What do Syrians really want?

Since the start of 2011, the Arab World has been thrown into catastrophe as a result of the “Arab Spring”. What started in Tunis as a protest for dignity inspired a chain of events that led to the toppling of governments. But mostly, it resulted in Anarchy.

Libya, Yemen and Syria all followed the Arab Spring steps, all are now left without a semblance of government. War torn countries that have caused the deaths of thousands and the displacement of millions.

Tragedy is not new to these scenes. Victims of all ages have been documented in this conflict. The most recent seems to be the straw which broke the camel’s back as it has resulted in a tumultuous turn of events.

But is it really for the better?

What do the Syrian people really want?

Lets look at the facts:

Since the start of the conflict, many Syrians were forced to flee their homes, uproot from the ancestral grounds, and relocate elsewhere. At the time, they moved to Iraq, Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt. The GCC countries did not accept any refugees, in fact most enacted laws to prevent their entry. But that is another tale for another time.

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Not everyone that relocated to these countries is doing so because they want to. However, it is a way to survive and live, and most of these countries have accepted the Syrian refugees into society. Of course not all are fortunate, some live in squalor whilst others live in luxury. The UN and various other organizations around the world are raising money for the refugees, but that is never going to be enough to guarantee them a life like the one they left behind.

Recently however, the tides in Europe have changed, and the certain EU countries are now accepting refugees. Whereas some would see this as a blessing, I see it as a disaster. I will explain why in two points:

The first point; the most recent tragedy that for all intents and purposes was the trigger for the EU to open its doors – the death of Aylan Kurdi. The tragic story has brought tears to the eyes of millions, which is strange because children have been dying in this conflict since 2011, but non garnered a more critical response that this. The point being, the father of Aylan Kurdi lost both sons and his wife as they tried to make their way from Turkey to Greece to go on to Germany (which stated that they are ready to receive 800,000 refugees, in addition to Austria). The fact they had made it to Turkey, were no longer in the dangerous, war-torn area they once were. Now pardon me for being blunt, but rational thought would dictate you stay put and make a life in the first safe haven you reach. Sadly that was not the case, as everyone is under the guise that Europe is the promised land and they would risk life and limb to get to its shores.

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The second point; we all see the world through the eyes of our profession. As an internal auditor, my view is that everything that is currently being done is SHORT TERM. In the short term yes, it is possible to relocate Syrians from conflict zones to other areas, to give them the basic guarantee of a roof over their head and the promise that they will not wake up to find a barrel bomb has fallen on them, to give them the most basic necessity for life; safety. However, as we stated earlier, you can never give them a life similar to what they had before. Medical students that had not graduated cannot hope to get back into medicine. Doctors that have graduated cannot practice without equivalency. The language barrier alone will hamper thousands from achieving careers similar to what they had.

An Egyptian telecom tycoon offered to buy an island for the refugees. But all the island represents is safety, not a future. Their future is in their home country, and the farther they go, the longer they stay, the less likely they ever are to return.

Do you think for a minute that if the problems in Syria were resolved, that anyone that sought asylum in the EU or the West would return?

Upstream prevention vs. downstream correction. All that is being done now is correction, however the influx of asylum seeks will remain. To put the point in numbers, in 2013 the population of Syria was documented as 22.85 million. 800,000 are being allowed into the EU now, about 4 Million have moved to neighboring countries, that leaves 18.05 Million still in Syria. Where will they go? Who will take them?

Keep in mind that migrants are not only from Syria; they are showing up from all over Africa as well, so take the numbers above and multiply them.

Everyone is ecstatic now about how Germany and Austria are receiving the refugees. I am being a bit more skeptical and wondering how the welcome will be 2, 3, 5, 12 months down the line, when the migrants are settled. The pool of resources available to the UN is not infinite, whereas the waves of asylum seekers will continue to crash upon the shores of all countries where they will be welcomed.

So to answer our own question, what do Syrians want? They don’t want anything, they need their country back. And until that happens, the throngs of asylum seekers will increase; more countries will take them in, from as far as Venezuela to Japan, but in the end, they will keep coming.

The views expressed in this piece are my own, some are based on fact, some are based on perception, we apologize if any are offended.

August 2011 ( View complete archive page )

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