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