Refuge: To Flee or Not to Flee

No society is perfect.

  • In the United States, African-American men are at greater risk of police violence.
  • In Saudi Arabia, a woman who commits adultery might face public execution.
  • In Russia, dissidents who denounce Vladimir Putin may find themselves jailed, or worse.

But regardless of their flaws, these societies don’t suffer the problem of mass displacement. 

The reason?

Their social institutions are fundamentally strong. When a hurricane hits the United States, Americans don’t flee their homeland.

But in fragile societies like Haiti, when a natural disaster strikes, citizens rush to leave because they know the state lacks the money and means to provide for their most basic needs.

“Global modernity has not only produced technological miracles like the iPhone, and more than 1,800 billionaires; it has broken all records for the human tragedies that constitute displacement.”

A variety of social, political and economic factors can push unstable societies into full meltdown.

Attempts to institute democracy in formerly autocratic nations can spark chaos, as happened in Iraq after the US invasion or in Libya following the Arab Spring. 

Commodity booms, such as spikes in oil prices, can also make frail nations more fragile.

This was illustrated in Syria, where ISIS seized oil fields and used oil revenues to fund a campaign of violence that drove scores of Syrians from their homes. Though in Syria’s case, most of the 11 million displaced people stayed within the nation’s borders, so they’re not officially considered refugees.

Yemen offers another prime example: a notoriously freewheeling state governed by a tribal system, Yemen saw 2.5 million people, or about 9% of its citizenry, displaced by violence in 2015.

“When fragility crystallizes into mass violence, civilian populations need to flee their homes.”

Ustaz Azhar Idrus (Makruh berpaling muka dalam solat

kecuali ada hajat untuk berpaling seperti untuk salam, meludah dan lain-lain.

Refuge: Mass Violence Which Cause Worldwide Crisis

The past decade has shown us an unprecedented level of violence which lead to the worst episode of mass displacement since World War II. Chronic chaos in such states as Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia has driven much of the displacement.

Crises have also erupted in South Sudan, Sudan, Yemen, Burundi, Ukraine, the Central African Republic, Myanmar and Eritrea. All told, some 65.3 million individuals or 1 in every 113 people on Earth have found themselves forced from their homes either because of war, civil unrest or natural disasters. 

More than 21 million of these displaced souls have journeyed across a national border in search of safety; this distinction makes them refugees. 

We has grown healthier and wealthier in recent decades but nearly 1% of the world’s population on the run from violence or disaster, the globe is a more unsettled place than ever and the international community is not prepared to deal with that fact.

In 2015, when large numbers of refugees began arriving in Europe after death-defying journeys across the Mediterranean, the international community panicked. With the notable exception of Germany, which opened its borders to asylum seekers, most European governments accepted limited numbers of refugees or, simply, rejected them outright.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) identifies protecting refugees and providing ways for them to rebuild their lives as its two main missions. With the latest wave of refugees, the UNHCR has accomplished neither goal. Just as the international monetary system was forced to reform its untenable system in 1971, today, the world must revise its response to refugee crises.

“Even according to its own metrics, the refugee system is failing badly.”

Refuge (a book on refugee)

Refugee was the topic asked of me during my last job interview. I remembered that my answer was rather controversial and it caught the interviewer off-guard. But landed me the job I interviewed for nonetheless. 

It was fun.

But this is not really the subject for today’s post. 

And the subject for today’s post is on a book by Paul Collier and Alexander Betts, titled Refuge, Rethinking Refugee Policy in a Changing World, a rather heavy reading, even for me.

The thing that caught my interest of the book was it was, as mentioned before, the subject of my last job interview. And as I reading it, it remind me of my answers during the interview when asked about what I would do when handling refugee.

“What you would do if you’re given power and authority to manage refugee?”

Refugee crisis isn’t a simple matter of opening or closing borders, it’s much more than that.

Well, below is my reading note from the book, not actually my cup of tea, but well, the book did intrigue me.

My reading notes from the book

  • The world is currently in the midst of its worst episode of mass displacement since World War II. Among those whom I could think of are that of Palestinian, Syria, Burma, Yemen and Somalia. And most of the people involved are my fellow Muslim brothers and sisters.
  • Some 65 million people have been forced from their homes, and 21 million have crossed international borders, making them refugees. 
  • Refugee crises happened when an already-weak society descends into violence and chaos. 
  • Refugee crises can occur in both strong, repressive regimes such as Syria and in weak states such as Yemen and Somalia. 
  • Current refugee policies are ill-fitted to the realities of 21st century refugee life. 
  • The ethical calculus of ignoring the refugee crisis is just like watching a child drown because you don’t want to get your clothes wet. 
  • Open-door policies by Germany and Italy created many unintended consequences.
  • The strongest nations have the capacity to absorb exiles, but no incentive to do so.
  • With Europe and North America turning away from Syrian refugees, much of the obligation falls on neighboring nations. 
  • The modern refugee crisis calls for a multiple strategic approach which empowers refugees and encourages effective international collaboration.

Act as if

Act as if!

Act as if you’re a wealthy man, rich already, and then you’ll surely become rich.

Act as if you have unmatched confidence and then people will surely have confidence in you.

Act as if you have unmatched experience and then people will follow your advice.

And act as if you are already a tremendous success, and as sure as I stand here today – you will become successful.

~Jordan Belfort~