Saturday, September 19, 2015

The Unrelenting Crisis: From Syria To Europe

"The crisis is growing and being pushed from one country to another. You aren't going to solve these problems by closing borders."
Adrian Edwards, UNHCR

"What else can we do? You are welcome in Croatia and you can pass through Croatia. But go on."
"Not because we don't like you, but because this is not your final destination."
"We have a heart but we also have a brain."
Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic
Syrian migrants and refugees march along the highway towards the Turkish-Greek border at Edirne on September 18, 2015. Several hundred migrants who have been blocked by police in northwest Turkey from crossing overland into Greece drew closer to the border after the authorities briefly opened the route. From their makeshift camp on the outskirts of the border city of Edirne the migrants -- mostly Syrian refugees -- began walking in the direction of the city centre, beyond which lies the road to Greece, an AFP photographer reported. AFP PHOTO/BULENT KILIC
Syrian migrants and refugees march along the highway toward the Turkish-Greek border at Edirne. Bulent Kilic/AFP/Getty Images

A nation of 4.2-million people is hardly in a position to accommodate, even briefly, the ten-thousand-daily flood of refugees inundating the country. It is not a wealthy nation, and it, like its neighbours is functionally incapable of satisfying even the immediate needs of refugees who have left their home countries behind, fleeing oppression, economic privation, and viciously violent deliberate targeting by their own government.

There are some estimates that the vast numbers of refugees are healthy young men escaping a lack of opportunities to advance their futures in any meaningful way. That they are young and virile, healthy and full of resentment and need might mean that they should remain where they are and lend themselves to the struggle of defending themselves with the purpose of uprooting the violent corruption that has led to their exile.

That old adage that one can give a starving man food or teach him to plant his own for his survival can be construed as the need for people to assemble and make their demands and converge on the tyranny that diminishes their human rights and themselves overturn their oppressors. In the Middle East, in dysfunctional Islamist societies this is easier imagined than accomplished, but the will must be there to face their own obligations to themselves.

Muslim states could launch a combined concerted effort to remove the brutal dictators whose regimes murder their own civilians, instead of perching on their oil wealth awaiting such action to arise from non-Muslim countries having compassion that they themselves are absent of. And the logistics of taking in refugees and offering asylum is not one that neighbouring Muslim countries concern themselves with.

It is Europe where the asylum-seekers arrive at in great sacrifice of well-being, risking their lives to reach an imagined shore of welcome and plenty where their lives will take a turn for the better as they escape their heritage. They arrive to countries that now panic at the prospect of receiving ever greater hordes of angry and desperate refugees, with no logical means to serve their interests. The weary, injured, hungry and demoralized haven-seekers find the reality of hostility greeting them.

Each targeted nation, from Greece to Italy, Croatia to Hungary, Spain to Serbia incapable of organizing anything resembling a functioning haven for the unending streams of tens of thousands who keep arriving have finally in fear and frustration, cut off all avenues of ingress. From the closure of borders to blocking bridges and shutting down of trains and all other manner of transportation in a hopeless bid to halt the influx, ire and misery rise.

Croatia, overwhelmed, buses migrants back to Hungary in convoys and closes ts border with Serbia. Slovenia closed rail service to Croatia, sending migrants back, and Hungary is building another razor wire border fence with Croatia. In Hungary, police take refugees to registration points, precisely where the refugees have no wish to be gathered.

Migrants trample over one another in their rush to find places where they hope they will be taken to a point where they can continue their journey to the west. Migrants sleep on the streets, on train tracks, at gas stations, scrambling to board local buses that will take them nowhere they wish to go, in the hopes that on arrival they will find they are somewhere useful.

"We came here last night when they said 'wait here for a while' and then they brought in police cars to block the bridge", Ahmed Ali from the Yarmouk neighbourhood of Damascus said, holding in his arms a baby girl. The vast majority of the refugees rushing to find haven with the ultimate destination of Germany are young males. But the photographs published internationally are of vulnerable children ripped from their homes while their desperate families attempt to find a place that will accept them.

It is the children, the women, the men who accompany them for whom haven should be found. They become victims all over again in the presence of an overwhelming number of men from misogynistic cultures for whom women's safety and human rights simply is no issue at all.

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