Let’s not forget where the refugees are coming from.
When my girlfriend forced me to watch The Diary of Bridget Jones (no truly, I was forced), this was one of the few parts in the movie I found particularly funny:
Not because Bridget sounds like a doofus trying to say the region’s name, but because it really felt like a throwback to the late 1990s. That said, just like then, we have some part of the world in deep distress that we are distant from, that we forget about until someone decides to broker a solution or until it shows up at our front door.
Since 2011, one of those places has been Syria. From the beginning of the civil war to the talk of arming “moderate” rebels to Vladimir Putin brokering a deal on chemical weapons with the Assad regime, the media focused heavily on the conflict there. Then suddenly, especially as the trouble in Ukraine and ISIS took the spotlight, it faded out, even though there was no indication that that the conflict was over. This is also the case with other countries with a large migrant outflow. Libya. Somalia. Iraq. Eritrea (where now?). And so on. Why hear about it now?
Now that 71 people have been found dead in a van in Austria and the photo of a dead 3-year-old boy attempting to migrate out of Turkey has gone viral, we’ve noticed that Europe (as well as other developed countries) has a bit of problem with taking in refugees.
We must remember the source of refugees, not just worry about the problem when they show up at the door, especially if we don’t want to take them all. The media, at least this morning, seemed reluctant to name the source of the influx in the headlines, and continues to call it a ‘migration’ crisis. To not give the full story is a disservice to its consumers. You can see a summary of why this crisis is happening – from the Times of India.
Now, how to address the crisis. Some like Rand Paul are saying we “can’t accept the whole world,” which I agree with. No one nation should have to bear the ‘burden’ of refugees from war-torn countries if there are so many developed, peaceful nations to spread responsibility, which the U.K. government is learning. First of all, it’s not necessarily a burden, as in the case of a civil engineer mentioned here. But we cannot let a crisis like this to continue unabated in a region like this, or the wounds will get deeper. And it will be harder for people in that region to move on from conflict.
The international community needs to take some level of responsibility for a humanitarian crisis. The crisis, to be fair, was understandably difficult; who wants to force peace in the country neighboring still-shaky Iraq? But if other nations can’t find a direct way to peace in these regions, it ought to be open to innocent people trying to get out of them.
Or we can just forget about it.