This evening, down in the basement bar of Cat's, I ended up sitting down and sharing a few beers with two Moroccan guys, who are immigrants living and working here in Madrid. I've observed (and even met) recent immigrants almost everywhere I've been in Europe: in particular, I've encountered numerous economically impoverished immigrants from North Africa, from the Middle East, and from Eastern Europe. Many, although not all of them, are here illegally. Tonight was the first time I've really sat down with some of the immigrants themselves, and had an in-depth chat about their situation. Few people around here are prepared to admit it, or to objectively discuss it: but this is an enormous issue for Europe, and in my opinion it's one that they're dealing with in an appalling manner at the moment.
As with most places in the First World — e.g. the USA, Canada, and my own home Australia — Western Europe has recently received a flood of immigrants from the Developing World. And as with these other places, Europe has conceded to receiving the immigrants, but it's not at all happy about it. Western Europeans — like Westerners in general — are some of the most racist people on the planet. Everywhere I've been, all that the locals have done is complain about the newcomers who are filling up their land, taking their jobs, and polluting their culture and way of life. In particular, they despise the black-skinned immigrants from Africa, and they both loathe and fear the Muslim immigrants from the Middle East and from parts of the Indian Subcontinent. I've heard the same story in England, in Italy, in Germany, in Austria, and now in Spain: "bloody immigrants — should never have let them in to start with, and now we can't get rid of them."
However, as my Moroccan friends pointed out to me this evening — and as any EU local will refuse to admit — Europe needs its immigrants. It's exactly the same as the situation with the USA and Mexico: the new arrivals (illegal and legitimate) perform all the low-paying and laborious jobs that nobody else is willing to take on these days; and as such, they've become essential to supporting the economy. They get treated like absolute s$#%, and are given no respect whatsoever. But the fact is that life is much better for them in Europe than it would be in their home country; and that without their tireless work, Europe's economy would be up s$#% creek overnight.
The immigrant situation in Europe is dire: perhaps even more dire than it is in the hispanic-flooded USA. The cultural divide is enormous. The hostility is strong. And the inequality is painfully obvious. But then again, in my opinion Europe's only getting what it deserves — the tables have now turned. The colonial days of Europe invading the rest of the world, and making themselves unwelcome amidst other cultures, is over. These days, it's payback time: the rest of the world is now invading Europe, and making itself unwelcome amidst Europe's arrogant and stuck-up culture. I say to Europe: too bad, you deserve nothing less — now deal with it.
Anyway, there's certainly one big advantage to Europe being flooded with millions of Middle Eastern immigrants: in every single big city on the continent, you're now guaranteed to find a kebab or a falafel, and it's guaranteed to be available at a later time and at a better price than any other food in town. And for money-strapped backpackers such as myself, that's great news :P.