At the beginning of the week, French authorities shut down the so-called “Jungle” refugee camp in Calais and began bussing its residents to shelters around the country. Many of those who have been removed have gone to Paris, itself already home to a number of squatter communities. Thanks to the sheer numbers of people involved, the situation has gone beyond the crisis stage and has become a nightmare of human suffering.
But of course there are people who view these refugees not with compassion but with contempt. A young black Trump supporter who calls himself “Deplorable Aaron” on Twitter shared a video of the refugees’ plight with the hashtags #RefugeesNotWelcome and #NoRefugees. Aaron describes himself as “conservative,” “Christian,” and “anti-Islam.” It is obviously lost on him that Jesus would not approve of his anti-immigrant position.
It didn’t take long for another “deplorable” — Ann Coulter — to pick up on the tweet and retweet it to her followers. The amount of concern and sympathy for these people, who have largely come to escape conflict in Sudan, is at somewhere around zero among those who have commented.
These are people whose lives have been upended by death and destruction. Aaron, Coulter, and others who think like them are using the French refugee crisis as an argument against taking in refugees in the U.S. But they offer no solutions, which is typical. All they have to say is “not in my backyard.”
Aaron’s tweet refers to the “devastating effect” of this mass migration, referring to the effect on the Paris community. And yes, it has had a large effect on residents. But it’s safe to say that Aaron and others like him have never had to make the choice between remaining in their homes and facing certain death or fleeing to another country with almost literally nothing except the clothes on their backs.
Here is “Deplorable Aaron’s” tweet of the conditions being dealt with in the squatters’ camp near the Stalingrad Metro station in Paris. Some will look at this with disgust. Others will look at it and think “There, but for the grace of God, go I.”
— Deplorable Aaron (@GopAaron) October 24, 2016