We Hate Refugees

UNHCR poster

I’m in Beirut, Lebanon. One thing has changed since I was here the last time: the refugees. Everywhere, children in plastic shoes and torn clothes selling chewing gum; women on the brink of exhaustion slowly dragging around their children, asking for money, then falling asleep in street corners as as the night falls, tucking their children under their abayas.

“Don’t be humanitarian now”, my Lebanese friend said when a young boy approached me. “There are so many of them, you’ll never be able to help them all.”

Sweden complain on how many Syrian refugees that has been applying for asulym the last year, and as an escape route, issued only temporary three-year-residence permits in the hope of being able to send everyone back later on. Well Swedish authorities should visit the neighbouring countries of the source of conflict – these are always the ones that carries the greatest burden of refugees. Nevertheless the authorities of my country are not the only ones that doesn’t want the refugees. In Turkey, they are locked up in camps next to the border, suffering under horrible conditions, so that they won’t travel to the inland and bother the local population. Why don’t we just admit it, that we all hate refugees? We never seem to reflect upon the fact that it could have been us that had to flee our homes.

When I was on my own again another small, dirty boy approached me, holding out packets of chewing gum.

“We’re sleeping on the street miss, we live in the street, we have nothing to eat.”

“I know, sweetheart.”

I tucked a few bills in his hand, hoping noone saw. I know I’m a stupid humanitarian person, but I just can’t be a part of the rejection – at least not all of the time.

Photo credit: UNHCR

2 thoughts on “We Hate Refugees

  1. Yes, as much as people are compassionate towards refugees, there still exists that sense of entitlement amongst the local population.

    I currently live in a predominantly Indian area of which most of the inhabitants are Muslim in South Africa. Because people of Indian origin have resided in SA for generations and have contributed such a lot in the fight against apartheid and now, economically, they are regarded as South African. I for instance, know no other home.

    In recent years, there has been a influx of Somali refugees into this close-knit community and the residents are not happy at all. They’re constantly complaining about how Somalis don’t respect the law, the litter and leach of the government, that our tax money is financing the delivering of their babies etc etc.

    Recently the Somalis respond to such statements by telling the Indian South Africans in my community that they should “go back to India”. 😀

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  2. It’s sad really, nobody ever wants to be a refugee and nobody wants a refugee around. They have no where to go and yet where ever they end up they will still be unwelcome. Countries try to sound humanitarian by helping a refugees but then they don’t provide enough to meet basic needs.

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