Syria is embroiled in a tragic sequence of halves: half of its war casualties have been civilian; half of its population is displaced; half of its refugees are children. Millions of Syrians have jumped to bordering countries, overloading Turkey and Lebanon, while others look to start anew in the western world.
Four million refugees have already escaped Syria’s borders, forced to travel long distances on foot.
Over 50,000 refugees and migrants arrived in Greece in July alone, many with nothing but the clothes on their backs. Angry Greeks have complained to their government. “No fair! How come they get clothes on their backs?” While Greece has taken many, the lion’s share of the displaced in Europe will be absorbed by Germany, which expects to bring in 800,000 by the end of the year. One refugee, Mohammed Alkilany, notes that for refugees, “Germany is the best in Europe…in Germany you can learn the language for free.”
As Europe overflows with refugees, some Americans believe it’s our turn to step up to the plate, and Obama has raised our refugee admittance rate to 85,000 in 2016. Others disagree. Ted Cruz argued, “It would be the height of foolishness to bring in tens of thousands of people, including Jihadists.” Donald Trump has noted that, if he is elected, he will send the refugees back. Because apparently you can do that now.
But the refugees needn’t fret. An Egyptian billionaire, Naguib Sawiris, wants to buy an island off Greece’s coast to house them, or so he claims. Satellite photography reveals what seem to be the beginnings of a Sidewinder, as well as a man in a panda suit, prompting many in the CIA to suspect Naguib may be planning to actualize a real-world Rollercoaster Tycoon fantasy. Unfortunately, there don’t seem to be any paths to the bathroom. Rookie move, Naguib. Everyone knows that if you don’t make a path to the bathroom the refugees don’t know they’re allowed to go over there.
For many reasons, including the myriad separate forces jostling for power in Syria and the disjoint goals of Obama and Putin, the light at the end of the tunnel for Syrians is dim and distant. If you’re looking to help, consider the last in Syria’s series of halves — of the United Nation’s $6.5 billion appeal in 2014 to deal with the crisis, less than 50 percent was funded.