Lauren Southern, prominent Canadian alt-right activist, author and internet personality spoke at UCI last Thursday about her investigations into the Syrian refugee crisis, calling many of the “mainstream media” news reports from 2015 onwards false.
The event, hosted by the College Republicans at UCI, took place at Crystal Cove Auditorium in the Student Center. Barricades were erected for the safety of Southern and the event goers.
Throughout the talk, Southern alleged that many people fleeing the Syrian Civil War are not refugees but “economic migrants” taking advantage of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to relocate to Western countries.
Southern traveled to Libya and Catania, Italy to investigate human trafficking in Libya with Generation Identity, a global alt-right and anti-jihadist movement begun in France in 2012 as Génération Identitaire.
Southern claimed that in her investigations, she discovered that “migrants” are being rescued by humanitarian NGO boats that are “going and picking them up illegally and they are dropping them off illegally.”
Human trafficking organizations which have been illegally smuggling migrants into Europe, according to Southern, have sought the support of NGOs in order to keep their businesses afloat — businesses that are killing refugees, she said.
“They all know these boats will sink,” Southern said. “They buy cheap dinghies and they send them out there and half of them never make it.”
“NGOs are going up to these human traffickers, shaking hands, and letting the migrants on board. It’s become a business.”
Southern claimed that it costs about $3,000 to pay human traffickers to transport refugees to Europe, money that Southern said many legitimate refugees from Syria would not have.
Southern said she found that the family of Aylan Kurdi, the drowned Syrian boy whose picture launched the refugee crisis into Western consciousness, had been in possession of around $3,000 upon fleeing Syria, money she doubted they would have had if they were fleeing as refugees, and not as migrants who are willing to pay NGOs and human traffickers to transport them to Europe.
She also claimed that 68 percent of people coming to Europe via migrant boat are middle aged men who, as Southern interpreted, are “posing as refugees,” while only 18 percent of refugees were children, contrary to “mainstream media outlets” like CNN, who, according to Southern, inflate the number of children migrating to Europe.
Southern argued that the main reason refugees flee to Europe is not to flee oppression, but to gain greater economic opportunities abroad.
“Governments are turning a blind eye to [this issue of human trafficking] because of pressure from the European Union and other organizations,” said Southern.
Southern argued that she did not have any political reasons for bringing up discrepancies regarding the migrant crisis or “making things up just to sound right.”
“I am here to tell the truth,” she told her audience.
She blasted journalists “of this day and age” for their reporting of the migrant crisis, categorizing them as either “some half-baked English major who’s obsessed with soy lattes, avocado toast, elitism and gossip” or “an introvert picking Cheetos out of their belly button and constantly refreshing Twitter.”
“They don’t care who these people are, or where they come from,” Southern said. “They have their protocol to go by, and their protocol is: all dark-skinned individuals are poor, helpless refugees who must be protected at all costs, and any people who question the validity of the refugees’ status or of mass migration are heartless bigots.”
Southern promised to conduct more interviews with refugees experiencing the crisis, and further research the impact on the towns of refugees as well as the West.
She urged people to start talking about the “wonderful beautiful things that are happening in the world” rather than being “negative all the time.”
“I do believe my part to play in this is to hopefully be spreading truth and spreading other people’s stories,” she said.