We must not confuse refugees with economic migrants
After listening to and reading many uninformed comments in the media and on forums, I’d like to clear up one thing. The majority of Syrian refugee families are NOT economic migrants who want to sponge off the UK on welfare benefits. They are families like us that are trying to find safety and shelter.
So, let’s look at a few facts.
The US and allies destabilise Iraq which results in the growth of ISIS which spills over into Syria. Try searching online “7 countries in 5 years”. ISIS would probably not have come into being without the West’s intervention.
Civil war in Syria begins with the US and allies backing anti Assad groups (more US destabilisation, especially if a country is aligned with Russia)
Normal, well educated, working families are caught up in the fighting and flee Syria, at least 4.2 million as of October 2015. A total of 11 million are displaced. Homes and businesses are destroyed. It’s a catastrophe. It will take many years to rebuild.
Syria escalates into proxy war with US, Turkey, Russia and Saudi Arabia all involved.
Refugee camps in Turkey and Lebanon cannot cope; conditions are horrendous and are not a long term option. It’s suggested Turkey and countries like Saudi Arabia could take many refugees, but these are two of the proxy players aiming for regime change in Syria.
Syrian families, most of whom actually want to return to Syria, are now forced to leave the camps and begin a dangerous journey to try and find a safe and better temporary life for their families.
EU countries, many of which are US allies and helped cause this, now become frightened at the sight of so many refugees heading their way. Governments seem powerless and bicker between themselves. Morals of individual people are tested for the first time for many and found wanting. A thing that many people pick up on, for example, is the fact that most of these families have Smart phones so must be rich! If you were embarking on a dangerous journey across a continent with a young family, would you leave your phone behind? It is their life line.
To totally confuse matters further many economic migrants, mainly young men, join this river of people, throwing away their passports and claiming to be Syrian! This is now a major problem as the media and ignorant people now lump all these people together and label them unwanted immigrants.
A drowned child’s image is flashed across the media and for a few days everyone cares before going back to watching Strictly Come Dancing or X-Factor. Meanwhile many more drown and will continue to die over this winter as we stuff ourselves over the Christmas period.
YouTube has many heartbreaking videos of this river of Syrian families, mostly walking, across Europe. Young, old and disabled, many nights sleeping out in the open as fences go up. We will probably resort to tear-gassing young kids if things get much worse.
From the YouTube videos you can see these Syrian families are intelligent, hard working families who had to leave good jobs, nice homes, cars, pets, relatives, schools and decent healthcare. They are articulate and seem to speak English better than most Brits I know.
Over the weekend I sent one thousand euros to help a small bunch of Spanish lifeguards from Barcelona, who, after seeing the pictures of Aylan (the Syrian toddler) washed up on the beach, pooled their own money, travelled to Lesbos in the East Aegean and are now in a 24/7 life or death struggle trying to save women and children from drowning (See Proactiva Open Arms).
I am hoping this letter will encourage a little humanity from Cyprus Mail readers and not some of the extremely uninformed and upsetting comments I have been reading on the paper’s website lately.
This is about Syrian refugee families and NOT economic migrants. The two are not to be confused.
This crisis will test Europe and individuals alike over the coming years and no doubt the UK will join US and bomb even more Syrian homes and businesses into dust, and we can then continue to bemoan the fact that many more refugees will be trying to escape the violence and head north to safety.
D A Edwards, Kolossi, an average working class family guy