clear indication of this point. Still, our politicians continue to manipulate us and the media is used to reinforce this fact.
Relatively, what springs to mind is the five classes of filters discussed in Manufacturing Consent- The Political Economy of the Mass Media, a book by Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman. The arguments highlight how easily the masses are swayed by the media and explores how the status quo is ultimately upheld. The book details the dominance of the neo-liberal agenda and stresses how other ideas are effectively ignored. Such is the case in our contemporary society.
The recent migrant crisis in Calais allows us to clearly see this in operation. Control of the political agenda does not necessarily have to be reinforced through decision-making. Control over individual’s preferences and real interest is a key aid to maintaining political power. Culprits include Cameron, Farage and other prominent political figures determined to dehumanize and demonize the ‘migrants of Calais’.
Migrant Voice UK, a website and social media account dedicated to changing the way that migrants are portrayed reported in the media, feel it is “particularly challenging when some media and politicians use negative language and rhetoric” when describing migrants.
There is no doubt that things must be done properly and legally. However, it must be said that, the tactics employed by our political leaders are nothing short of reckless and shameful. There is an issue of social determinism, keeping the status quo and a statement of false class consciousness; these factors by and large skew the thought process of the populations. People are manipulated, through fear and scaremongering tactics. Fear of migrants stealing our jobs; taking all the school spaces, randomly attacking us and taking our benefits, but this is simply a manifestation, of how our powerful media operates.
Governments utilise the concept of ‘power-over’, invisible power which reinforces and magnifies the sense of powerlessness in society, causing individuals to act against what is considered their best interest. There is no form of coercion or force required, as this form of power is internalized and normalized in society. It is this power that causes a strain on our democratic society and causes us to idly sit by in the face of the misfortune of others. People are left with very limited choices or none at all.
The migrant situation that we are witnessing has certainly manifested due to the decisions made by the west. American and British aggression in Middle Eastern countries are without doubt the cause of the vast majority of migrant problems in the UK. We are already aware of the circulating rumors that western countries helped to create militant groups such as ISIS by initially arming them to help with the fight against Gaddafi. However, back then ISIS were simply called “rebels” and those same “rebels” were seen as our allies, now they are thought to be the largest threat in our world at this time.
The foreign policy of our western countries can rightly be blamed for the predicament we are faced with whether it’s the situation of migrants or terrorist incidents. The power bestowed on our governments is perpetuated through the invisible hand of hegemonic domination and corruptible mainstream media. The news headlines and newspapers portray the migrants as dangerous. Bear in mind most of these migrants are genuine refugees who have survived and escaped civil war, genocide and other encroaching threats to their lives not least of all poverty. Wars which are more often than not orchestrated by western nations.
It is imperative to remember that the migrants who are attempting to cross the border into the UK are not doing so in order to create an annoyance for British migrant officers, these people are trying to seek a better life. Many of the migrants are from war-torn countries such as Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq and for those with bad memories I’ll remind you, it is Britain that has, over the past 15 years, systematically bombed every one of these countries and now we are seeing first hand one of the many consequences that war mongering agendas can have. Western countries and their citizens need to start realising that bombing other nations is not a solution to terrorist problems, it never has been.
Power is not everywhere, but rather invisible and dominates individual’s interests. Opinions are molded and controlled by the powerful. Predominantly, individuals conform to the interests of the powerful willingly without any form of intimidation but they commit solely because of manipulation. So I do not blame the public for the chaotic hysteria surrounding the crisis in Calais. As a population we must realise firstly that there is an agenda and secondly, our response to this crisis should be more measured and thoughtful. As intelligent individuals we must not absorb the negative rhetoric spewed by Mr. Cameron and co.
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