A few vignettes from Europe, circa mid-2016:
A young left-wing German politician has admitted she lied to police about the racial background of three men who raped her in case it triggered reprisals against refugees in her country.
Selin GÃ¶ren, the national spokeswoman of the left-wing youth movement Solid, was attacked by three men in January in the city of Mannheim where she works as a refugee activist.
The 24-year-old was ambushed late at night in a playground where she said she was forced to perform a sex act on her attackers.
After the assault she went straight to the police – but she did not tell them the ethnic make-up of the men, that they were speaking Arabic or Farsi.
Selin, aware of the backlash that migrants suffered after the events in Cologne on New Year’s Eve – when hundreds of women were sexually assaulted and robbed by marauding gangs of immigrant youths – instead said she was robbed and said her attackers spoke German.
A 17-year-old has told of her ordeal after a mob of ‘foreign youths’ sexually assaulted dozens of females at a Swedish music festival.
At least 35 aged between 12 and 17 reported being attacked during the ‘Party in the Park’ festival in Karlstad, 250 miles from Stockholm in Sweden’s Varmland County on Friday and Saturday night.
Some of the alleged victims reported being ‘kissed and groped’ in scenes similar to the Cologne New Year attacks, in which dozens of women reported being assaulted.
Five women say they were raped at Sweden’s biggest music festival – on the same weekend as a mob of ‘foreign youths’ sexually assaulted 35 females, one as young as 12 at another concert.
Alleged victims at the BrÃ¥valla music festival told police groups of men attacked them while others complained that they were filmed while using the toilets.
Two teenage girls said a man carried out a sex act in front of them.
An anti-rape activist said she was even sexually assaulted by three men who were wearing ‘don’t grope’ wristbands distributed by police in an effort to reduce such attacks.
It bears repeating that Europe has got a problem. It also bears repeating that only a small minority of migrants commit crimes. But with large numbers of migrants, even a small minority starts looking numerically significant. In politics, even the perception that there is a problem is a problem. Were all the recent migrants really women, children and families we wouldnâ€™t perhaps be reading stories like these. But when seven out of ten are young men, the picture changes substantially. How do you absorb millions of people from cultures and societies with different norms and values?
In general, migration is a net positive for the host countries â€“ or at least can be, if properly implemented, and certainly should be. A humanitarian intake of genuine refugees is exactly that, a humanitarian gesture of solidarity with misfortune and suffering of other human beings. The real tragedy is that when either or both the immigration and the refugee programs are mishandled, it destroys the public support for immigration in general. This is now happening throughout Europe. In Australia, John Howard more than doubled the migrant intake over the course of his eleven years in office, but he could only have done so because he was able to get the refugee intake under control, and to convince the voters that the immigration program has been reshaped to be in the national interest and a net benefit to the country.
A few days ago, I wrote apropos the rise in political populism, â€œIn the end though, One Nation, the Alliance and Rise Up exist because tap into significant public discontent. Peopleâ€™s concerns out there in the real world might be legitimate or exaggerated or stupid, on a case by case basis, but they are real and they inform their political choices. We get One Nation, the Alliance and Rise Up when we pretend that there are no concerns, or that they are beyond the pale of discussion (â€œShut up, they arguedâ€). Populism in Australia only declines as a political force when the mainstream parties engage with voters and address their concerns in measured and reasonable ways.â€
This very much applies to the immigration and multiculturalism debate â€“ in Australia, and elsewhere in the world, including Europe. If only the European politicians had listened and learned.