NOT IN MY BACKYARD

In South Asian countries, population growth is a big problem. While its land mass is decreasing through expanding desert areas on one hand and Ocean on the other pressure is building up to provide food clothing, shelter, education and health care to its teeming multitudes. At the same time, the production of necessary goods and services have not kept pace with the need. The area was not always like that. Long ago, it was the richest area in the world. But the cruelty of history has made it less vibrant and prosperous. The situation has created a mindset where citizens have a strong desire to keep "others" away even if those souls are seeking shelter for life and safety.

True, the area has been attacked by many in the past. Many of the invaders were lured by its prosperity. Now, the area has fallen on hard times. Some among its inhabitants have been hit harder than others. Instead of lifting up each other through mutual assistance the tendency to move away from sharing has seemingly become stronger among them. National leaders are feeding into this tendency. Their passionate oratory is affecting and influencing the population that is already concerned about losing whatever little it has.

The Rohingiya population is an example. Thousands of them left Burma because of a systemic attack on them. The state made them stateless and they had no choice. They moved northward to Bangladesh. Some moved to India. Ancestry was the common factor. When the Indian subcontinent was a British colony, many of the Bangladeshi Muslims had gone to settle in Burma. At the time, it was like going from one neighborhood to another. However after Independence and separation the old colony has been divided into several countries. Each one wants to preserve its own interests.

Rohingiyas are afraid to go back to Burma known as Myanmar. Under pressure from the UN it is willing to take some of them provided they can show the document required to claim the citizenship of Burma. At the same time, India has expelled some of the Rohingyas from its territory. Bangladesh is unhappy with them. Some in the Rohingya community have committed crimes. As a group they have worn out their welcome mat. Now, Bangladesh wants them out. The question is "Where would they go?" Burma would be very happy if they did not come back. Bangladesh would be happy if they left.

India also has a similar problem. Many Bangladeshi natives have settled in its North Eastern area. In places where their number is higher they have in many ways changed the local culture and politics which has not gone well with the natives. Through verification of family history many who were born and raised in India are being told that they don't belong here. This causes humanitarian as well as legal problems. Any political Party trying to resolve the issue must oblige the local population who have a specific demand in mind. Going against such a trend would be suicidal. They must go with flow.

Looking at the immigration problems of America and Europe, it becomes obvious that this 'newcomers versus native' issue is not going to go away very soon. Countries like Australia, Russia, Canada and the US have the ability to absorb the same number of people as they have now within their borders. In thei1970s and 80s they willingly accepted many Vietnamese boat people who were running for their lives from a war ravaged country. The present situation is no less than that. The rich and spacious countries have a responsibility now. "Not in my backyard" is not a good answer for anyone.


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