An ordinary day at Emmen station, an example of how our failing asylum policy disrupts daily reality. It is not only the noise of arriving trains that breaks the silence, but also the screams of safe-landers who have made moonlighting their daily sport. A chase, like out of a Hollywood movie, unfolds as two men come sprinting out of the bus from Ter Apel writes the Telegraph. But this is not a movie, this is the sad culmination of policies that are as leaky as a basket.
And there they are, our conductors and security staff of Blauwnet-Arriva, spending more time running after safe-landers than providing a safe journey for the paying passenger. These are scenes befitting a degraded society, not our once amiable Netherlands.
It is a shameless play in which the black riders play the leading role and the conductors have to take on the unwitting supporting role of law enforcement. A task that should not be theirs, but that has been forced upon them by a government that has lost out. A government more concerned with the welfare of asylum seekers than with the safety of its own citizens and public transport workers.
Jieskje Hollander, regional director at Arriva, tells the Telegraph that this is not an incident. The so-called safe-landers cause problems on all fronts, and it is the staff that takes the hit. A sad reality in which employees of transport companies have to be equipped with bodycams, stab-proof vests and handcuffs, as if they were part of a special police unit.
This is not just a failure of asylum policy, it is a failure of government in its core mission: to protect its citizens. A government more concerned with keeping up the appearance of tolerance while society hardens and its workers suffer.
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It is time for us to stop patronizing. Time for a crackdown on those who abuse our hospitality. And time for a government that does not pander to the empty rhetoric of human rights organizations, but listens to the cries of distress of its own people. Conductors and other public transport workers deserve better. The Netherlands deserves better.