- Category: Volume 87 (Fall 2015 - Spring 2016)
- Published: 23 September 2015
- Written by KATHERINE DIX | CONTRIBUTING WRITER
The civil war occurring in Syria since 2011 has caused over 220,000 deaths, and it is suspected that over half of these people are innocent civilians according to Mercy Corps. Eleven million people are displaced, causing Syrian citizens to flee the country for refuge in other countries.
There are currently 3.8 million Syrian refugees, and the United Nations believes that by the end of the year, the number will rise to over 4 million; this is the worst exodus since the Rwandan genocide.
Monmouth student Mary Fitzgerald believes there should be more media coverage of this. “More people need to pay attention to the tragedies in the world.” The refugees are trying to enter Europe, but the European Union is only distributing 160,000 throughout the region. The UN believes that over half of the refugees are children.
Some countries, such as Germany, are eager to welcome refugees. According to The Washington Post, hundreds of German citizens recently held up signs welcoming refugees into the country. The reason is simple: population: Germany has an elderly population; therefore they need new citizens in order to fill the working class.
The head of a car manufacturer in Germany recently said that refugees are often young, educated, and highly motivated. This will benefit Germany’s economy significantly; retirees are being financed by welfare, which is funded by very few working citizens.
Great Britain on the other hand, is expected to become Europe’s most populated country by 2060. Britain is concerned that there will be competition over jobs between citizens with the population influx; the exact opposite concern of Germany.
Oddly, The Washington Post predicts that there will be a migrant proportion of 14 percent for Britain, and only nine percent for Germany.
Professor Heidi Bludau, lecturer in the history and anthropology department said, “The EU has policies in place regarding point of entry for asylum seekers and some countries are individually more welcoming than others. Some countries have the social welfare wealth to support refugees and others do not.”
Even with the European Union granting entry for refugees, Bludau believes that people have, “overburdened the already burdened refugee system, which is built on the the UN Declaration of Human Rights, including the right to ‘security of person’ and to seek asylum.”
The Mercy Corps claims that hundreds of thousands of refugees are attempting to take the trek across the Mediterranean Sea from Turkey to Greece. However, they do not all make it to Greece alive. Even if they do, it is nearly impossible to survive.
When crossing the border, refugees risk being shot by snipers or being caught by soldiers to fight for the regime. If and when refugees make the journey to a new country and find safety, it is incredibly difficult for them to do things like pay rent, legally work, or learn the local language.
Mary’s Place, in Rochester, N.Y., is one of the many refugee outreach centers. Through Mary’s Place, refugees are given places to live, help finding jobs, English lessons, and citizenship classes.
These are all available to adults, so the center also makes a daycare available for children so the parents are able to concentrate and learn.
In addition to those, the center also collects clothing and household donations that are made available to the refugees once a week.
Even a local grocery store provides free food for the center to provide for the refugees. They are incredibly eager to learn, and constantly show gratitude to the center for all that they do for them.
Dr. Kenneth Mitchell, associate professor of political science, said, “It’s something that’s not going to stop anytime soon… it could strain American-European relations.”
If not resolved soon, the Syrian civil war and refugee crisis could escalate and even begin to affect the United States.
IMAGE TAKEN from MercyCorps