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Hurricane "Syrian refugees"
by Thanos Kalamidas
2015-09-02 10:13:33
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On the 23rd of august 2005, hurricane Katrina hit eastern-north America and especially greater New Orleans causing the deadliest, worst and costlier natural disaster in the history of the United States. At least 1,250 died (there are still missing), the total property damage and cost for the US government only, reached 108 billion US$ and left tens of thousands without home or any kind of settler. Actually ten years after the people of New Orleans still try to recover.

Hurricane Katrina lasted nine days (23-31 August) and the areas affected were Bahamas, Cuba, Louisiana, South Florida, Mississippi and Alabama, USA; three countries. Since day one media from all around the world made headlines that lasted for months. The feelings were overwhelming and there are tens of thousands of donations - amount to a lot of millions of dollars - from all around the world coming in help for the people, especially the people of New Orleans.

There were even more people from all around the world willing to help in every possible way with a lot of them volunteering even to accommodate victims of the deathly hurricane. 80 percent of the city of New Orleans was destroyed leaving over 600,000 people homeless and most of them had to move to other cities or states until a solution was found. Everybody had been overwhelmingly supportive and that is not limited in the borders of Louisiana or USA but gone globally.

After the event a lot of media started reporting about the incompetence of local authorities and some talked about prejudices raising against the poor and especially black residents who had suffered from the catastrophe raising a new outcry, this time global.

On July 2011, hurricane civil war hit Syria with ISIL in the centre of it. Immediately neighbour countries like Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq were moved from it. By the end of July over 15,000 Syrians had escaped to Turkey, more than 10,000 to Jordan and unknown number to Iraq which also suffers another kind of hurricane also with ISIL in its centre.

ref01_400By the end of 2015 will be 4.27 million Syrians looking for settler outside Syria and trying to escape a very murderous hurricane that has already left the country with unknown number of murdered that counts over tens of thousands of innocent people including thousands of little kids. The homeless in Syria count in millions and the unprotected from the menace of the deadly ISIS to even more.

In December 2014, the U.N. issued its largest ever appeal for a single crisis — according to their estimates, 8.4 billion US$ is necessary to meet the needs of all those affected by the crisis, both inside and outside Syria. Only 50 percent has been covered from all around the world while remember that the 108 billion US$ for New Orleans were covered only from the US government.

Nearly 12 million Syrians have been displaced by the fighting — more than 7.6 million within Syria, and more than 4 million as refugees in neighbouring countries. More than 1.6 million Syrian children are refugees. Refugee children are at risk of becoming ill, malnourished, abused, or exploited. Millions have been forced to quit school. UN trying hard to assist affected families with interventions like clean water, cash assistance for food, hygiene kits, basic household goods, clothing, Child-Friendly Spaces, and education but basic money are missing. The same time even Hollywood stars participate in the rebuilding of New Orleans and actually they are dreaming of an even better city friendlier to the environment.

In the meantime the philanthropist world not only denies any kind of financial support but also warns the refuges not even think to reach their countries. Hungary builds barbwire walls with Serbia to stop the refugees’ waves, the Finnish xenophobic government with the fascist partner, talks about maximum 1,000 more refugees from the 1,500 they take every year and the east European “democracies” refused to participate in any kind of help. Central European ministers demand from these refugees to have a …job before arriving and social media are full of comments about “illegal immigrants” who will rise criminality in their countries and live enjoying the money they steal from their welfare.

This is from a continent that has lived two world wars, which actually was behind the reasoning of two world wars. A continent that lived waves of refugees from east Europe, from south Europe from Germany during the war. A continent that survived thanks to the help and philanthropies after the Second World War now neglects to do the same to other fellow humans. Why?

Don’t the Syrian people suffer the same with the New Orleans people? Didn’t they also lose families and friends? Aren’t they also homeless lacking basics like food, clothing ...settler?

The European media were angry with allegations of discrimination against the poor and black people in New Orleans but now they prefer if the Syrians had stayed in their under deathly attack country because they are ...Syrians? How does this work? How does this work with the Finnish or the Hungarian government? How does this philanthropism works?

Or was just because …Americans are like us and the Syrians ...well they are …Arabs? What the hell is wrong with us and we need a meeting of the European Commission and the European Foreign ministers, the European this and that group, to decide if and how we are going to help. Even worse? To persuade member states to agree into helping by fulfilling in minimum their signed obligations to the Union and UN. Member states like Hungary where even their prime minister was a prominent escapee twenty years ago and thousands of them were looking for settler trying to escape an authoritarian regime. What about refuges from Karelia in mid-forties or the Finns have forgotten their own history?

So what’s going on? Is not about a simple xenophobia is it? Is not about protection or security, is it? Is not even about recession or unemployment crisis. It is about racism, isn’t it? Is not just about Timo Soini, Marine Le Pen, Michaloliakos or Farage and Geert Wilders is about all of us. Is about the majority of the Europeans. It is about this monster and us in denial. And it is global!

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Emanuel Paparella2015-09-02 16:56:27
Indeed Thanos, to constitutionally proclaim and celebrate ideas of solidarity and human rights and democracy and then not to practice is to run the real risk of becoming an hypocrite, individually or collectively. As Vico put it in his philosophical theory of the rise and fall of civilizations: a sure sign of decadence and demise in any polity is the absence of compassion and shame. Shamelessness means that people begin to consider normal and routine what ought to be shocking and outrageous. Meanwhile we caricature and make fun of those who remind us of those truths. I am afraid that the worst may still be coming, but let nobody say later that there was no warning that is not only humanitarian but rather a crisis of our very humanity...

Emanuel Paparella2015-09-02 21:15:05

A follow-up comment if I may: the concerned reader may wish to re-read the above linked article which appeared recently in Ovi and is titled: "Pope Francis and the Globalization of Indifference."

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