Charlotte McDonald-Gibson

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Europe Made a Deadly Bargain With Autocrats. Here’s What Happened

It’s shocking to see. Children huddle over precariously built bonfires and parents hold babies to their chests while soldiers, behind thickets of razor wire, look on impassively. But the images from the Belarus-Poland border, however harrowing, shouldn’t be surprising: This is what the European Union’s migration policy looks like.

Without doubt, the greatest share of blame for this humanitarian catastrophe — in which thousands of migrants, many from Iraq and Syria, were penned into a freezing forest for weeks on end — lies with Belarus’s leader, Aleksandr Lukashenko. In apparent retaliation for E.U. sanctions against his regime, his government shepherded people to the heavily fortified Polish border, where they faced only hardship and suffering.…  Seguir leyendo »

Un niño sirio desplazado y su madre, quienes rodearon el otrora bastión del Estado Islámico de Al Raqa, Siria, para escapar este mes. Credit Bulent Kilic / Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Al niño de nueve años no le gustaba la escuela. No le caían bien los demás niños porque sabía quiénes eran en realidad: infieles malvados que merecían la muerte. Así que actuó conforme al adiestramiento que había recibido y los atacó. De inmediato lo sacaron del edificio el primer día de su regreso a la escuela.

Este niño había pasado dos años lejos de su patria europea, en un sitio donde, para enseñarle a contar, practicaban con los azotes que le daban en la espalda a una víctima de tortura y donde el programa escolar incluía ser testigo de decapitaciones públicas.…  Seguir leyendo »

Populism Has Not Peaked in Europe

Dark clouds have been hovering over Europeans who believe in an integrated, tolerant and open Continent. First came Britain’s vote to leave the European Union in June, followed by Donald J. Trump’s election. Nationalists and right-wing populists seemed to be on the march. And Europhiles looked nervously ahead to a string of elections in 2017, any one of which could herald the moment when the European project began to unravel for good.

These people might be forgiven for savoring the feeling of respite recently.

The first round of France’s presidential election, on April 23, put the passionately pro-European Union independent candidate, Emmanuel Macron, ahead of Marine Le Pen of the far-right National Front.…  Seguir leyendo »

Inflatable Refugee, an installation by the artists Schellekens & Peleman, on a roof next to the Mechelen Cultural Center. Owen Franken for The New York Times

The 20-foot-high effigy of a refugee perched on a rooftop here does not have a name. To his creators, the anonymity of the figure crouched in an orange life vest, his arms wrapped tightly around his knees, reflects the universality of his plight. But it also reflects the way many Europeans view the refugees and migrants arriving in their towns and cities: a nameless mass threatening their way of life.

“They are always Muslim, and we are Catholic,” Emiel Van Den Bossche, a 58-year-old train driver, told me recently as he waited at Mechelen’s station for his next shift. “Maybe there are very few people who want to make war here, terrorist attacks, but you don’t know.…  Seguir leyendo »

For Europe, Arab Lives Matter More Than Africans’

The summer dying season is underway. It began in earnest late last month when, under a bright Mediterranean sun that cast the sea a sparkling blue, a fishing trawler teetered on its side before giving in to the panicked bodies on board, tipping them into the swell. The Italian Coast Guard caught the moment on camera. On the shore of another continent, the bodies of mostly women and children washed up on a Libyan beach, victims of one of three shipwrecks that killed at least 700 people in three days.

With the Balkans route largely shut down thanks to a deal between the European Union and Turkey that may violate international law, more people are embarking on more dangerous voyages from Libya or Egypt.…  Seguir leyendo »