Posted by: reisendame | February 22, 2007

Iraqis, Syrians, Americans… People.

sy-map.png  A Syrian state-run newspaper has reported that the massive influx of Iraqi refugees (an estimated 1.5 million souls), is seriously straining the nation’s resources. The flow of Iraqis into Syria has forced a steep rise in real-estate and consumer prices; additionally, the schools are over-saturated with students. In an attempt to lessen the “burden,” Syrian officials have imposed stricter residency laws for Iraqis, but they have also pledged not to deport any refugees. There are no real confirmations from Syrian officials of the exact state of their nation, but this is evidently a very “real crisis,” as the newspaper reported. While the overpopulation affects everyone in Syria, my sympathies lie primarily with the refugees. First of all, these Iraqis fled from their homeland because the violence was that horrible. Now, they have nowhere to practically call “home.” Although they have sought respite in Syria, they are clearly not very welcome, and I can’t imagine how many people there must be sleeping in the streets. Perhaps this idea is difficult to visualize, because as Americans, we really don’t see it. We are all aware that suffering does exist, somewhere, even within our own borders. However, these conditions are removed to an abstract level as the media provides little stimulus for action and quite inadequately heightens public awareness about these issues. Just consider the government and media response to the flooding of New Orleans. Interestingly, the Syrian government rejected the U.S. proposal to discuss the issue, and presumably assist in the situation somehow. Syrian-U.S. relations have not been well, but this does not change the fact that there are real people out there who need real help. Political motives and actions actually act as deterrents to truly improving societies and peoples’ lives. I wonder, then, whether we should say governments support societal growth or actually antagonize it, in its essential form. I’m inclining toward the latter.

Video: Issues Facing Iraqi Refugees in the U.S.

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