Friday, September 04, 2015

Exodus of Syrian Refugees Highlights the West's Failure

While American Christofascists are applauding Kim Davis, fabricating a myth that Christians are facing persecution in America and, of course, making money begs to support their comfortable lifestyles, pictures of drowned Syrian refugee children have underscored not only the failure of western nations to address the brutality unfolding in Syria and the rest of the Middle East, but also the sick values of American Christians.  Sadly, the Mat Stavers, Maggie Gallaghers, Tony Perkins, and others of the parasitic professional Christian set  don't give a damn about drowned Syrian children.  If one isn't a white conservative Christian, one simply doesn't matter.  Indeed, for much of the Christofascist base of the GOP, nothing warms their hearts more than seeing Muslims killed, hence their rush to support war with Iran. Take a look at the image above.  Those pictured are just as human as you or me, but for too many, they and their lives do not matter.  For too many they just don't matter.  A piece in the New York Times looks at the political and moral failure of the West.  Here are highlights:
Arresting images of desperation on the West’s doorstep have brought Syria, for the moment, back to worldwide attention: refugees cramming into train stations and climbing border fences; drowned Syrian toddlers washing up on beaches, a girl in polka dots, a boy in tiny shoes.

It was never any secret that a rising tide of Syrian refugees would sooner or later burst the seams of the Middle East and head for Europe. Yet little was done in Western capitals to stop or mitigate the slow-motion disaster that was befalling Syrian civilians and sending them on the run.
“The migrant crisis in Europe is essentially self-inflicted,” said Lina Khatib, a research associate at the University of London and until recently the head of the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut. “Had European countries sought serious solutions to political conflicts like the one in Syria, and dedicated enough time and resources to humanitarian assistance abroad, Europe would not be in this position today.”

The causes of the current crisis are plain enough. Neighboring countries like Lebanon and Jordan became overwhelmed with refugees and closed their borders to many, while international humanitarian funding fell further and further short of the need. Then, Syrian government losses and other battlefield shifts sent new waves of people fleeing the country.

Now those departing include more middle-class or wealthy people, more supporters of the government, and more residents of areas that were initially safe.  One of those, Rawad, 25, a pro-government university graduate, left for Germany with his younger brother Iyad, 13, who as a minor could help his whole family obtain asylum.

As the numbers of displaced Syrians mounted to 11 million today from a trickle in 2011, efforts to reach a political solution gained little traction. The United States and Russia bickered in the Security Council while Syrian government warplanes continued indiscriminate barrel bombing, the Islamic State took over new areas, other insurgent groups battled government forces and one another, and Syria’s economy collapsed.

For years, Yacoub El Hillo, the top United Nations humanitarian official in Syria, has been warning that with the Syrian crisis — the “worst of our time” — the international system of humanitarian aid has “come to the breaking point

“This is the price of political failure,” he said in Beirut in March, declaring that the breakdown of the aid system results from the strategic stalemate over Syria. “This is a direct affront to international peace and security.”

He said that it cost the United States $68,000 an hour to fly the warplanes used to battle the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, while the United Nations has received less than half of the money it needs to take care of the half of Syria’s prewar population that has been displaced.

Few refugees have been accepted by the regional and global players that have helped fuel the conflict — not by the United States, Russia, Iran or the Gulf Arab states, some of which, despite their wealth, have pledged just tens of millions toward the billions of dollars Syrians need.  

Syrians have so little hope for a solution in the near future that talk in the capital, Damascus, among supporters and opponents of the government alike, has turned to plans for getting overseas, especially to Europe. It is a route taken by everyone from the wealthy, whose money cannot always buy them visas, to the poor, who often sell everything to finance the trip.

But not all families are that lucky. Aylan Kurdi, 3, was found lying face down in the surf on a Turkish beach, one of at least 12 Syrians who drowned nearby.

The boy’s father, Abdullah Kurdi, said in an interview that the family had fled first from Damascus and later from their ancestral home, the Kurdish town of Kobani that has been attacked repeatedly by the Islamic State. They were trying to immigrate to Canada, but could not get permission to travel legally. His son Ghalib, 5, and his wife, Rehan, also drowned.

“If they can’t work together to save these children,” Adnan Hadad, an activist from the Syrian city of Aleppo, wrote on Twitter as the image of the boy went viral, “the world leaders better find another planet to rule.”

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