Some will need to be killed

Theo Tait

  • Exit West by Mohsin Hamid
    Hamish Hamilton, 229 pp, £12.99, March, ISBN 978 0 241 29008 8

The real question raised by the refugee crisis of 2015, Mohsin Hamid wrote at the time, is ‘not whether the people of the countries of Europe wish to accept more refugees’. The real question is whether ‘they wish their countries to become the sorts of societies that are capable of taking the steps that will be required to stop the flow of migration’:

Simply hardening borders and watching refugees drown offshore or bleed to death on razor wire will not be enough. Europe will have to drastically reduce its attractiveness to refugees. Those who look like refugees will need to be terrorised. They will need to be systematically beaten, rounded up, expelled. Some will need to be killed. The avenues of advancement of those who are not native-born will need to be curtailed by law and by custom – a system of apartheid will need to be instituted. To be of apparent migrant origin in a European country will need to become a fate worse than living in a town or village overrun by bloodthirsty fanatics, by rapacious warlords and thugs … In such a Europe, the essence of Hitler’s thousand-year Reich will not have been defeated; it will merely have suffered an interruption that lasted a few decades.

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