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Thinking About the Refugee Crisis in the World Today

Aleppo is the name, the place that has become the face of the crisis in Syria and indeed the plight of refugees in the world. I recall one man who wants to be president of the US does not know Aleppo. Did he ask "what is Aleppo?" Let us forget him but he deserves no mercy for confessing ignorance of a matter of such grave concern to the world, worse still concerning a country that the US has been so much involved in its politics. If the US was not actively fighting in Syria and contributing to the production of refugees there, we could consider forgiving this man, after all, what does a white American have to do with some suffering Arabs in distant lands - far removed from "civilization?"

But here is the point, we are yet again having such a monumental humanitarian crisis of our time. The wave of refugees witnessed across various places of the globe was not expected, at this point in time. What is worrying is the trend that this is taking, especially in Africa. The great lakes region is particularly troubled with recent violent conflicts in Burundi and South Sudan. Even as Somali refugees "prepare" (or are they being forced?) to return to their country, we have seen a hemorrhage of refugees from South Sudan. At some point in August, 2016 northern Uganda recorded an average of 3,000 new arrivals. The ones who recently fled Burundi have been put behind a wall of silence. Other than few updates done to regional heads of state here and there with no known strategic and comprehensive plans to deal with this issue, there is nothing we are hearing about tackling the issue of refugees in the region. Thanks to the struggle for power back home. 

And when the world deals with refugees, it always deals with this matter in a manner it best knows how. The same way that they have always dealt with it; nothing new, no innovation. So we are stuck, we do not seem to move an inch and if and when we do, we often make one step forward and two backwards. That is how we have ended up sinking this deep. Immediately the world talks and thinks about refugees, it thinks and talks about those "nice" things as voluntary return, resettlement and re/integration etc. The world talks about caring about refugees, clothing and sheltering and feeding them, sometimes giving them some sporadic support in terms of medical support and stuff.  We do not need to labor much to know that this has not worked. I do not know how it is supposed to work now if it never worked then.

Interestingly, some of those in positions of authority seem to know what needs to be done right. For example, commenting on the crisis of influx of refugees from Burundi to his country, President Paul Kagame of Rwanda argued that "the issue is not about how well we take care of refugees, the issue is about how to stop the production of refugees." Thanks Mr. President - you have it.  But then what happens after this beautiful statements? What have the neighbors of Burundi and the so called "international community" (never makes known sense to me anyway) done to help seal loopholes for the production of refugees in Burundi, for example? Even before the dust settled in Burundi, the region let South Sudan to sink as everybody watched and up to know neighbors and the so called international community is simply toying with possibilities. Nothing concrete is going on! 

The issue on how better to address the refugee crisis in the world, from Aleppo to Adjumani needs rethinking and re-engineering. It is no longer about sheltering and feeding; it should be about empowering refugees. We should see in them future agents of real change and expose them to various opportunities of self-sufficiency. Most importantly we must come up with clear strategies to in the words of Kagame, stop production of refugees. Let us work to stop war, greed and corruption, let us strive to sort governance issues and this madness of power at all costs and let people live in peace in their countries.

Thinking About the Refugee Crisis in the World Today Thinking About the Refugee Crisis in the World Today Reviewed by Ibrahim Magara on September 09, 2016 Rating: 5

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