If back home in Syria you're being brutalized or butchered by Islamic militias or dictator Hafez al-Assad's forces, tough luck. But if you can shell out a small fortune to human traffickers, make your way across large stretches of land or sea while crossing several international borders, and finagle your way into a Eurozone country by scaling razor-wire fences in Eastern Europe or storming sandy beaches in Greece, then we welcome you. Oh, and you don't even have to be from Syria -- it's okay if you just pretend to be.
That, in a nutshell, is the European Union's much-vaunted refugee policy, which has been billed as "compassionate" by the likes of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, its main architect. But compassionate it isn't. That's because it rewards not the neediest, many of whom can scarcely afford to travel far, but the better-off and more enterprising, many of whom may not really need European largesse but might naturally want it. Lo and behold, what we find among the massed ranks of new arrivals (as no one with a functioning pair of eyes can help but notice) is that by far the most are hearty and often aggressive young men who invariably prove, on even cursory inspection, to be not Syrians but citizens of myriad nations from as far away as Bangladesh, Pakistan and sub-Saharan Africa. To be sure, the women and children, too, dominate -- but only in poignant images and emotive situations in often manipulative news reports.