thAn illegal migrant is not a refugee and a refugee is not an asylum seeker. The press is reinforcing the confusion by parroting political leaders who have brushed the true meaning of asylum under the rug.

The asylum seeker, traditionally, is someone who tried to change things in his country, usually for the better, and faced persecution or worse for his activities. He fled his country and sought protection. At times, countries which offered asylum to the persecuted saw them as a joker to use if the country of origin fell into crisis or changed regimes such as South Africans fighting apartheid in the 1980s. More often than not, the exile would sit out his life in the host nation.

th-2How will Europe deal with hundreds of thousands of unskilled, uneducated and angry young men, mostly Muslim, flooding over the borders when the migrants realize there is no place for them here and they are unwanted? Many of these young people are totally illiterate, especially Afghans and Somalis. Some are just teenagers who ‘ran away to join the circus.’ They are irritated and have experienced war and violence. They come from closed and repressive, often feudal cultures. They are entering the tolerant and open Judeo-Christian democracies of Europe so foreign to anything they have known.

Recently elected President of Niger, Mahamadou Issoufou, is a soft speaking man with a big problem not of his doing. He was in Paris Wednesday to speak to French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, about the problem: NATO’s war on Libya.