During the conflict in Syria, approximately 220,000 people have been killed while 12.8 million people are in need of urgent humanitarian assistance. Statistically, more than 50% of Syria’s population is currently displaced.
According to Amnesty International, the Syrian gulf countries, which includes, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Bahrain have offered zero resettlement to Syrian refugees.
As of 2014, Qatar has the highest Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita in the world with approximately 14% of their households being dollar millionaires. Meanwhile the economy of the United Arab Emirates is the second largest in the Arab world. However, despite the vast array of wealth and luxury these countries enjoy they have yet to extend a helping hand to their neighbors in need.
Similarly, other high-income countries like Russia, Japan, Singapore, and South Korea have also offered zero resettlement. Instead, Germany and Sweden together have received 47% of Syrian asylum applications while the 26 remaining European countries have pledged 8,700 resettlement places, which only amounts to 0.2% of Syrian refugees.
Meanwhile, economists are predicting that the sudden influx of refugees will help to boost the EU’s economy by advancing fertility rates and working age populations. Therefore, while we see the Syrian refugees as a humanitarian crisis, the aforementioned countries see them as a challenge and threat, economists are hopeful that things can only go up from here.
But putting statistics and predictions aside, let’s take a moment and focus on things from a more humanistic perspective. Yes, the preservation of wealth is important, yes, the preservation of a countries economic power is important, but what about the preservation of human life? What about the lives lost? What about the children’s homes that are ruined, their families torn, and parents lost?
In this day and age where we are surrounded with constant advances in technology and fights for the next “it” job, when do we stop wanting to climb the ladder of success and look around to see what is happening in the world? When do we see that the things depicted in the media are happening in the real world? Can we stop and think how is this child going to go forward in life, the child whose life was uprooted, whose home was taken, whose innocence was shattered?
There is nothing wrong with wanting to get somewhere in life. We all need to do it to survive in this economy and to survive in a generation that constantly craves more-more-more. But what about the people who can’t do as we do? What about the people who are not afforded the same educations, the same basic necessities, and the same fundamental desires? When do we pause in helping ourselves to see how we can truly help others?
When the mistakes of history are constantly repeated, what can we do to correct them?
Better yet, can we?