241 – that is a number that at present terrifies me. It’s the number of days that I have on my student visa at the time of writing this article. When the timer runs out, I’ll be kicked out of the UK. For the last 3 years I’ve been happily living in Europe. It’s been a lifelong dream of mine to do so, and I’ve enjoyed it thoroughly. It’s the first time in my life where I feel like I belong somewhere.
I was brought up in a German fashion in Mexico, I went to a German school and my peers were of a European milieu. As a result, I grew up in a eurocentric bubble. Despite having lived for most of my life in Mexico, I’ve always felt like a foreigner there. There was something that always separated me from them, how they talked, acted and generally felt about life.
I remember on multiple occasions where I experienced culture shock; from the kissing on the cheek, to their affinity to old fashioned social norms, or just their opinion on how to spend time. Over there, whenever I said that I enjoyed reading, the most common response wasn’t “what?” but “why?” Mexico always seemed more of an accident of birth to me, than an actual place to call my home. I speak three European languages fluently: Spanish, English and German. My family, on both sides, has European roots. I believe in European values wholeheartedly, and I find its history and culture fascinating, so much so that I’m writing a novel set in the Napoleonic period. I believe I’m magnificently lucky in that I’ve been able to see a good portion of the continent. I know that some Europeans might scoff at the notion, but I genuinely believe there is such a thing as a European mindset. For all intents and purposes, I feel and consider myself European.
The law does not agree with me though, and so it categorises me as a second class citizen. My days are numbered, and tracked. If I’m in the wrong district of Europe, past a certain date, I can get banned from the continent for years. I also get these scary emails every so often that ask me to register somewhere or do something by a certain date, or I risk being deported. I genuinely feel envy whenever I hear about the blasé attitude that Europeans have over borders, and their ability to traverse them. I cannot help but feel angry when I see a criminal who has more legal rights than I do. If I ever step outside the line, I can be kicked out of the country for an inconsequential infringement, even if committing the act would’ve lead to the betterment of society.
There was this time in first year, when a girl was being harassed by a drunken man. Every bone in my body wanted to step in and protect her, as the woman needed help. Yet before I did so, I remembered my status as a second class citizen. If it escalated, and the police got involved, I could be kicked out without having even been a month at university, due to defending myself in a fistfight. As such, I decided against it. Fortunately, nothing serious happened with the girl, but it became clear that I was walking on a knife’s edge.
It just seems absurd to me the duplicitous posture that Europe has taken as of late. On the one side, it admits millions of migrants from outside the confines of the EU, under the guise of accepting refugees. Never mind the fact that only 20% of them come from Syria. Never mind the fact 65% of them are illiterate in their own language and can’t speak the most widely spoken languages in the world. Never mind the fact that a good chunk of them are against Western values and traditions, and would rather watch them burn. As long as Germany gets to wash its hands from having committed genocide, all’s fine with the world.
On the other hand, we have the scattered sons of the Enlightenment. We’re the byproduct of all the empires of the old continent. We’re the remnants that were left behind once the dreams of Empire ended. Is it any wonder that when we see the pinnacles of culture and sophistication, built on plunder and riches from exotic lands; that when we see the influence that Western tradition had on the world, that we decide to follow the breadcrumbs back? European laws seem oddly surprised that these remnants might ever wish to knock on their door one day, and thus they make our lives difficult, if not impossible. I know a fair few of my university peers, who would give the world for a chance to live here, yet it’s only made more difficult year by year. They’re intelligent, well educated, and world savvy, yet only a fraction of a fraction will be admitted for residence, as the allowed numbers are kept artificially low. I’m far from the only one saying this, The Economist has written about this at length.
I’m not against immigration, irrespective of race or creed, I’d be a hypocrite if I were, what I am for though is controlled immigration. What Europe has now is madness. It should accept the well educated populace who idealise the West without artificial quotas, regardless where they’re from, who would help the economy and who value this land like few others. As it stands, Europeans have just allowed political correctness to stand in the way of genuine boons to its culture. Instead, they allow the ones who defy their laws and do not care for their traditions, and make life difficult for those that want to do everything legally.
European officials have gone to the extent of hiding and protecting child sexual abuse rigs, for decades, in the hopes of not being termed racist because they were organised by people of Pakistani origin. Is this truly what Europeans want to be remembered for? I’m not advocating for racism, quite the contrary, I’m advocating for individualism. Treat people on their own merit, not on the merit of their progenitors. I’m advocating for a fairer world, that accepts the realities of itself, not the idealisations of what we wish it to be.
The time is now to act and do what’s right. Otherwise, you might lose the very core of what you thought was worth protecting…