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About the Refugees

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"In the end only kindness matters." It's not merely a phrase or tag line for my blog. I care about humanity, and hope to leave a positive legacy and impact on the world during my lifetime, no matter how small. Almost everywhere I travel, I try to understand the humans I encounter, their place in the world, and how they got there. This was the case during my trip to Israel last year, where so many of my travel companions visited only holy sites. While in East Jerusalem, I left the group to visit a refugee camp. It wasn't filled with Syrians, of course, but Palestinians who basically live in dire circumstances, and garbage filled plots. This experience changed my life, and the emotions that overcame me during the visit will never be accurately conveyed in words. It was there I met the young girl pictured in this photo, and many others like her, who are basically born into chaos and instability. Perhaps I'll tell you their story later this week, but I just want to say a few words about the current refugee crisis.

Last week, I grew tired of watching media coverage of this event. I don't support the decision of the press to publish the photo of that poor drowned child, Aylan, on the Turkish shore. In my view, it's mere exploitation, and shows a lack of respect for the family. The purpose of it I'll never understand, except to note that in today's society provocative images feed mass culture and generate hysteria, for both better and worse. Each night on various American channels, we see dramatic stories about the crisis, pulling on viewers' heart strings by showing weeping mothers with children desperately clinging to their arms. Weary fathers and young men stepping out of boats and flimsy rafts, their feet now on safer shores after harrowing sea journeys. Angry old women screaming about abuse by Hungarian and other European border officials. Many of the refugees seemingly unwilling to settle for anything other than Germany or Britain - two of the most prosperous countries in the EU. This is the most perplexing part of the current situation for me. Having personally worked with refugees and asylum seekers in my legal career, I can say that most who are desperate to leave behind the horrors of their homeland will seek refuge in the first country in which they cross. They don't make demands, or pick and choose the country into which they will assimilate. Their new home is almost always the first foreign soil on which they step foot - either by land, sea, train or other transport. The goal - to make it to ANY country that is safer and better than the one from which they fled. The current crisis is unique to some extent, as Hungary and other countries have made it clear the refugees aren't wanted and there's no ability to accommodate them.

What's the answer? No one can know, not even the leaders of nations who are partly to blame for the crisis, including the EU and America. Russia also, as Putin has openly admitted supporting the Assad regime. I've read a lot of posts about this situation on LiveJournal, and hundreds of comments. Xenophobia runs rampant, complete intolerance and even a gleeful attitude by some that Europe and America is getting what they deserve. Yet almost none of the commentors offer any type of solution. The crisis is here, staring Europe and the West in the face, and inaction isn't a viable option at this point. The influx of humanity is too large.

I've said over and over again that I'm very sympathetic to immigrants, and civil societies should make efforts to accommodate refugees, but there are limits. And this is the dilemma. The intricate balance between true humanitarian relief, and allowing millions of free loaders into a system that will eventually feed them money, medicine and other social benefits. Or, even worse, allowing a select few to seek refuge, only to have them turn in the future and try to annihilate the citizens of the very country which took them in. We've seen it before right here on U.S. soil, with the Chechen bombers.

I've noticed that many people in comments to other posts focus on the fact that the majority of those crossing are young men. Where are all the women and children, they say? To me, this isn't so unusual. Young men come, they have the ability, strength and capacity to work and earn in a new country. Poor families don't have the financial resources to pay smugglers to escort entire families. Once the men are settled, and especially if they are able to obtain some type of asylum protection, there is a solid basis to bring the rest of the family over legally under most Western systems.

Then, I see photos like this in the press. Young men taking selfies after arrival on the Greek shoreline. I'm sorry, but true refugees are typically terrified and would never contemplate such action. Or, has social media and technology made the world so narcissistic that even those fleeing war and tragedy need to post selfies on Facebook? It's completely unfathomable to me. I'm a tolerant person, but such images cause a lot of doubt in my mind about the plight of some of the people demanding entry into Europe. This group of men - they are clearly economic migrants. Not refugees. There's a huge difference. Both under the law, and from a humanitarian perspective.


What do you think?  How should Europe handle the crisis? What will America do? Open the flood gates and allow asylum petitions for the Syrians? I would offer my opinion, but honestly I have no idea how to handle this political and humanitarian crisis. Offer your opinions, but please be respectful in the comments.


Sep. 8th, 2015 01:49 am (UTC)
Сирийские дети выглядят кротко, но их родители не всегда ведут себя хорошо. Многие беженцы приносят фундаментальный Ислам, криминал и средневековые обычаи на Запад. Не удивительно, что их никто не хочет принимать.
Я думаю, Запад должен помочь остановить войну на Ближнем Востоке. Это будет лучшей помощью.
Как конкретно я не знаю. Возможно надо отбомбится по Ассаду, как было сделано с Каддафи.

Syrian kids look cute, but their parents, not always behave in the best way. A lot of refugees bring fundamentalist Islam, crime and mid evil customs to Western World. So no wonder they are not welcome.
I believe West should help to stop war(s) in the Middle East. This would be best help.
How exactly I'm not sure. Maybe just bomb Assad, similar to previous dictator Qaddafi.
Sep. 8th, 2015 01:55 am (UTC)
I understand this is a concern for many Europeans - the integration of fundamentalist Islamic ideas into the culture. In the U.S., we've not yet experienced this, at least not that I've seen. In places like France such concerns are much more wide-spread and legitimate. The Muslim population is much higher in Europe, when compared to the USA. About the war, it's a great idea but not practical. Many nations have blood on their hands, including the USA. :( Human casualties and suffering are always a collateral consequence of warfare. No matter the war, no matter the country.
Sep. 8th, 2015 06:30 pm (UTC)

> In the U.S., we've not yet experienced this, at least not that I've seen.
Actually we do. I've heard about number of cases when school banned shirts with American flag because American flag could offend immigrants. I see more stupidity rather than niceness in this action. But I'm conservative and, of course, i maybe wrong.

Sep. 8th, 2015 06:38 pm (UTC)
Yes, there are always these crazy cases. Now, we have a Muslim flight attendant who is upset that she has to serve alcohol on the plane. She has sued her employer over this.
Sep. 8th, 2015 08:26 pm (UTC)

This is business environment not attending some public place on weekend. With this precedent I could try to sue my employer for dresscode, for working on Sabbath day, for weapon's ban (because this weapon is part of my national dress), name the reason. People mixed up business environment rule and taking their personal freedoms. She can practice alcohol-free environment in her home but she can't do it at work place if it contradicts her duties.

Sep. 8th, 2015 05:06 am (UTC)
Да вы человек высоких идеалов, мечтатель и идеалист...:)
В первый раз такое читаю, на вопрос как решить проблему беженцев человек пишет " Возможно надо отбомбится по Ассаду..."
Несомненно, только бомбёжки, насилие, концентрационные лагеря, стерилизация и другие гуманные, доказавшие свою эффективность методы решат проблему беженцев. Это как с Саддамом - убили его и мир стал лучше и светлей, Ближний Восток расцвёл. Блок-посты и беспилотные самолёты в небе всегда ведут к расцвету культуры.
Sep. 8th, 2015 02:40 pm (UTC)
Re: Да вы человек высоких идеалов, мечтатель и идеалист..
Саддам плохой пример. Каддафи пример получше - угнетаемая часть нации смогла выйти из лагерей, а вмешательство извне закончилось быстро.
Sep. 8th, 2015 02:57 pm (UTC)
Re: Да вы человек высоких идеалов, мечтатель и идеалист..
Да вы правы. Ливия является ярким примером:
Все счастливы и танцуют. Гражданская война это проверенный путь к счастью, не правда ли? Несомненно, ООН должно поощрять и поддерживать гражданские войны по всей планете, мир станет лучше:)
Sep. 9th, 2015 03:52 am (UTC)
Re: Да вы человек высоких идеалов, мечтатель и идеалист..
гражданская война это преувеличение..
Sep. 9th, 2015 05:38 am (UTC)
Re: Да вы человек высоких идеалов, мечтатель и идеалист..
Против тезиса "Википедия всё врёт" у меня нет аргументов:(
Sep. 9th, 2015 01:26 pm (UTC)
Re: Да вы человек высоких идеалов, мечтатель и идеалист..
где вики пишет про гражданскую войну? и лучше ли это, чем пол населения в концлагерях и сбитые пассажирские самолёты, чем увлекался ваш дружок Путина?
Sep. 9th, 2015 01:59 pm (UTC)
Re: Да вы человек высоких идеалов, мечтатель и идеалист..
Это даже весело уже:)
давненько не общался с людьми, которым надо по два раза повторять.
Ну и, конечно, да. Худой мир лучше доброй войны.
Sep. 10th, 2015 04:03 am (UTC)
Re: Да вы человек высоких идеалов, мечтатель и идеалист..
Ок. Соглашусь.
Но в Сирии война уже идёт и довольно давно. Жертв - уже сотни тысяч (200 - 300 тыс).
Для сравнения, число жертв во время Ливийских конфликтов сотни-тысячи.
А то, что они в Ливии не могут помирится, когда работа по уничтожению диктатора гнобившего полстраны в концлагерях, была уже сделана за них, совсем не вина Запада.
Запад не виноват, что народ на Востоке такой воинственный, что много племён, религиозных фундаменталистов и шаровые нефтяные бабки.

Ещё один способ - это уничтожить финансирование ИГИЛ. Как неясно, т.к. их финансирование "нефтяное" и диверсифицированно. Ну и уничтожить ИГИЛ = поддержать Ассада. Короче оба варианта плохие.
Sep. 10th, 2015 04:17 am (UTC)
Re: Да вы человек высоких идеалов, мечтатель и идеалист..
Бедственное положение народов Африки - прямая вина европейских стран. Колониальная политика империй уничтожила все институты самоуправления у этих народов, всякое представление о гражданском обществе и когда эти страны получили независимость, почти все они стали управляемы мерзкими диктаторами, которые воспользовались плодами иноземного порабощения - привычкой народов к бесправию и насилию и отсутствием понимания ценности демократии.
Sep. 8th, 2015 04:53 pm (UTC)
What do you smoke? When I decide to resign from this world, I want to use same stuff.


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