The War On Refugees
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The War On Refugees

With the rise of the ultra-right, history is repeating itself before our eyes.

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The War On Refugees
Mustafa Khayat

The Holocaust. Bosnia. Rwanda. Central America. Syria. Yemen. Iraq.

These are merely a few situations in recent history that have created refugee crises of monumental proportions, and while incredibly different in their causes, magnitude of losses, and long-lasting effects, they have one thing in common: their cries continue to fall on deaf ears.

People who escaped the Holocaust were denied and turned around to their deaths when they reached the United States. Similar to the US seemingly coming to its senses and “fighting against evil” in World War II after years of ignoring anything was happening, the “Great Western Powers” and the United Nations took four years to intervene in Bosnia, even though reports of ethnic cleansing, rape, concentration camps, and the murder of thousands of people were widespread. Then Rwanda: the United States refused to refer to the slaughtering of thousands of people a “genocide” because then it would be obligated to intervene. Over 800,000 people died.

History is repeating itself again.

People in El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, and Honduras are being slaughtered by gang members and their governments. Those fleeing violence face the very real possibility that they will be shot down at the border. Children are dying in the middle of the desert and being held like criminals in detention centers because the United States government refuses to admit they are refugees fleeing situations that would almost surely kill them.

Now, Europe. You would think you would know better by now. Countries like the UK that pride themselves on democratic inclusion are turning their noses up at the idea of having people fleeing violence and authoritarian regimes seeking refuge at their doorsteps. Earlier this year, British Parliament voted against welcoming 600 child refugees a year, a minuscule amount. The same MPs who voted against taking these children in are – by and large – the ones that pushed for Brexit. How quickly they seem to forget the EU was created to mend foundation World War II’s refugee crisis and political limbo ripped apart. Europeans that decry the evils of the Holocaust and genocide in Bosnia now encourage the barring of refugees once again. To turn a blind eye to the Syrians being shot at trying to escape to Turkey and washing up dead on European shores is the darkest irony of this century.

US support for Syria has been an exciting shift, but our rhetoric about immigrants at home stands in stark contrast. And the United States, which dubs itself the Great Melting Pot, one of whose greatest symbols is the Statue of Liberty that advocates for the “homeless, the tempest-tossed … your poor, your tired, your huddled masses” has rejected the people that need it most.

With the rise of the ultra-right in both the United States and Europe, people of color and those who do not practice Christianity are already facing heightened instances of violence. These parties, from Donald Trump at home, to the National Democratic Party in Germany, scapegoat groups the same way governments in genocide-afflicted countries have done in the past.

Given the West’s faux paus in the past and its quest to paint itself as the bastion of equality and democracy, one would think these governments would want to be seen in a less hypocritical light.

Let me just clarify here, I am not at all advocating for Western powers to intervene in countries so that they will resemble the model of democracy the superpowers put forth; however, the United States and European superpowers like Germany, the UK, and France dip their hands into practically every other foreign affair.

Why don’t they with the ones that matter?

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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