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Outcry: Syrian Refugee Crisis of Europe – Lives or Livelihoods ?

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The dramatic images of the refugee crisis in Europe is evoking strong emotions throughout the world. Even here in Sri Lanka.

One futile crisis leads to another futile crisis because of the same futile reason. A domino effect where fighting to be a ‘majority’ over humanity leads to people falling to the ground, dead, like dominos itself.

Why did the war in Syria begin?

Because Syria’s Sunni majority, the largest demographic, was tired of being treated as the minority compared to the dominant group of minority Alawite Shia Muslims. And the apparent method to be the first class citizen for both groups was a multiplier effect of ruthless murders and short sighted retaliation.

Why isn’t the EU opening their doors to the Syrian refugee’s?

Because, and quoting Hungarian Prime Minister, Viktor Orbán, “We may one morning wake up and realize that we are in the minority on our own continent” due to the high inflows of desperate and struggling refugees.

What is quickly becoming the largest refugee crisis that the world has seen in recent history all began because we, the human race on planet Earth, again have failed to act as one.Three years of conflict have resulted in well over 100,000 deaths, and more than 680,000 people have been injured. More than 9.3 million people are in need of assistance inside Syria, including at least 6.5 million who are internally displaced. The refugee crisis has left nearly 2.5 million people sheltered in neighbouring countries.  In Syria it is about either the Shia’s or the Sunni’s fighting in a ruthless civil war to secure the majority status in their nation. And for the EU it is about avoiding the threat of being the minority in their own nation. In layman’s terms, this is a majority-minority joke.

Something that people address only in clichéd speeches but fail to act on is the fact that we are one human race. The type of melanin that happens to be in our genes or the religion that we chose does not make us a different or lesser species compared to every other human being. To a child that still hasn’t gotten a chance to be confused and still cherishes his innocence see’s any monkey, whether it be a chimpanzee or a baboon, simply as a monkey. They clearly have physical differences and different levels of intelligence but are we going to penalize them for what nature has gifted them with? I hope not. Then why are we doing it to our own people?

The story of Hiba and her two children, six year old Nidal and thirteen year old Saba, and how they had been forced into a point in their lives where they had to choose between fleeing to an alien nation or staying and dying leaves one questioning the whole of humanity and how we can project such pain and trauma to another. “I felt…fear. I would pray that the sky would be cloudy so that planes couldn’t see us to drop shells on us. But the planes were always there.” said Saba, when describing the wretched situation in Syria. While children living in the nations that are able to provide aid for these civilians look up at the sky with excitement when a plane flies by, in another part of the world a child is hopelessly covering her head with her hands to save herself from blowing into bits. Just because it is not happening to us doesn’t mean it is not happening.

While the world selfishly debates and procrastinates no positive change is taking place. What is required is for the major powers to urge both regime and opposition camps to come to common consensus and fundamentally change their short sighted, self-interested policies by having meaningful talks that will create real concessions and compromises that address the grievances of all Syrians and create a transitional power-sharing fusion of both groups in Syria.

And in the meantime the most effective and efficient strategy to protect the refugees would be for the international community to provide aid and shelter for the displaced without delaying the saving of a life due to morally unprincipled procedures and economical and social impacts. As Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, stated “It is not credible to cite bureaucratic procedures as reasons for delay when it is the Government itself that controls those procedures,”.

In Syria people have chosen to paint their walls in blood and the rest of the world chooses to wash away its hands while children are being washed up on shore like dead fish. And one of the invalid justifications for this is because the people they aren’t saving aren’t their own people. Dear reader, we are our own people. When innocent lives are being brutally ruined every millisecond immigrant documenting and who will be the second class citizen should not matter. Even though it seems pathetically impractical and fairytale like, if no leader is going to step up and make the change that humanity has been yearning for since the beginning of time, that’s all it will ever be.

Of course we must consider our economic and social situations but in times as dire as this we must prioritise and choose a life or a livelihood. This school of thought where we look out for our own people is correct and ethical. But the school of thought that the entire human race isn’t our own people is incorrect. If we all acted as one and put these artificial differences behind us the Syrian crisis and even the Syrian refugee crisis would have been absurd and nonexistent.  It’s about breaking boundaries and bridging gaps, both literally and figuratively.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Ahmed Ismail

    September 9, 2015 at 6:15 am

    Brilliantly worded and brutally blunt truth. That’s what this is. Well done! Looking forward to more great pieces such as this.

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