A refugee crisis of biblical proportions
UN and EU officials agree on one thing: The current refugee crisis is far greater than initially imagined. The number of displaced people trying to escape the violence from conflicts ravaging the Middle East seems of biblical proportions.
Not since the end of World War II has humanity witnessed such a massive movement of civilians, according to experts who monitor human migrations, including the International Organisation for Migration in Geneva and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.
Migration has always been part of man’s nature. However, when it reaches the proportions it has recently, there is cause for concern on more than one front.
The initial worry and focus of mass migration as is currently happening, for obvious reasons has to do with the destination of the migrants, in this case, Europe.
Understandably Europeans worry the sudden influx of large numbers of foreigners is going to change the dynamics and the face of the continent.
The arrival of hundreds of thousands of foreigners, particularly in smaller countries, will affect demographics, especially if those nations are not prepared to absorb and integrate large numbers of refugees.
Having said that, those who need to worry far more than people in the countries receiving the refugees are the ones in the nations that are losing those refugees.
In essence, the receiving countries in general face a short-term problem, that of receiving, housing, feeding and eventually integrating the refugees into their societies. If properly handled, this problem should disappear as the refugees become absorbed in their new environment and become productive and contribute to the well-being of their adopted societies.
In the case of European countries where low birth rates are problematic, the addition of productive members to their societies — as most refugees turn out to be — can be counted as a positive element in this tragic chain of events. Optimistically, if the integration is handled in a positive and constructive manner, the “refugee problem” should begin to disappear within a year.
However, the same cannot be said of countries losing citizens. The huge void in human resources and a brain drain of frightening proportions will affect them for generations.
While Europe will benefit from the arrival of potential doctors, scientists, engineers, mathematicians, teachers, university professors as well as intellectuals; artists, poets, writers — the very people who help form and shape a nation’s character — these will be the people the countries in conflict today will miss the most and will not be able to easily replace.
This means that Syria, Iraq and Yemen, countries already trailing in terms of education and general services offered to their citizens, will suffer even more.
No country should expect to lose such a large percentage of its society and then expect to turn around and pick up the pieces and rebuild a strong and educated society overnight.
Then again, if the leaders of those countries really cared for the well-being of their citizens, they would have taken steps that prevented their nations from descending into the inferno they find themselves in and the sheer hell they are forcing their citizens to go through.
Just so long as they remain in power, as King Louis XV of France is reported to have said, “After me, the deluge”.