I’ve met many fascinating people. Yesterday the heartbreaking picture of the Syrian boy who drowned and washed up on a beach in Turkey reminded me of a girl I knew many years ago, Anne, she was a friend of a friend.
In the aftermath of World War II and the advance of Mao in China, an American GI named Frank Chisari watched a train packed full of refugees go by at a railroad crossing when he noticed something fall of the train. He walked up to find an infant beside the dead body of her mother, a young Chinese woman. Chisari took the infant to his base and – along with a few other GIs – sheltered her in the fuselage of a disabled C47 airplane. Upon his return to the US, Chisari was forced to leave the girl in a Chinese orphanage but enlisted the help of the NY Daily News to adopt the girl and bring her home to New York. Anne went on to have, for lack of a better word, a normal life: she raised a family, moved to Florida, had several jobs, opened her own restaurant, she had what you might consider an All American life.
The poor Syrian boy who washed up in Turkey will never have those chances, he wasn’t as fortunate as Anne was. But just like Anne these refugees are real people.
I’ll say this about the current refugee crisis in Europe: don’t believe for a moment these events are just an unfortunate circumstance or the result of some crazies in Raqqa, they are the result of years of geopolitical policies that prioritize business and strategic objectives while marginalizing the value of “ordinary” lives. I’m not saying the so called West is to blame for everything but you can’t see the current events separate from foreign meddling, Cold War politics, Europe’s colonial past, go as far back as the Crusades if you will.
Finally, if you think this refugee wave is “bad”, forget the Middle East and look at the demographics in Africa. Do you know what the median age is in Tanzania? It’s 17. Anytime people feel they don’t have a fair shake at life or a representative government, it’s only natural they’ll look for greener pastures elsewhere.
Think about that next time you entrust your foreign policies to some dude in an expensive suit who’s never traveled outside of their own country other than 4-star resorts and diplomatic missions shielded in bullet proof limousines. Whose interests do they represent? Have they studied the history of places like the Congo or Guatemala? Until there are structural changes in geopolitical policies, I’m afraid the refugee crisis won’t get better.