Is this about helping migrants, or feeling good about yourself?

“Heart-breaking” was how my son put it.  He watched as a neutral the recent World Cup match between Belgium and Japan.  Japan (which most considered – at least before the game – to be the weaker side) put up a spirited fight: they built up a two-goal lead, before conceding twice.  Everybody thought the match would go to extra time, but Belgium scored in the last minute, bringing tears to many a Japanese face – and sadness into the hearts of some neutrals, too.

Most spectators would agree that the best Belgian players were Marouane Fellaini and Nacer Chadli – both born in Belgium to Moroccan parents.  A third Belgian player – Romelu Lukaku – is often cited as the national squad’s star player.  He was also born in Belgium, but to parents who had migrated from Zaire.  All three hail from families of football players; there’s clearly a strong component of ‘nature’ in the ‘nature + nurture’ mix that results in an outstanding footballer.

They are not the only ones.  Another Belgian player (Carrasco) has a Portuguese father and a Spanish mother; Vincent Kompany’s parents are Congolese; Kevin De Bruyne’s mother was born in Burundi…

These are interesting observations, especially at a time when migration to ‘the rich world’ (or indeed ‘the free world’ or ‘the safe world’) is becoming a top political issue in Europe and North America.

The Belgian footballers mentioned above are living proof that migration can be a success story – and that its effect on the host country can be very positive.  Indeed, without those players, it is doubtful that Belgium could have won the match against Japan.

There is, however, a dark side to this success – one that pro-migration ideologues pretend not to see: Belgium’s gain is also the loss of countries like Morocco, Zaire and Burundi – all of them former European colonies.  And all of them able to field poorer football national team, compared to their former colonisers.

It’s not just football players: it’s doctors, engineers, scientists, artists, entrepreneurs from former colonies in Africa and Asia.  Having robbed those countries of their natural resources – for decades or centuries – Europeans now drain them of their most precious asset: their best, brightest, most proactive people.  And no, not every one of them gets to be a football star or a university professor; most migrants end up eking out a living by doing the jobs Europeans can’t be bothered to do themselves – a ‘modern’ form of exploitation that borders on slavery.  If you don’t believe this – go out there and look who’s cleaning public toilets in Brussels.  Or indeed in London.

It’s not just former colonies: it’s poorer countries, in general.  Romania, for instance, is one of those poor countries – the poorest in the European Union; maybe not as pauper as Zaire, but certainly poorer than France and the UK.

Poverty affects everything – but arguably nothing as much as healthcare.  There is a huge healthcare gap between France and Romania (let alone Belgium and Zaire!)  But healthcare is not an easy profession: it involves many years of study followed by even more years of hard graft leading to – at best – mediocre pay.

That’s in recent times in France, for instance, the medical profession has been attracting few ‘native’ French men and women.

So the French authorities invited foreign doctors (primarily Romanian) to apply for jobs in the French healthcare system.  And the applicants were so numerous, that the French could afford to be really choosey: they selected only the best of the bunch.  Between 2008 and 2013, the number of foreign doctors working in France shot up by 43%.  According to the president of Romania’s College of Physicians, between 13,000 and 14,000 Romanian doctors work abroad, 4,000 of them in France.

Says Prof. Vasile Astarastoae, president of the Romanian College of Physicians:

“There is a major crisis in Romania when it comes to having enough doctors. In 2011 there were 21,400 doctors working in Romanian hospitals. On 1 November 2013 there were only 14,400.”

By 2014, France had circa 330 practicing physicians per 100,000 inhabitants.  Romania had just 270; Poland had only 230.  According to an academic study

“The brain drain of Romanian doctors constitutes […] a dramatic loss for the national healthcare provision”

Life expectancy in France is currently 82 years – and significantly longer if you happen to be white.  In Romania, it’s just 75 years…

In Pakistan, there are just 81 physicians per 100,000 inhabitants; in India, just 73.  Yet many Pakistani and Indian doctors work in the British NHS – which takes pride in its enlightened diversity.

It requires many years and a lot of money to train a doctor.  And if that physician ends up working in oh-so excitingly multicultural London or Paris – rather than in native Bucharest (or Karachi or Mumbai or Kinshasa) – then that celebrated diversity comes at a heavy cost in ‘diverse’ life and limb.

And it’s not just about healthcare or economics.  By ‘transferring’ people away from their own language, customs, identity – the rich countries perpetrate something akin to cultural genocide.  There is nothing ‘progressive’ in that.


Whether in Europe or USA, Australia, Canada and Israel, ‘pro-migration’ ideologues feel inherently superior to those ‘populist’ cavemen who object to unrestricted migration.  As I sit writing this, a cohort of self-proclaimed idealists use ships bought with donated money to ‘rescue’ migrants.  They pick them up from just outside Libyan waters, lift them from the overcrowded and shabby boats provided by the smugglers and drop them on the nearest European beach.  There is ‘instant gratification’ in that – at no risk to the ‘idealists’.  But this free ferry service also causes more and more people to take the risk – to pay more and more money to board an increasingly overcrowded, ever-shabbier boat.  In so doing, the ‘idealists’ probably end up killing more people than they ever ‘save’.  Their idealism would be put to much better use if they tried to persuade people not to take this route and instead helping them improve their lives in-situ.  But that is much more difficult, onerous and risky.

If your real purpose is to feel good about yourself for helping a few migrants out of their misery, at no cost to yourself, then knock yourself out.  But if you truly care about people – rather than pandering to your own narcissism – then you will recognise that the problem of abject poverty isn’t solved by bringing a few people (those more proactive, who had the money to pay a people-smuggler and were lucky enough not to drown) from Zaire to Belgium, or from Romania to France.  That just makes the rich richer and the poor poorer.

You cannot air-lift all Zaire’s population to Belgium; but you can (although not easily and immediately, but eventually and with great difficulty) hand-lift, heart-lift and soul-lift Zairians out of their poverty in Zaire.  If you’re Belgian and thirsty for justice – then maybe you shouldn’t drain Zaire of talent; instead, perhaps you’d like to use your own talents to help fix the country that your ancestors broke.

About the Author
Noru served in the IDF as a regular soldier and reservist. Currently a management consultant, in his spare time he engages in pro-Israel advocacy, especially in interfaith environments. He presented in front of Church of England and Quaker audiences and provides support to Methodist Friends of Israel. Noru is the Editor-in-Chief of 'Politically-incorrect Politics' ( Translated into Polish, his articles are also published by the Polish portal 'Listy z naszego sadu.'