Saturday, September 5, 2015
My Third Attempt to Write About Migrants
I've written two posts about the European refugee crisis, but honestly, I didn't feel comfortable publishing them. I deleted them instead. There's so much I don't know and don't understand about this situation. I mean, I am not the UNHCR, and I can't pretend to have the answers.
I'll leave it at this: I do think we need to do more for the Syrians, Afghans and Iraqis -- and when I say we, I mean the entire developed world. It's unfair to expect Germany and Sweden to shoulder the burden, even if that's where the refugees themselves want to go. The United States, especially, needs to get in the game in a major way, since U.S. military action is what destabilized that region in the first place.
Frankly, I'd like to see George W. Bush accommodate a few dozen of these families in his private home. And Dick Cheney. And Donald Rumsfeld. Just saying their names makes me so angry I could spit.
What I struggle with is how to cope with everyone who's not Syrian, Afghan or Iraqi. The boats coming to Europe are also full of Pakistanis, Lebanese, Tunisians, Egyptians, Libyans, Eritreans, Somalians and other sub-Saharan Africans. There are conflicts small and large in all of those places. Are they refugees too? Don't they have children, too? Children whose lives will continue to be in danger? How and where do we draw the lines?
As I said, I have no idea. It's a problem beyond my pay grade.
I can only resort to my two standard arguments -- we need vastly more foreign aid to rebuild and improve life and stability in those areas of the world, and we need more education for women and family planning, particularly in developing countries, to reduce the population burden and better manage resources.
(Photo: "Rush Hour," a sculpture by George Segal, in central London.)