If you are a refugee, you are NOT one of us.

I’m sorry your home got bombed to hell and half of your family died. But that does not mean you are one of us, and nor should you be treated the same as one of us.

Every single one of our countries has rules and requirements for immigration. Real immigrants actually have to apply for the privilege to live here. They have to show they won’t be a burden to us. On top of that, they have to show they can be a contribution to our society. Then after a long and tedious process (and if they are lucky), they get to stay for a couple of years, with the hope that they can one day become a citizen through naturalization.

Now what did you do? Literally the only thing you did was walking over our borders while claiming your home has been destroyed. To make matters worse, you frequently refused to provide even minimal evidence to support that claim and blatantly disobeyed instructions from our law enforcement officers.

If I am getting mugged or beaten right in front of your house, I expect you to act like a real human being and give me shelter. But I would NEVER expect you to treat me the same as your wife and children, simply because I entered your door.

So, why are you demanding that? How can you possibly expect that?

Unlike where you came from, we are actually civilized. We will not destroy your homes and kill your family; instead, we will give you shelter from the bullets and bombs. But that’s it.

You don’t get to demand like one of our fellow citizens. You don’t get to wander freely like one of our legitimate immigrants. You don’t get to enjoy those rights without subjecting yourself to our immigration process first. Because you know what?

You might not be good enough to live with us.

That’s right. We rightfully, justifiably, and morally might not want you here. Period.

We welcome you to integrate. We will provide the resources for you to integrate. We will help you navigate the bureaucracy around becoming a legitimate immigrant.

But until you do, you are NOT one of us.

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9 thoughts on “If you are a refugee, you are NOT one of us.

  1. It happened again. Another poorly written, tone-deaf article, which bears no explicit relationship to the outside world. I’d give you WAY less trouble if you would link even one article or source citing an example of a person you’re criticizing. I know you never will though because your readership is content enough to believe you (they basically already do), or will play fill in the blank using whatever news source of a similar strain they have on backlog. It’s also a way of preventing nuance. If you provided a source then it would be constrained by the limitations of reality and the facts of the case. Insofar as you talk in the general you’re protected by the possible and only limited by the imaginations of your readership. You know though that the moment you do provide a source I’ll do the research on it and hit you up with that in the comments.

    There’s really no meat in your article because it’s unclear exactly who you’re talking about. Which refugees? What crimes?

    Your discourse is dangerous. You’re doing everything you can to deny dignity to refugees as possible. Drawing up divisions between “us” and “them/you,” going so far as to call their home country “uncivilized”… You treat this group as if they constitute a threat in their entirety. Many of these people have lived in a war-torn country, fearing terrorism, bombing from Russia, drones from the U.S. etc. for years. (Just a hint of irony here that your article misses: “Unlike where you came from, we are actually civilized. We will not destroy your homes and kill your family;” Nice one. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2016/07/21/an-airstrike-in-syria-killed-entire-families-instead-of-isis-fighters/?utm_term=.7bf32c986190
    Inb4: “Fake news”
    Inb4: “But Obama is responsible for drones.” Yes, and I’m not going to defend our drone program or Obama for these actions.
    Inb4: “You’re calling America uncivilized.” No I’m not. I’m saying though that the portrayed apathy of this article is immune to irony.

    The problem is that creating an enemy out of these peoples is itself the cause of suspicion on both sides which generates the atmosphere rife for harassment. Here’s a suggestion for you and anyone in policy. Instead of treating these refugees with suspicion and as threats, meet them as fellow people. If we met refugees with open-hands and hearts, enemies of America (terrorists) would have a harder time radicalizing people with the claim that America hates [refugee subgroup here].

    Vague writing is bad writing.


    1. Author here.

      I see that my colleague has already go through great length on why there is no vagueness in this writing within the European context, which is shown by the title image.

      As for the rest of what he said, I can’t say I’m in agreement. I did not write this article in an aggressive way. I believe every claim I have made was accurate without exaggerations. I’ll list out the specifics:

      1. I did not claim refugees are inherently dangerous; rather, they are not one of us. Just like immigrants are not the same as citizens, refugees are not the same as immigrants nor citizens. Within the context of immigration, we (the citizens and immigrants) are definitely separate and different from them (the refugees). This is not some philosophical argument claiming we are a different species than them or different in some biologically fundamental way.

      2. If they are true refugees, where they come from is absolutely uncivilized at the moment. War by its very definition is a breakdown of civility, and a war zone is by extension an uncivilized place. I am talking about refugees of war. Why would their culture, history, society before the war be the object of my usage of “uncivilized”? That’s like saying “Germany is a shiny beacon of human rights” within the present day context can be somehow extended to Germany during WWII. Once again, context is important here, and I stand by what I wrote.

      3. I was confused when you said, “What crimes?” After rereading what I wrote, I believe you were referring to the part where I said they blatantly disobeyed police instructions. That’s a misreading all together. Disobeying the police is illegal, but does not automatically amount to a crime. Since my colleague already brought up Hungary, I will continue with that. While in Hungary, nearly all of them refused to provide identification, thinking that would tie them to Hungary for refugee settlement. They also violated border regulations, blatantly running across the Hungarian-Serbian and Hungarian-Austrian borders, circumventing the clearly established entry points. That’s why the fences were ordered in the first place. These are only two very simple examples out of an ocean of incidences. Greece alone will provide thousands of examples, along with an abundance of video footages. As such, I was absolutely correct in saying they blatantly disobeyed police instructions.

      4. Where did I say we shouldn’t meet refugees as fellow human beings? I even said we need to provide shelter and resources to help them integrate. That said, treating one another as fellow human beings does not mean treating one another indiscriminately. I thought I made that plenty clear with the “wife and children” analogy. Returning to Point #1, they are not one of us, at least not yet. If they want to become one of us, they have to do what we all went through first. This is not some threat or mistreatment. This is equality. Just because they came from destruction doesn’t mean they should be entitled to circumvent our immigration processes. How is treating them differently according to their legal status mutually exclusive to “meeting them as fellow human beings?” Can green card holders in the US vote and get social security upon retirement? I don’t think so. This is a nonissue.

      5. I assume you also had issues with the “not good enough to live with us” part. That’s precisely what the immigration process is: To determine if an applicant is good enough to be given a restriction-free life in our countries. If you are a criminal, you are not good enough. If you have no needed skills, you are not good enough. If you can’t even support yourself, then you are definitely not good enough. Sure, I could’ve used “ineligible to stay”, but that’s just sugarcoating, which is something Retortik stands against. If someone misses a necessary document, they are procedurally ineligible. If someone fails the process all together on merits, they are flat out not good enough. My usage of the phrase is accurate. It being harsh to some ears is irrelevant.

      6. I intentionally take my subjects to a more generalized level, so they can be applied as principles and not get bogged down by one specific event that probably doesn’t fully embody the principle. That is not being vague. Would you call a physics textbook vague because the principles of physics are explained using a totally negligible and practically meaningless set of examples in a 100% imaginary world, e.g., perfect collision? What about the principles of law with its extractions of factual patterns? There’s nothing vague about what I wrote, even if you missed the context by a wide margin. The only thing you got right was that I wanted my readers to fill in the details necessary to apply the principle expressed to their specific instances. That’s how principles work, much like F=ma or E=mc^2.

      I went over and read your other responses as well, including the two on the “white privilege” article. No, I am not and we are not demanding “safe spaces.” That is the completely opposite to what Retortik is. There are no safe spaces here. Absolutely feel free to cast your opinions. None of us would mind. I stand by the things I write, and I expect people to attack it. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t have written it in the first place.


      1. Let’s break this down.

        The vagueness issue. You’ve contradicted yourself here. You say:
        1-the article is not vague because you can map it onto a European context.
        2-the article is vague because you’re making a ‘general principle’ argument.
        This is just the first sign of some obvious cognitive dissonance generated between the article and your responses. The article is vague given that you don’t contextualize it within a given frame. Retroactively (in the comments) mapping it onto a location doesn’t make the initial article any less vague. A reader should be able to understand the article’s point and context without having the author provide an explanation in the comments. It’s stuff like this (and how poorly the articles are written) that give me the impression that you really aren’t journalists at all. It’s ‘fortunate’ for you that you can hide under the claim that your anonymity protects your ‘career enterprises’. My estimate is that you’re just bloggers hiding under a flimsy claim to credibility. I’ll also mention that in the alternate case (that you’re simply bad journalists) that your desire to protect your identity expresses a clear detachment between the substance and language that you use in this site that you deem improper for associating with your name, but I digress.

        Other sources of cognitive dissonance. We discussed prior the purpose of the website available on the “who we are” page. You’re claiming simultaneously:
        1-that the articles are ‘retorts’ to ridiculous positions. The “You” in almost every article is a specific individual/position (or in this case, refugees). You expressly say that you are here to write inflammatory and unapologetic things.
        2-[in the comments] that your article is not actually inflammatory and aggressive in intent despite the examples I posted in the first comment on this article.
        Your defense to my criticisms involves you distancing yourself from the article’s tone and direction. You would be kidding yourself if you said that the tone with which you respond to my comments is consistent with the tone of the articles. Readers should take note of this inconsistency.

        A quick list of responses to your “specifics”:
        1-Nice smokescreen. So you don’t think of them as literally ‘inhuman’ but they aren’t ‘citizens’. You’re weakening your original language which makes every effort to create degrees of difference between ‘us’ and the ‘you’. My appeal to humanness did conversely imply that you were treating the refugee problem without humanity, but I did not think that you thought of them as “biologically/fundamentally different”. That’s really a low bar to set, at least I know you believe in basic biology. As far as basic humanity, you’re lacking a bit.
        2-Again I see you’re walking back the language of the article. The vagueness might allow this but I won’t let you off. You should be responsible in your discourse and the clear implication of how this is written is that the refugees are ‘uncivilized’, only your country is ‘civilized’. This is reminiscent of the discourse used to justify colonial and imperialist enterprises.
        3-You’re making a clarification with this point, but it’s non-responsive because I posed the questions to establish the article’s vagueness.
        4-See my point 1 of this list. Again I’m appealing to humanity and criticizing discourse. Arguing that your position is not legally inconsistent does not respond to my criticism.
        5-Thanks for the explanation of the immigration process. See point 4 and point 1. We both know that the initial language of your article expresses a sentiment beyond distinguishing between immigrants and refugees.
        6-This misunderstanding between vagueness and generalized principles is proof that you’re not a real journalist or your writing classes failed you. Your general principles don’t mean anything outside of the context within which they are realized or applied. Like I said way back in my original comment, your vagueness is a shield which allows for readers to play fill-in-the-blank.

        Consider this my Christmas present to you (Merry Christmas). I’m anticipating an article on the so-called “War on Christmas” any day now, I can’t wait.

        Happy Hanukkah (or seasonal equivalent),


    2. It’s a shame I can’t respond to your other comment directly. Three levels down seems to be the max for the comment system.

      I don’t know what to say. Your responses are so nonsensical that they are brilliantly amusing.

      1. Your lack of knowledge about the refugee crisis and your apparent zealousness to force this into an American context means MY article is vague? No, you just need to be better informed and get out of your comfort zone. I’m not here to inform you on something you should’ve been informed already.

      2. You honestly don’t understand how general principles arise out of limiting facts? Did you ever take science in school? If my principle is bad, say so. But don’t fabricate some no vagueness vs general principle nonsense. Your inability to comprehend correctly does not preclude the article being precise, and the article being specifically targeting does not preclude a meaningful principle of broad applicability from being drawn.

      3. I am retracting my intensity/language/tone/what have you? No, I am not. I was trying to explain to you what should’ve been clear in the first place. When you articulate something, it sounds less harsh. Since you are such an expert at judging who is a journalist (or who is a good journalist), shouldn’t you have known that? That not even journalism, it’s English 101.

      Your entire rebuttal is based on one single claim: My article is vague. This is the exact same approach you had with the other article. And because we failed to teach you every background context there is, the articles are therefore “poorly written”? Does that even sound intelligent to you?

      I think you are trying to sound smart by ignoring the merits and focusing on a technicality you have invented. In other words, I think you’re a moron who has too little knowledge of the current state of affairs to even formulate a coherent thought.

      You think I’m a hack who pretends to be a journalist under the protection of anonymity. I write with intentional vagueness to elicit emotional responses from readers without having to deal with the burdens of providing sources.

      But here’s the best part about this: both of us get to say exactly what we want to say.

      So, comment away! You sound more idiotic with each comment, while I sound more of an imbecile with each article. Isn’t it amazing what a marvelous balance a lack of knowledge and critical reasoning can bring?



      1. It IS true! If you leave a bad journalist at a keyboard wrong enough they will get something right once in a while. I’ll outline the things you got right…

        1) “I (Retortik) sound more of an imbecile with each article.” Not gonna dispute that in light of your most recent article.

        2) That I think you’re “a hack who pretends to be a journalist under the protection of anonymity.” Glad to see you understood.

        3) This is my personal favorite: “I (Retortik) write with intentional vagueness to elicit emotional responses from readers without having to deal with the burdens of providing sources.” I’ve heard of tripping at the finish line (but in your case you have yet to get out of the gate). Now I admit I could be misreading this sentence, it may be your description of my perception of you. However this sentence’s content is consistent with your defense earlier: “when you articulate something, it sounds less harsh.”

        You’re arguing both that the vagueness is intentional but also that the article itself isn’t vague. To break it down just in case you missed it… these things are incompatible and your argument against my criticism is thereby incoherent/self-defeating.

        It’s also quite damning that you’d prefer the harsh tone of an article to get a rise out of your audience instead of preferring to articulate a less harmful point. I get the sense though that you definitely prefer emotion to substance. But hey, that makes my job easier now doesn’t it? This inference of mine is the reason why I’m attacking your vagueness. It doesn’t matter to me that you’re bad writers/journalists, your readers can figure that out pretty easily. My point is that your blog is devoid of substance. You attempt to build up these ridiculous positions, uncharitably misinterpret something, and then attack the murky shadow of a strawman that you’ve built. It’s all empty anger and it’s heavily misdirected. Furthermore you pretend as though you’ve stumbled upon these “generalized principles” (honestly your use of this phrase is laughable) which are grounded in no reference to real world events. If you cited events they’d be contestable, but here I am repeating myself again (Either my first or second response on this page contains this line). Here’s some wisdom for the ages: generalized principles are realized out of the specific… so make like a scientist and show us your evidence.

        You’ve forgotten my criticism of your tone/humanity (you diverted to talking about vagueness). All of your articles are written in this inflammatory uncompassionate way and that’s what I object to. I wouldn’t mind if you took issue with specific people saying specific things, but you’re broadly painting groups (refugees) with terms like ‘uncivilized’ and the like. You can pretend like you weren’t (your first answer) but I’ve read the ‘about us’ page, I read the title, you’re too blatant in your project for anyone to buy that. You could say that you ‘only mean the ones that actually are troublesome’ but your article does not reflect that.

        In the end it should be clear to me and your readers: Your vagueness is a smokescreen for outrage.


  2. I’m not the author, but I feel I can chime in here.

    I noticed that you have responded to two articles just now. I will leave the other one for its author. I will just add that the “white privilege” phenomenon is well recognized, especially in the US. By throwing “white privilege” in people’s faces, rather than stating the actual purported “privilege”, it clearly amount to oppression. Those who voice that aggressively is far from nonexistent. A simple search of that term would give you plenty of sources to go off of.

    For this article, I also find it strange to request sources, as it is beyond well known. Unrestricted access and movement for refugees are the approach adopted by Merkel’s “All Refugees Welcome” policy. The same is the case in France, Sweden, and several other EU countries.

    To offer a counter example, I will use Hungary, as I am Hungarian. When the refugee crisis galvanized in 2015, Viktor Orban ordered a fence to be built along the southern Hungarian border, and ordered those who have already entered to be put into camps. This prompted international outcry, with Merkel at the lead.

    Orban was accused of being a fascist and a racist for trying to restrict access and movement for refugees within EU. Germany went even as far as demanding passage to Germany through intermediary countries without permitting those countries to register, document, and monitor the refugees. The stated reason is EU’s freedom of movement rights.

    None of this is some conspiracy cooked up by someone somewhere. In fact, these are so well known as facts that restating them is akin to remarking that Earth has oxygen.

    If your frame of reference is the US, then I can sort of understand. I, personally, don’t know much about what’s going on in the US, other than BLM and Trump. So, I can understand if someone from the US is not as well informed about the entire progression of the refugee crisis in Europe as someone who lives here would be.

    In other words, I can see how you saw this article as vague and baseless. I am simply chiming in because I doubt anyone from Hungary would see it that way.

    EDIT: In case you really want to read or watch the protests and counter-protests in Budapest over freedom of access and movement rights for incoming refugees, I recommend looking up Nygati and Keleti stations in Budapest. I was one of the hundreds of reporters covering the stations’ happenings live in 2015. I am confident that there is no shortage of articles and coverages about them online.


    1. Thanks for the reply I will definitely read up on the Nygati and Keleti stations and the Hungarian case in general. I’d comment on it now but admittedly I’m less familiar with the case there.

      I’ve got two specific responses though. First, the ‘you’ the author is invoking is obviously refugees. This is therefore less a discussion on policy or how pro- or anti-immigration politicians are received. So your examples do not strike me as being relevant to the defense of this article. My problem is that the author of this article writes uncharitably about refugees to the point of calling them/their country ‘uncivilized’. I can understand feeling worried about incoming refugees especially after the Berlin attack yesterday. However the article goes to far in framing refugees at large as threatening, uncivilized. The tone of this article is condescending even. Like I said before, the majority of refugees are displaced people who just want to get back to a stable livelihood. They didn’t have control of the geopolitical affairs that destroyed life as they knew it. For someone to perpetuate (especially without important caveats) this sort of divisive us/them spirit bodes badly for both sides.

      I think we more or less agree that the article’s vagueness serves as a major weakness. For the shallow reader, they have a knee-jerk reaction in either direction and reentrench themselves in whichever orientation they had started with. For the critical reader this article offers absolutely nothing. My opinion is of the sort that if you write for the former then you’re acting as a self-indulgent demagogue.


      1. If I had to guess, the reason why the author was addressing the refugees directly was likely because:

        1. The refugees are currently the most vocal about them not having the same rights as immigrants, as much of the support they had from the citizens has largely died off.

        2. Going after the citizens for their different policy leanings would be inconsistent with “You don’t get to demand like one of our fellow citizens.”

        As for how the refugees are being framed, it is necessary to start from the beginning of the refugee crisis.

        EU mandate permits temporary detainment of refugees pending background and eligibility verifications. At the beginning, this was followed without issues.

        However, as the influx grew exponentially, the verification queue became increasingly clogged. Because of this, refugees stayed in holding camps longer and longer, and eventually whether the detainment phase still constituted “temporary” or not became under fire.

        This is where countries such as Germany diverged from those such as Hungary. Germany took the approach of resettling refugees after a set number of days, regardless of the status of verification. Hungary, on the other hand, closed its borders and kept everyone in detainment, as a strict reading of the EU mandate would require.

        Without going into the considerations of either, it can be fairly said that:

        1. Germany’s approach resulted in a large number of unverified refugees roaming around freely. For example, Berlin Tempelhof refugee camp, the one the police just raided tonight, is more of a living quarter than a quarantine. Other than a curfew, no other access/movement is restricted.

        2. Hungary’s approach resulted in a large number of refugees spending what must seems like an endless duration in camps that weren’t built for long-term living. In fact, I live right next to one here in southern Hungary. I can totally understand the refugees’ frustration.

        Put together, we are seeing an increasingly polarized atmosphere surrounding which approach is better for the long run, with mostly refugees on one side and the citizens on the other. The attack in Berlin certainly did not help.

        To put this into a relatable perspective and without judging on the merits, when this article was first shared to various groups here in our respective countries, the majority actually saw this article as too soft and left leaning. In other words, they thought the tone was not harsh enough to encapsulate their feelings. This is how polarized the situation has become.

        The reality is that 99% of the refugees are legitimate victims of a war. However, people are becoming increasingly worried about the lack of security safeguards in many of the host countries. This is why this article touched on both the need for restrictions on refugees and the need for proper path to convert refugees to immigrants, albeit delivered in a very aggressive way.

        I’m sure that, as we write more articles and acquire better understanding of how they shape the audience pool, we will be able to achieve a better balance between delivering harsh truth vs. becoming a knee-jerking reaction ourselves 🙂


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