We are people whose morality runs along a double track. We speak of civilization and peace and practice war, fomenting military and social conflicts. High representatives of the European States and nations invoke peace and call on reception and solidarity, but at the same time there are European companies that make money on arms.
The report “Border Wars: The Arms Dealers profiting from Europe’s Refugee Tragedy” sheds light on this moral schizophrenia. The document was issued by the Dutch non-governmental organization “Stop Wapenhandel” and published by the Transnational Institute.
In this context of dark conspiracies and ambiguities, the pain of too many people is a lucrative business for some others. Not only for individuals, whose names remain unknown in some cases. Large companies in the military and the security sector, with the participation of the State, are the ones that profit from the double track of arms and military and surveillance equipment supply. Our moral and allegedly civilized train runs towards an unfathomable abyss of contradiction and multiple responsibilities – the Report denounces -. These companies provide systems and equipment to border guards, surveillance technologies to keep borders under control and IT infrastructure to monitor the movements of the populations.” The same companies, and this is “the most perverse aspect of the entire question,” produce and sell weapons to Middle Eastern countries that “fuel conflicts from which refugees flee”; then they build barriers and monitor them to prevent those who try to reach Europe hoping to find a peaceful place where to start living again.
These two parallel markets are very profitable. Global exports of security tools and arms to the Middle East and North Africa have increased by over 60 percent over the last five years (between 2011 and 2015). In detail, companies working in the European Union obtained licenses for the sale of military systems abroad for over 82 billion euros between 2005 and 2014. The border security business yielded 15 billion euros in 2015 alone, and its profits are expected to exceed 29 billion euros per year by 2022.
“The refugee crisis Europe is facing at present – reads the introduction to the report – has caused consternation in institutional corridors and sparked debate in the squares. But, above all, it reveals the flaws of the entire European project: our governments cannot even reach an agreement on the reception and distribution of asylum seekers, shifting responsibilities and failings to each other. Far-right parties take advantage of the feelings of the communities forced to undergo austerity measures to increase their popularity in a situation where immigrants become a convenient scapegoat, whereas most banking elites remain protected and untouchable. Refugees and migrants are those who suffer the most because in this context. They flee from violence and adversity, then get trapped at borders between countries, forced to opt for ever riskier routes.”