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Hot Zone

Episode 136 | Europeans Want a Wall and Tripoli is Too Hot for Tourists

Why East Europeans are saying “Build that Wall” and …..maybe you should take that beach vacation in Libya off your bucket list for the time being. All that and more on today’s hot zone.

Hey Folks, Happy Monday, I’m Chuck Holton and welcome to all our new viewers and listeners on Itunes and elsewhere.

Well if you were planning a beach vacation in Tripoli, you might want to put that off this year, as Armed confrontations resumed in Libya between the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) and General Khalifa Hifter’s Libyan National Army (LNA) in the southern neighbourhoods of the country’s capital last Thursday.

Explosions could be heard throughout the capital city as firefights destroyed an LNA tank and GNA forces fought off the attempt to take the city.

Forces led by General Hifter have been trying to gain control in Tripoli since April, but faced resistance from UN-backed forces. So far the fighting has left at least 650 dead and displaced hundreds and thousands of people, according to the United Nations. Maybe it wasn’t such a good idea for the Obama administration to topple Ghaddafi and then just let every jihadi in the country raid that country’s stores of military hardware. I mean, unless you were TRYING to create a country that looks like a cross between Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto.

Let’s move on. Immigration seems to be on everyone’s minds these days. In Eastern Europe, there’s a humanitarian crisis underway that is very similar to what we’re seeing on the US southern border. Aid groups are warning of a developing humanitarian crisis in Bosnia as thousands of migrants make their way to one of Europe’s poorest and most volatile countries, where the locals already have a hard time keeping their kids fed.

Here the head of the Red Cross in Bihac, Serbia says they are struggling to provide migrants with food and sanitary products,

“”In migrant reception centres we can accommodate around 3,500 migrants. Right now, we have over 10,000 migrants (in Krajina) and the majority of them have nowhere to sleep, we have no beds for them. It adds to our problems and results in frequent clashes between migrants and disturbs public peace and order.” he said

These migrants tried to move further north into Croatia but were turned away, and are now stuck in Bosnia sleeping on the streets. That’s causing tensions to rise among the migrants themselves who are fighting with each other, and with local residents in Bosnia.

This resident said, “They run around freely. We can’t sleep peacefully anymore, we are constantly on alert,” “You see them running up the hill with sticks, they fight here, they are breaking into my garage. What can I tell you, we call the authorities, but they are not doing anything.”.

Local authorities recently considered imposing a curfew, but put the idea on hold.

The so-called Balkan route that migrants from the Middle East, Central Asia and North Africa take in hopes of reaching western Europe shifted south to Bosnia two years ago after governments closed off other established paths north of the country.

Most migrants arrive in Bosnia from Greece after moving relatively unimpeded across Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia. Most of these migrants come from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan.

Bosnia, is a lot like Panama, a small, poor country that is struggling to house, feed and provide psychological care for about 34,000 migrants.

At the same time, the migration pressure continues to grow. In the first five months of this year, the county registered over 9,000 new migrant arrivals, nearly 12 times more than for all of 2017.

Meanwhile, Bosnian President Milorad Dodik has blocked UN aid agencies from going to help the migrants, claiming…and probably correctly, that it will only encourage more illegal migration.

Normally these travelers would continue on into Croatia, but Croatia is putting a stop to that, by…you guessed it…building a border barrier. And what do you know? It works!

On Tuesday, crews working for the Croatian government erected a spiked fence at a border crossing where police clashed last year with a large group of migrants trying to enter from northwestern Bosnia.

Croatian Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic says it was the EU’s idea! Meanwhile Bosnian human rights organizations are so far beyond overwhelmed…they are trying to help the thousands of migrants sleeping on the streets with no organized food deliveries or medical assistance.

Several prominent human rights organiSations have accused Croatian police of beating migrants, confiscating their belongings and illegally pushing them back into Bosnia without notifying Bosnian border guards.

While the Croatian government and its law-enforcement agencies are unapologetic about protecting their borders, they reject the notion that they have abused the migrants in any way.

Katarina Zoric, is a Croatian Red Cross representative, she says, “We can no longer describe the situation as a migration crisis, as it has effectively transformed into an (all-encompassing) humanitarian crisis that creates numerous problems for the local population”.

Well she could just as easily have been talking about New Mexico or Texas. On Friday, CNN reported that ICE has over 5,200 migrants in quarantine for exposure to measles or chicken pox. US refugee centers are so overwhelmed that the Border Patrol is releasing over 1000 illegals every day into our country. Most never show up again for a court date or asylum hearing.

The global mass migration from north to south is one of the defining crises of our time. But why, exactly? Studies show that we are living in one of the most peaceful eras in all of human existence. More than four billion people now live in democracies, over 50% of the planet, and that’s the highest level ever. Wartime deaths have ticked up over the last five years but are still at historic lows.

So why now? Why are so many people leaving everything and making perilous journeys of thousands of miles to go to a country where they don’t know the language, the culture, or anything, and which likely has a long, cold winter the likes of which these migrants have never experienced?

Well, here’s my theory. I blame Apple. Since 2007 when the computer giant released the world’s first smartphone, we’ve now arrived in a world where nearly forty percent of the global population – more than four billion people – own one of these devices. This gives internet access to literally billions of people who don’t own a computer. Now these devices enrich our lives in many ways. We can keep in touch with loved ones, navigate easily, visit places around the world virtually, and pictures! Did you know there are more photos taken every DAY than were taken in the first hundred years after the invention of the camera?

All those pictures give people an easy way to see what the rest of the world looks like. I remember once traveling to the Iran/Iraq border. It is one of the bleakest places I’ve ever been – just flat desert as far as you can see in every direction. No trees, no grass, no rivers or lakes…just dirt. And yet somehow there were these bedhouins living out there, even though I have no idea what they ate. And I remember thinking, these people don’t have television. they have never been anywhere else. They’ve never seen a tree. They literally must believe that the rest of the planet looks just like this. If you knocked them unconscious and put them on a plane to West Virginia, they would wake up and without a doubt be convinced they had just gone to heaven. I guess that means if they woke up in New York City they’d think they’d arrived in Hell, but anyway…

My point is this. Nowadays, the lowliest sheepherder in Afghanistan has a mobile phone. Even Cuba has internet now. And all these people can suddenly see what the rest of the world looks like. And realize that there are better places to live. And so they pack up and head for greener pastures.

I remember an article I read in 2001 called “the Death of Distance – how the communications revolution is changing our lives.” I found that article and linked to it in the end notes of the show if you want to read it for yourself.
anyway, I just remember the article talking about how within a few years, every person on the planet would have a device in their pocket that would allow them to connect with every other person on the planet. If you’re too young to remember the world before the internet, it’s probably hard for you to understand what a crazy statement that was at the time.

Well that time has come, and it’s changing our lives in profound ways. One of them is making people want more and better in ways they never dreamed of before. I mean, imagine this: You live in a remote village in the mountains of guatemala. You’ve got a year-round growing season so you grow or raise just about everything you need. You pay no taxes. You have no bills. You eat mostly fresh, organic produce. You have strong familial and societal bonds, deep cultural traditions, and a fairly safe, tranquil environment. Are you poor just because you don’t have any money? Or are you rich because you really don’t need any? To answer that question, I want to introduce you to a friend of mine.


So they may be poor, and they may come from a country where drug violence is common. But the entire populaton of the developing world doesn’t necessarily need to come to America to better their lives. I think we need to work on ways to allow those ubiquitous smart phones to do more to keep people where they were born and improve their lives where they are, rather than convincing them they need to jump the fence to somewhere the grass appears to be greener.

So that’s all I have for today folks, thanks for liking and sharing with your friends. You can find me on facebook, twitter, and instagram, and I welcome your feedback. See you back here tomorrow, where we don’t just report the news, but we help you make the news better. Have a great week.

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