There are 60 million refugees today. that’s a lot of people who cannot go back home for fear for their lives and are usually unwelcome anywhere else. But this horrific number is not only growing every day (which kinda makes me wonder how many more refugees can Syria “produce”), I believe it will keep on growing as the root causes are not diminishing rather than increasing. How long can Lebanon – a country of 4.5 people can support 1.5 million (!) refugees (1.1 out of which are Syrians, others are Palestinians) before it will collapse and its own citizen will flee from atrocities to Turkey, who already has 2.5 million Syrian refugees, thus creating a domino effect at the doorsteps of Europe.
Trying to heed the call of Shawn Achor and Malcolm Gladwell to find out outliers, I think it’s an interesting question to be asked regarding refugees – is there an ideal refugee? can we identify trait in refugees that makes their lives any easier? How well do entrepreneurs dwell in refugee camps, compared to engineers, military personnel or people who comes from nomadic cultures? do religious people fair better? positive-thinkers? people who come from lower socio-economic class (who therefore didn’t have much to lose when fleeing)?
look at a community of refugees – can we use their teacher to teach their own children? can we provide their engineer the tools to rebuild their camp into a town? can we use their law-enforcement? their own shop-keepers can run their shops. I think that if we that the sooner can help bring back normality into their life – the sooner we’ll dismantle the crisis from one of its great atrocities.
Another point that must be addressed is the stress on the countries hosting the refugee camps. The cannot and should not handle this burden alone. The status of “displaced” should be handled (given or removed once the person has settled) by the UN and not by each individual country and its arbitrary criteria. Once a person was declared as such, it is the responsibility of the UN to take care of his well-being. I understand xenophobic and racist lots who feat different cultures invading their countries and diluting their blood but once we accepted that this is a global problem that concerns us all, each country will be required to choose between letting refugees assimilate, allocating space for the UN’s displaced cities where people could build new lives for themselves or financially supporting countries that agreed to accept refugees. This leaves us only with the segregationists to handle – those who believe this is not their problem. how do we handle them today? countries which refuse to cap their CO2 emissions or ban usage of environmentally-disastrous substances? Well, we don’t. but that’s the topic of state-level enforcement is a subject for a future post.