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"One defamation ... holds that the refugees aren't really poor because they can afford smartphones (whereas those smartphones are their only valuables and are used as maps and news source)"

Actually those smartphones are less valuable than they look. The manufacturers were unable to sell many of them at the regular price in the Middle East, and then created special "Middle East/China/Brazil models" with a lower quality of many parts (like the cameras), and much cheaper. These smartphones are fairly affordable, especially because their owners very often do not possess other electronic devices (like laptops, TV).

More facts on the smartphone nonsense (in German) here.

by Katrin on Tue Sep 1st, 2015 at 05:22:52 AM EST
It's worth to add to notes here. One, while most of the anti-refugee nonsense is pan-European, the smartphone one has a greater pull in Hungary (and, I guess, to the south-east from here) because most people still have 'normal' phones (something partly related to pricing by local providers – I don't have one for economic reasons, too).

Two, I read an article in which emphasized that the smartphones changed migration in a major way: thanks to the maps and tips on refugee Facebook groups, over half of the refugees now travel on their own, without paying the smugglers (or pay them only at the most difficult spots, like the EU external borders).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Sep 1st, 2015 at 06:32:17 AM EST
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In Sweden it is: They have iPhones! In effect, they have up-scale smart phones.

As most complaints, these are mostly direct at the - mostly Roumanian romani - street beggars that the last few years has swamped the rather small domestic groups of street beggars. From their stories it is pretty clear that they used to be able to get by on seasonal manual labor and marginal jobs in south Europe.

Though it was a while since I heard the iPhone one. Perhaps because you can essentially get an old iPhone for free.

by fjallstrom on Tue Sep 1st, 2015 at 03:10:51 PM EST
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A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Sep 3rd, 2015 at 10:30:23 AM EST
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