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Speaker: Refugee fear-mongering must stop

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  • chris, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    Worth remembering the gung ho Russian intervention as well

    It’s no secret that Syria has been the Russia and the USSR’s closest middle eastern ally for some time, so these close ties would no doubt have been considered by the west when deciding which of the anti-Government factions to arm and even when deciding to use the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) as a cover to help co-opt the protest movement. Obviously it would have been naive to expect Russia to simply turn their back on an alliance lasting over half a century.

    You mentioned on that thread that you visited Syria about a decade ago Bart, so I was wondering if you’d be willing to paint more of a picture as to how things were there, especially in terms of attitudes towards the Government, unrest, emigration etc as you’d have a much better idea than most of how Syria functioned before civil war broke out, even if only anecdotal.

    While in China I talked to a number of people who’d been involved in the Tiananmen square protests, though not as many as I’d have liked, but the overriding sense I got was that in that case there were a lot of kids buoyed by prospects of a romantic getaway, taking advantage of the free rail travel for university students, who just wanted to be a part of something exciting, pawns essentially. We know that when these types of Governments are threatened, ethics are thrown out the window, and it’s generally accepted that successful revolution will usually take yonks.

    I'm haunted by the gnawing sense that were we to triple the refugee intake, even if we were to take all the refugees from all the war torn states, we're still only doing half the job as long as we do this without addressing in the strongest possible terms the ongoing domestic interference by the super powers, especially while sitting on the UNSC.

    Mawkland • Since Jan 2010 • 1302 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to chris,

    You mentioned on that thread that you visited Syria about a decade ago Bart, so I was wondering if you’d be willing to paint more of a picture as to how things were there, especially in terms of attitudes towards the Government, unrest, emigration etc as you’d have a much better idea than most of how Syria functioned before civil war broke out, even if only anecdotal.

    I'm not sure how much help I can be since my experience was as a tourist in 2003. We were on a guided tour, three of us in a van with a driver and a guide. We drove from Jordan up to Damascus, stayed a few nights in Damascus in the old city then toured up through to Palmyra then through Homs (yes that city!) to Krac du Chevalier then back to Damascus before flying back to Egypt. Our driver spoke some English and our guide was fluent in several languages.

    Our contact with locals was in shops, in hotels and at the places we visited as tourists. In every case we were treated as welcome guests and so in that sense I doubt we would ever have been exposed to discontent. At the time Syria was still technically in a state of war with Israel (they never declared peace) and was a police state. But that was not anything we could detect in our travels, it felt like any other place we had been, with the addition of amazing Roman and Persian ruins.

    We never saw any protests of any kind. I never had a sense that anyone was scared of anything, it was like any other foreign country. Yes there were armed police but that isn't unusual in the world. Yes there were military bases in the countryside but I've seen bigger ones in Arizona.

    As I said in the thread that was contaminated by a troll, the people we saw were diverse from white to black with everything in between. I heard multiple languages and those that spoke with us in shops etc had good English. It was, a modern cultured polite society, especially in Damascus.

    Out in the countryside it was definitely more rural and in Palmyra much more obviously muslim (not a fan of dawn call-to-prayer :)) but that isn't any different from rural USA for example.

    There simply was nothing I can recall that made me feel as though the country was in imminent danger of revolution or government oppression.

    That is all with the caveat we were tourists, I honestly don't think the locals would have raised any discontent with us ... that would have been ... well ... rude. And the Syrians we met were all polite likable friendly people

    That's what makes it difficult for me to see the news. It's like suddenly seeing Melbourne as a war zone, and hearing people describe the waiter in a Melbourne cafe as a terrorist and that we don't want Australians here because they all believe different things to us and they dress funny and how could we integrate their culture into our own etc etc

    It's jarring and wrong.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4460 posts Report Reply

  • chris, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    Thank you very much for that Bart, it’s very much appreciated. From a distance and with so little exposure via the media beyond the negative I find it all to easy on a personal level to lazily categorically file the whole gamut of middle eastern countries under the category “war zone”. We hear and see very little of these places as they exist – shall we say ‘normally’.

    Beyond the calls for refugee resettlement, aid, military intervention, miscarriages of justice, inhumane punishments etc, I’d gamble that most people in this country know very little about most middle eastern countries as functional entities. IMHO The void that this under-reporting carves out is ample dehumanisation to sufficiently facilitate Governments’ claims for military intervention in each new instance of a conflict occurring .

    Mawkland • Since Jan 2010 • 1302 posts Report Reply

  • Saud Al,

    I do not agree with this statement "America’s greatest ally in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia, is continuing its illegal war in Yemen; bombing and starving the Yemenis with arms and logistical support provided by the US".
    The war that Saudi Arabia and other countries are having in Yemen are against Rebel which had an agreement with the previous king Ali Saleh in order to have control over Yemen and come to Saudi. One of the main reasons Saudi Arabia started the war was because they started bombing cities in Saudi Arabia and kill civilians which have nothing to do with. On top of that they started crossing the border and kill police officers. Moreover, they stated that they want to have control on Saudi Arabia. No country would go to war and spend all that money for no reason. If you could search Saudi Arabia has always been the first country to send aid and financial support for any country going through problems including Yemen.
    Here are some links to support my idea:
    1- http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/d40980de-aa88-11e3-9fd6-00144feab7de.html#axzz3lxwXODlS
    2- https://www.saudiembassy.net/affairs/recent-news/foreign-aid/
    3- http://www.arabnews.com/saudi-arabia/news/783426
    4- http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2013/01/201311764936719632.html
    5- http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2015/06/yemen-saudi-arabia-iran-houthis-support-military.html#

    Auckland • Since Sep 2015 • 3 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    This Government stoops to a new low, actually just their old low.

    Beyond ridiculous

    But not only was it factually incorrect to accuse a Maori woman of white person's guilt, it's also an insult to the climate change refugees who may only be days away from deportation to Kiribati.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

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