Photo credit: Calais, France/Google Earth 10/10/2016
THIS is not just a European crisis. It is not only in France that there is an influx of slum-like migrant camps like Calais are full of refugees who are awaiting asylum in wealthy, job-filled Western nations. Because of what is going on in Syria, many millions have made the journey through dozens of countries and over thousands of kilometers — on their way to places like the UK, Germany, the US, and Canada. Since the Syrian civil war broke out in 2011, millions of Syrians have fled their country seeking refuge. Most Syrians are now in places like Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan. The unrest in Syria began within the context of Arab Spring protests, with nationwide protests against President Bashar al-Assad‘s government — which responded with violent crackdowns on the population.
Places like Hungary, however, have made it even more difficult for the fleeing refugees. They’re constructing a barbed-wire fence along their borders to prevent migrants from climbing over it. This creates a funnel effect just squeezes more and more people into countries like Croatia, Slovenia, and Austria — causing further problems.
The conflict gradually morphed from prominent protests to an armed rebellion after months of military sieges. This map shows how many Syrians taking refuge in neighboring countries in 2015:
Jordan has a population of only 6.5 million and is hosting over 650,000 people. That’s 10% refugee population in 4 years just because of this one crisis. The Gulf States — Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, and Qatar (though they have been supplying financial aid to Syria) have all turned their backs on the refugees, only allowing a selected few to cross into their borders.
Syrians filed 103,708 asylum applications in 2015. Of those, more than 57,000 have already been accepted, so will most of the rest: The success rate among Syrians is 93.2 percent. This year, Germany will probably take in more Syrians than the U.S. refugee total [per annum], even though it has a population one-quarter the size. Besides, Germany has to house hundreds of thousands of asylum-seekers — more than 700,000 so far this year — and pay them a stipend of 143 euros ($152) for basic needs.
Germany has pledged to take in over 800,000 asylum seekers. The US will take in 10,000. Canada will only take in 25,000 refugees. What a joke! These people are just like us and what they need the intellectual support of the international community foremost. Just because of a war on terrorism, we turn our backs on them. We have the room… We have the money… Why are we being so xenophobic against Arabs and Muslims? Why are we so afraid?