The date: mid-2015. Here and on my Facebook page, I point out that most of the migrants arriving in Germany come from countries which aren't at war -- Kosovo, Albania, Serbia, the Maghreb states, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran -- and therefore aren't likely to be refugees. I dare to wonder why Germany is letting them into the country without even a background check.
One-world Germans, caught up in the fever dream of Wilkommenskultur, immediately zap over to Google, looking for reasons why it would be unethical, even inhumane, to send them back. And boy, do they find them. These Germans came back with shocking news: Those countries are poor! They have political corruption! They have backward customs that oppress women! (although women aren't coming). They have high unemployment! They have discrimination! They have regional insurgencies! Their education systems are flawed!
For a few months, the German press was filled with articles revealing to an unsuspecting public that many countries in the world apparently have less money than Germany, and flawed institutions to boot.
How could anybody possibly be heartless enough to send back anyone to such apocalyptic hellholes, I was asked repeatedly. What are you, some kind of xenophobic fascist? I'd like to see you go live in Albania!
And then the belligerently naïve delivered the killer argument: Nobody would ever voluntarily uproot themselves from their homeland and undertake a dangerous and expensive trek to Europe unless they were absolutely desperate and in fear for their lives.
After all, nobody ever leaves Germany to go live in other countries in search of a better life. Well, 3.4 million have, but let's not get distracted.
Yet now something strange is happening: Thousands of migrants are returning to these countries. So far in 2016, about 55,000 (g) have voluntarily left Germany, lured by nothing more than free plane ticket and a modest financial incentive ranging from €500 to €1200 per person depending on circumstances.
15,000 back to the smoldering toxic inferno of Albania, 5,000 each back to the desolate, bandit-plagued moonscapes of Serbia, Iraq, and Kosovo, 3200 back to Afghanistan. Amazing, given that there are only 30.5 million people left alive in that unlivable charnel-house.
You could almost be forgiven for thinking these folks were merely economic migrants who just wanted to see if they could live in a richer, more stable country than their own, and found they couldn't, or didn't want to.