The partly hostile reaction of European citizens to the ongoing and growing refugee crisis shows yet again that too many people struggle with accepting change as a natural part of life.
Millions are fleeing from war in the Middle East, Afghanistan, Northern Africa. Many of them look for a better life in Europe. But a significant number of European citizens does not approve. They are afraid of change. They think they are entitled to that everything stays the same.
This is a wrong assumption. Change is inevitable, and has always been. Each new shift of the century the world looked dramatically different than during the shift of the century before. But many people don’t want to acknowledge that. They grew up with the mindset of change being something to avoid A mindset of everything having to be in a certain way, forever. Or at least as long as they are alive. The fear of the reactionaries, xenophobes and racists in Europe is not that the values of democracy, freedom and secularism are threatened by immigration – even if they sometimes pretend so. Their actual fear is change.
Their fear of change drives them into the open arms of right wing extremists, demagogues and populists. People who do nothing but lie when they promote their idea of that we simply could ignore what is going on around the borders of Europe. Unfortunately, as history has told us many times: People who are driven by fear make stupid decisions and support dangerous and toxic causes.
The unwillingness of embracing or at least accepting change leads these people to the belief that helping those fleeing from war and misery is an option, a choice. But it is not. Not helping those looking for shelter now will backfire later, with more fundamentalism, terrorism and destabilization around Europe. And in Europe of course.
2015 is a great year to embrace change. To stop fearing change. To put aside the misguided assumption of that change can be avoided if one only tries hard enough.
Europe is changing, no matter what. We should make the best out of it. There is no other option.