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Who says they are refugees?
by Thanos Kalamidas
2007-03-21 10:39:21
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Many times I have asked myself what identifies a refugee and it seems that the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has recently asked the same question. The UNHCT says that there has been an ‘abject denial’ around the world of the humanitarian impact of invading Iraq.

I think the only logical, if you may call it so, answer is that the US and UK, two countries involved in all the major organizations including the Security Council, refuse to recognize that there is a near catastrophe in Iraq and that there is a civil war with thousands of innocent people in danger daily - this is not to mention that dozens die everyday. As I have mentioned before in other articles, even the media have joined this somehow international conspiracy often mentioning the number of American or British soldiers killed in Iraq, but constantly forgetting to mention the increasing number of civilians killed; numbers that now reach hundreds of thousands.

Neighboring Syria and Jordan have to carry the weight of this with thousands of refugees arriving everyday and all that without the help of international organizations, since the manipulated international community has to believe that there is a …security problem that the American and British army, in cooperation with the new Iraqi security forces, is controlling gradually. This makes you really worry at how much impact that has on all the refugees around the world and who says that they are refugees.

Would you ever go to live in Baghdad? No? Why not? Do the people who live there now have fewer rights on peace, education, work and food? You would never go to live in a city where the pistol might need to be a natural extension of your hand and live with it under your pillow. You would never go to live in a city where your kids cannot go out to play, cannot have friends and, most of all, cannot go to school because some kind of fanatic might decide that a school teaching English one hour a week means that they are traitors so they are will plant a bomb. You would never go to live in a city where going out shopping means that you have 50% possibilities of returning home walking or at least alive. So why do we expect the people who live there not to want to go somewhere else, despite the possibility of living in a tent with ten or more other families - at least their kids have a chance of seeing a better tomorrow.

But when these people apply for refugee status in any country they have to face the American assurances that peace and security is …coming! The only problem is that the peace and security are coming five years from now and they are still on the way and people die daily. Tens of people, sometimes hundreds. A student from China, who is asking for democracy, finds it easier to get refugee status in the America, the dreamland for many refugees and immigrants all around the world; an Iraqi refugee will most likely have to return to Baghdad and deal with death.

So who says what classifies somebody as a refugee and who has the right to claim refugee status? Somalia, over the last few years, is on the edge of total catastrophe but lately, with the help of a foreign army, the minority seems to be taking over. One way or another, even if that means that a new dictatorship will be established and the civil war will move from the urban streets to the farms and forests, the new government will declare that it brought peace and, in an effect to legitimize their power and status, they are going to guarantee the security of the Somali people.

What is going to be the reaction of countries like Finland, for example, that hosts a few thousand Somali refugees? Return them back to Somalia? If they do so, I just hope they give them a fast course in shooting or running for their life because this is exactly where they are returning them.

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