I just came back from Amsterdam, where 2.000 protesters showed their support and solidarity with refugees everywhere in Europe. Our message was loud and clear: refugees are welcome here! As this happens to be the slogan/frame of a newly emerging, Europe-wide solidarity movement, we should obviously endorse it – no question about it. But at the same time, we do need to remind ourselves that we, as so-called European ‘citizens’, are by no means entitled to refuse – or, for that matter: to grant – anyone the right to live where, how, and with whomever they want. It is not by our grace that refugees are welcome – nor does it depend on any particular context or circumstances. To say that “refugees are welcome” is neither a benign gesture, nor simply an expression of what happens to be our political preference. Instead, it is no more than stating the obvious.
Mathijs van de Sande on Tweeduizend betogers in Amsterdam voor ruimer vluchtelingenbeleid (Nu.nl)