3 September 2015   Leave a comment

The number of displaced persons in the world is the largest since World War II.  Many of these refugees are from war torn areas, particularly Syria.  Ishaan Tharoor of The Washington Post examines the rhetoric in Europe about the refugees and how closely it parallels anti-Jewish rhetoric in the 1930s, although in the present case the rhetoric is anti-Islamic.  The reactions in Europe to the refugees has been mixed.  By and large, the cities, particularly in Germany, have been welcoming to the refugees.  But in the smaller towns, the attitudes have been quite harsh.  One thing is clear:  the refugees are not entering Europe in search of a “better” life; they are entering Europe to simply stay alive.  The question few in the mainstream media have been asking, however, is where is the US in this tragedy?  Why hasn’t it stepped up to take in the refugees?

A Turkish Border Guard Carries the Body of a Dead Syrian Child

A Turkish border guard carries the body of a migrant child after a number of migrants died and a smaller number were reported missing after boats carrying them to the Greek island of Kos capsized, near the Turkish resort of Bodrum

Hungary is refusing to allow the refugees to leave the country on trains, insisting that the refugees must first go to camps.  The decision reflects the attitude of Prime Minister Orban who considers the refugees as a threat to Europe’s “Christian identity”.   In an op-ed written for the German newspaper, the Frankfurter Allgemeine, Orban wrote:

“We shouldn’t forget that the people who are coming here grew up in a different religion and represent a completely different culture. Most are not Christian, but Muslim…. That is an important question, because Europe and European culture have Christian roots.”

The refugees are stranded in the Keleti rail terminus in Budapest and they have no place to go and are surrounded by Hungarian police.

One should not underestimate the difficulties associated with accepting refugees.  But there are about 300,000 refugees seeking entry into Europe, a continent with about 490 million people.  The countries of Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq have taken in the vast number of the estimate 4 million Syrian refugees, and those countries are significantly less well off than those in Europe or in the US.  The country of Lebanon, for example, has taken in a total number of refugees that equal about a third of the Lebanese population: an unbelievable hardship.

Map: Refugee numbers in Syria's neighbouring countries

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Posted September 3, 2015 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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