Newsgroup Dialogue

Refusing entry into their respective countries, the developed nations of the world demonstrate an impressive indifference to the health and well-being of the Syrian refugees. From limiting the humanitarian aid provided to refusing to accept their fair share of refugees in fear of costs, the U.S. refuses to provide ample aid to reduce the stress on Europe. Even then, Europe itself calls for stricter border enforcement to prevent more refugees from coming through. By limiting their access, these refugees, crowded in an unfamiliar space, will not receive any form of healthcare they need and the developed nations will have fallen woefully short on their pledges to help.

Diana: Reading through all the information regarding the Syrian refugees and what the developed nations are trying to do, I feel that this quote really sums up the root of the problems: “‘It is a question of credibility,” Mr. Juncker, the president of the European Commission, said Thursday, adding that leaders need to show “whether they can live up to their promises.”

Donny: That is a good point, Diana, but at the same time it is that they simply lack the desire to help instead of being unable. Even though they could potentially save thousands of lives, the developed nations in Europe as well as the United States hold an indifference toward the refugees because they are not their citizens. It is particularly easy for the United States because it is separated by an ocean. By not doing anything the developed nations just watch as thousands of refugees risk death trying to get into Europe. As Roger Cohen aptly puts it “indifference kills.”

MC: Agreed. In addition to Donny’s laudable point that developed nations have an opportunity and duty to take responsibility for Syrian refugees’ lives, to reiterate Anand Giridharadas’ point, aid is also “a statement of values and solidarity.” Beyond solidarity, the U.S. and the world would benefit from the mitigation of this crisis to help regain stability in the affected regions, as World Bank Vice President Hafez Ghanem states. As a shareholder, the U.S. could compensate Syria’s neighboring countries (namely Turkey) through the World Bank to help deal with the financial burden associated with taking in “the biggest wave of displaced people since World War Two.” This would be the biggest show of solidarity.

Robert: Going back to the first article, Brussels was willing to provide billions of euros of funding for Turkey to slow the movement of migrants into Europe. European nations are clearly willing to provide money to solve the problem, but they are less willing to fund efforts that actually help refugees. I agree, indifference is the problem here. As Elizabeth Collett, director of the Migration Policy Institute Europe, put it, it is ”much easier to agree on the need for strong borders” than to agree on how to deal with the refugees that have arrived.

Donny: Fortunately not all the countries in Europe are holding out against the influx of refugees, the people of Greece are not looking at the refugees as a bane on their resources but as the scared people who have left behind everything they have ever known to seek a better life. In Suzanne Daley’s article she talks about how many in Greece are volunteering in every way they can to help. Perhaps if the other nations of Europe could look at the big picture and acknowledge these people as people they would be more willing to help.

Robert: The picture in Greece is not as rosy as you painted it. While there are many good samaritans in Greece willing to give rides and provide food and clothes to the refugees, government authorities, eager to get rid of the refugees, enforced human trafficking laws and jailed volunteers that were providing for the refugees. Business owners also sought to exploit the massive influx of refugees by raising prices for water and hotel rooms, even making people pay to charge their phones. With Greece’s current economic crisis, they simply can’t sustain welfare programs for refugees, and local business, desperate for any increase in profit, overcharge the already cash-strapped refugees for basic needs, like food and shelter.

Sidney: I also read in another article about the possibility that MC introduced, of the World Bank compensating Syria’s surrounding countries for aiding in the refugee crisis. While I agree this could be an excellent display of solidarity, these efforts may in fact prove unfruitful. World Bank rules don’t allow for the granting of money to places like Lebanon who identify as middle-income countries.Therefore Lebanon does not qualify for compensation, yet by themselves cannot afford to house refugees. So even with the generous efforts of the World Bank, some of Syria’s neighboring nations may still not have sufficient resources to provide any kind of aid or refuge. This brings us back to the drawing board as to where and how we can siphon the funds to aid Syrian refugees.

The Syrian refugee crisis is an issue that all nations can agree is difficult to control, yet attempts to aid the refugees and mitigate their impact on recieving nations are simply not enough to create a lasting effect that will resolve issues for the long run. Many nations are hesitant to offer assistance to non-citizens of the country, citing their lack of economic stability, especially since some of them are unable to receive funds from the World Bank. However, others are perfectly able but still do not offer much assistance perhaps because they are farther away from the area and merely view the refugees as “refugees,” rather than people in need of help.