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What's up with Borders?

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Lucky enough, it doesn’t happen all that often that a big news story actually makes it to my doorstep, or near enough anyway.

For a few months, we, Europeans, have been seeing news reports about small boats transporting too many refugees to the main lands of our continent. Followed up by chaos at many borders, because many countries are flooded by a wave of people fleeing from harm and hoping to find a better life here.

Next week over 300 refugees will move in to their temporary shelter in my hometown, literally at the end of the street. People tell me I should be worried about it, but I don’t know. We’ll just have to see how it goes.

The refugees in Europe are a problem, regardless from which angle you´re looking at it. It´s a problem that these people had to flee their country in the first place. It´s a problem that they are coming in such large numbers. It´s a problem for all the European countries that were already having problems to stay afloat themselves.

For me, I´ve found it´s a problem to decide on which side of this story I am. It would’ve been so much easier to have an opinion about this, if I hadn´t worked with World/Reggae musician Bolivar M´Vulu earlier this year. We recorded a couple of songs together.

While spending a day in the studio with him, he told me his life story. He was a refugee too, originally from Congo, but after years of moving around throughout Europe, he could finally settle in The Netherlands. His story showed me that it’s easy to have preconceptions about the subject or just make assumptions about the people involved.

On the other hand, there is also something logical in the criticism that maybe countries should fix their own problems first, before allowing more people in. I keep thinking of the saying “You can’t be any good to someone else, if you can’t take care of yourself”.

But then, in these days, everything is possible, and if ever I have to flee, I would really want another country to at least give me the opportunity to a new life.

This is exactly what M.I.A. addresses in her song “Borders” and wants you to start thinking about.

Her background as a refugee herself, escaping a war, has caused her to look at the situation from a very personal perspective. Her new album, “Matahdatah”, will refer to her past as well as the current issues.

Musically and lyrically, I think the song is not the best, but the video is beautifully done and raises awareness. I definitely respect her for trying to make people also think of the human side of the issue. It’s gotten her praise as well as criticism, as you would expect. It’s just not a simple subject.

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