Syrian Refugees: Images & Reality

One would have to possess a heart of stone not to be moved by the image of 5-year old Omran Daqneesh, sitting on a chair in a Lebanese medical facility covered in blood and dust lucky to be alive as the building he lived in Aleppo was struck either by the Syrian government or the Russians (courtesy of Iran).

The image is naturally reminiscent of one taken nearly a year ago when 3-year old Aylan Kurdi washed up on a Turkish beach. Unlike Omran, Aylan would not live another day. His image was the impetus for the influx of Syrian refugees in the West and, as I noted at the time, would become a significant issue in last year’s Canadian federal election which saw Justin Trudeau come to power pledging to bring in 25,000 Syrian refugees. Canada’s Liberal government has brought in 25,000 refugees with plans to bring in an additional 25,000 by the end of the year. However, the government has bungled the private sponsorship program plus all too frequent reports from Syrian women of domestic abuse at the hands of their husbands.

But these problems pale in comparison to the ones that have plagued Europe, especially Germany courtesy of Herr Merkel. If we include the backlog of asylum seekers at various German diplomatic missions in the Middle East, Germany will soon become to 5 million Syrian refugees.

You will recall that German authorities weren’t exactly forthcoming about the massive sexual assaults committed by Syrian and other asylum seekers on New Year’s Eve in Cologne, Hamburg and elsewhere. The evidence suggests that 1,200 German women were assaulted approximately 2,000 men. Not all were from Syria, but surely Germans cannot be blamed for objecting to asylum seekers who see fit to wanton sexual assault just as they would object asylum seekers who pledge allegiance to ISIS be it a Syrian refugee who detonated a suicide bomb at a music festival in Ansbach last month or an Afghan refugee stabbing people on a train also last month. While it’s true there was terrorism problem before the refugee crisis, it doesn’t inspire confidence when Merkel says her Syrian refugee policy doesn’t contribute to it. Back in June, CIA Director John Brennan told Congress that ISIS was taking advantage of the chaos in the Syrian refugee program to infiltrate the West.

Of course, not all asylum seekers commit violence. But the majority of Syrian refugees are neither Syrian nor refugees. EU officials admitted as much earlier this year. Many simply want to improve their economic lot in life. That’s all well and good, but in the chaos prospective immigrants from like countries like Tunisia or Morocco are simply taking advantage of a system with no rhyme or reason and claiming refugee status to expedite their migration.

Under the circumstances, it’s hard to reconcile the Omran Daqneesh & the Aylan Kurdis of the world from what’s happening on the ground in Germany and throughout Europe. In an ideal world, I don’t think we would have a problem with taking in little Omran or Aylan. But we do not live in an ideal world. Ideally, refugees should be settled on a regional basis. While countries like Jordan have done their part, countries like Saudi Arabia haven’t. There’s no reason why the Saudis shouldn’t do their part. It’s very likely that Hillary Clinton would probably move heaven and earth to do her best Angela Merkel impression, being cautious and circumspect about Syrian refugees doesn’t justify Donald Trump’s wholesale exclusion of immigrants of Muslim origin.

The other thing to consider here is that Syria isn’t the only country in the world in the midst of a civil war. There has been one in the Central African Republic for nearly as long as in Syria. The death toll isn’t as high, but it could soon be with an outbreak of cholera to add to the violence. I’m sure there are five-year old boys in the Central African Republic who find themselves in clinics in Cameroon covered in blood and dirt and possibly infected with cholera. The only difference is we don’t see their pictures.

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