Refugees: The Top Story of the Summit

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By Amanda Kruger

Think of the media storm around the boy that drowned off the shores of Turkey and the video of a father with a child fleeing authorities while a Hungarian camera woman trips them. Even John Oliver has now covered the subject. This is the hot topic.

But why is this refugee crisis receiving all this media attention?

At the Social Good Summit, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees spoke on the situation of refugees in Europe as of now.  Previously, refugee crises were isolated, never touching the developed nations.  Mass migration has been happening for years for Afghan, Iraqi, and Libyan refugees fleeing from their wartorn nations and economically desolate nations.

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As Amnesty International recently cited, the "six Gulf countries — Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain — have offered zero resettlement places to Syrian refugees" as well as other refugees.  Barriers for refugees trying to travel to their neighboring wealthy Gulf nations include strict visa requirements with high rejection rates, lack of interstate transportation, and hostile attitudes.  So where can they seek safety?

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Sauce:  Vox

Although many have stressed that Gulf nations need to be taking refugees, some nations in the region are taking on refugees more than they can support like Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan.

“Currently there is 1 refugee in 1,000 Europeans, but 1 refugee in 3 Lebanese ”

— António Guterres, UN High Commissioner for Refugees

These refugees had no media coverage until they began entering into Europe and now European politicians are bemoaning overstretched budgets and proportion of European natives to recently arrived Muslims. Lebanon is reportedly hitting a breaking point of being able to provide adequate space and care.

American academics always point to Western Europe as the shining hope of liberalism and prosperity, but a new story of xenophobia and islamophobia is becoming blatantly clear for the world.

“Europe couldn’t function without immigrants, but neither could the United States.”

— António Guterres, UN High Commissioner for Refugees

Europe's fear makes sense in areas with strongly rooted cultures that struggle to incorporate new customs and assume assimilation as essential for stability.  Many of us can contrast the “melting pot” ideal behind the United States with European insistence on integration, but we know that has its own fallacies.

“Diversity is richness, it is not a problem”

— António Guterres, UN High Commissioner for Refugees

Cultural diversity is a struggle for nations that have stagnated in population while identifying with a single nationality and ethnicity. Many European nations have been flagged by economists for economic downfall as their birthrates have fallen and economies become more advanced without a laboring class; the migrant crisis may be the solution for their national future rather than the problem. 

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