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The Syrian Refugee Catastrophe

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Today, after 5 years of struggle, more than half of Syria's population is displaced. The Syrian refugee catastrophe is not the result of a natural disaster, but rather the outcome of systematic policies aimed at suppressing a popular uprising, the inaction of world powers and inability of the international community to respond to the largest humanitarian catastrophe of our generation.

Published in: News & Politics
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The Syrian Refugee Catastrophe

  1. 1. The Syrian Refugee Catastrophe April 2, 2016 sarabiany.com
  2. 2. 2 “death is a risk I was willing to take so I could live.” Photo: Yannis Behrakis/ReutersCover Photo: sarabiany.com
  3. 3. 3 of Syria’s population has been displaced since 2011 1/2
  4. 4. 4 As if 160 million Americans had to flee their homes past 5 years
  5. 5. 5 160 Katrinas http://www.csmonitor.com/2005/0912/p01s01-ussc.html
  6. 6. 6 4,812,851 UNHCR registered refugees As of March 16 2016: http://data.unhcr.org/syrianrefugees/regional.php
  7. 7. 7 6+ million Internally Displaced March 2016: http://www.unocha.org/syria Photo: sarabiany.com
  8. 8. 8 6+ million Internally Displaced Photo: sarabiany.comMarch 2016: http://www.unocha.org/syria
  9. 9. 9 “Syria has become a country of poor people, with an estimated 4 in every 5 Syrians now living in poverty.” UN Report 2015 http://bit.ly/1RVGaNU
  10. 10. 10 “life expectancy has shrunk from 76to 56 years old” UN Report 2015 http://bit.ly/1RVGaNU
  11. 11. 11 "has become the biggest humanitarian emergency of our era, yet the world is failing to meet the needs of refugees and the countries hosting them.” - António Guterres, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees August 2014 http://www.unhcr.org/53ff76c99.html
  12. 12. 12 This is not a natural disaster. This catastrophe is manmade.
  13. 13. 13 45+ years of Assad family rule
  14. 14. 14 45+years ofAssad family rule • absolute power • sectarian, regional & business networks • police state • utter brutality, exemplified by Hama ’82 massacre • no independent civil society • hand-off from father to son in 2000
  15. 15. 15 March 2011: “The people want…” Photo: Daraa March 2011
  16. 16. 16Photo: Homs,April 18, 2011 “The people want…”
  17. 17. 17 “The people want…” Photo: Homs,April 24 2011
  18. 18. 18 Photo: Baniyas, May, 2011 http://bit.ly/230vWr8 “The people want…”
  19. 19. 19Photo: Hama, July 22, 2011.AP “The people want…”
  20. 20. 20Photo: Damascus, 2012 “The people want…”
  21. 21. 21Photo: Damascus, 2012 “The people want…”
  22. 22. 22Photo: Jobar, Damascus, 2012 “The people want…”
  23. 23. 23 “We will sit here. We call it a fight until the end…They should know when we suffer, we will not suffer alone.” - Rami Makhlouf, May 2011 NY Times
  24. 24. 24 “Assad or we burn the country” The war in Syria was started to crush dissent.
  25. 25. 25
  26. 26. 26 Mass detention & 'industrial scale' killing of detainees A painting for Abdulla Omari called “ Detainee”
  27. 27. 27 In 2012-13, the fear of rape was the #1 reason Syrians fled the country. http://thebea.st/1Tsj4Ur
  28. 28. 28http://sn4hr.org/blog/2015/06/16/8049/
  29. 29. 29 Daily bombardment
  30. 30. 30 Broken “red lines”, chemical weapons attacks https://www.hrw.org/report/2013/09/10/attacks-ghouta/analysis-alleged-use-chemical-weapons-syria
  31. 31. 31 “Starve until Submission” Photo: Reuters,Yarmouk, 2014
  32. 32. 32 Rebels & revolutionaries Assad regime & allies Kurdish groups Jabhat-Nusra (AQ) ISIS 1 2 3 4 5 5 Key Groupings
  33. 33. 33 470,000killed in 5+ Years February 2016: Syrian Centre for Policy Research
  34. 34. 34
  35. 35. 35
  36. 36. 36
  37. 37. 37
  38. 38. 38
  39. 39. 39
  40. 40. 40 The ISIS advance in late 2014 added to an already desperate situationPhoto Reuters: http://bit.ly/1TukFcB
  41. 41. 41 Russian intervention in the fall resulted in another spike of displaced Syrians Photograph: Ghaith Omran/AFP/Getty Images
  42. 42. 42
  43. 43. 43 Systematic sectarian massacres + rape campaigns Air bombardment ISIS advance Russian intervention European exodus
  44. 44. 44 The catastrophe didn’t make international headlines…
  45. 45. 45 Until…
  46. 46. 46 image of refugees in europe
  47. 47. 47 Worst catastrophe since WW2
  48. 48. 48 Migrant is not a Refugee
  49. 49. 49 935,008asylum seekers in Europe http://data.unhcr.org/syrianrefugees/regional.php
  50. 50. 50 What has been the response in North America?
  51. 51. 51 "… accepting 25,000 Syrian refugees does right by both the safety of Canadians and by the values that define us as a nation." http://bit.ly/1ZV3kdj
  52. 52. 52 Syrian refugees admitted to the US since 2011 3,054 military aged males who are unattached to families 2% Source: U.S. State Department Refugee Processing Center Custom Report: http://bit.ly/1LoVa3p http://bzfd.it/1ZV15qv However, in the US…
  53. 53. 53 Last September, due to public pressure Obama increased the quota to 10k Syrians in 2016 (out of 85k) Photo: sarabiany.com
  54. 54. 54 “Ten thousand is not even close to being commensurate with the massive scale of the Syrian refugee crisis, nor in line with this country’s historic global leadership in refugee resettlement" David Miliband, president and CEO
  55. 55. 55 Islamophobia Election Season Refugees
  56. 56. 56 One of the goals of the ISIS Paris attacks was to provide cover for a bigoted response in Europe & the US towards vulnerable populations fleeing both the regime & ISIS. A fake Syrian passport was found lying nearby, left by the attackers.
  57. 57. 57 Bush suggested a religious test for Syrian refugees to ensure that Muslims are kept out
  58. 58. 58 Carson compared refugees to 'rabid' dogs
  59. 59. 59 Cruz supported Governor ‘rebellion’ to allow states to ban refugees
  60. 60. 60 Trump said he would deport the refugees already here & ban Muslims
  61. 61. 61 Rubio said ‘we can’t accept’ them and adjusted based on political rhetoric
  62. 62. 62 Christie insisted that the U.S. not even accept 5-year-old orphans
  63. 63. 63
  64. 64. 64
  65. 65. 65
  66. 66. 66
  67. 67. 67
  68. 68. 68 Even when arriving in the US, life is difficult. resettlement support assimilation language commuting schools work daily supplies social network
  69. 69. 69 Where are we today?
  70. 70. 70 Where are we today? "We will not allow our assistance to be instrumentalized for a mass expulsion operation, and we refuse to be part of a system that has no regard for the humanitarian or protection needs of asylum seekers and migrants” MSF on EU Plan Photo by Alexander Koerner/Getty Images
  71. 71. 71 Where are we today? The US is lagging well behind the goal to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees by end of fiscal year October, and has only accepted ~1,200 in the past 6 months Photo by Kevin Lamarque/Reutershttp://bit.ly/1SvAef5
  72. 72. 72 “a whole generation is growing up in the camps of exile – these children who’ve lost a father to shelling, a friend’s brother to bullets, a sister’s husband to torture. When they grow up and realize that life is more than a refugee camp, that it isn’t natural to lose everything to tyranny … this generation will bear a culture of revenge and anger, and a permanent sense of injustice.” - Activist Aziz Asaad, Guardian
  73. 73. 73 donate volunteer advocate educate @sarabiany sarabiany.com Photo: sarabiany.com

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