Whether in Davos, at UN conferences or in Brussels, the food crisis is one of the main topics everywhere. The absurd thing is: there is enough food for everyone in the world, the problem lies in the distribution. Wars and conflicts prevent supplies as routes become unsafe – bringing the number of people at risk of famine to 49 million in 46 countries in recent years.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is exacerbating this crisis by blockading Ukraine’s ports. 400 million people depend on the country’s wheat exports, mainly in North Africa and the Middle East.
In doing so, Putin is relying on a strategy that he has already used in Syria: unrest and the resulting flight as a weapon against democracies. Because food shortages and rising prices will set chain reactions in motion in unstable regions, which in turn could lead to mass migration.
Putin’s strategy could work, as there is still no objective debate about flight and migration in Germany. So it remains largely unknown that most people do not die crossing the Mediterranean, but on the way there. The UNHCR estimates that twice as many people die in the Sahara than in the Mediterranean. The systematic sexual exploitation of women on the land routes also receives little attention.
Smugglers and state security forces abuse the girls and women. If they survive the journey to Europe, they are often forced into prostitution. Nigerian women in particular are being deliberately lured into the trap of being enslaved in Europe.
Those who make it into supposedly safe refugee shelters are not protected from violence there either. Although attacks on women in shelters are repeatedly reported, there are still insufficiently protected shelters for refugee women in Germany.
Instead of discussing solutions as to how such catastrophes can be prevented in the future, the moral superiority over those countries that have taken in few refugees since 2015 is emphasized. This moral hubris ignores several factors.
People are not disposable and will not be deterred from traveling within the EU to their preferred country. The distribution mechanism for Ukrainian refugees was therefore sensibly suspended. The same honesty would be desirable for refugees from other countries.
However, the hypermoralization of the debate cannot drown out all the concerns. The argument is circulating that accommodating 10,000 people from Belarus is not a problem for the EU. Behind this is that there could well be a number from which the recording becomes problematic. In view of the expected migration, Great Britain has chosen a drastic measure and signed agreements with Rwanda to deport asylum seekers there.
This, too, will be met with outrage in Germany. But if humanitarian solutions continue to be prevented with the raised index finger, the issue will only be left to the parties on the far right. Worse, the moral dissonance is once again killing thousands and leaving women open to all forms of violence. As long as the greatest misery in the Sahara remains hidden, Germany will once again celebrate itself as the world champion in morality.