PUBLISHED: Monday, Aug. 22, 2016
by Angelo Persichilli
TORONTO—In the middle of last year’s federal election campaign, I had the impression that, finally, media and politicians understood the seriousness of Syrian refugees’ situation. It was the wrong impression.
After a few months of hype and drama, the theatrical arrival in Canada of a few thousands of refugees picked up in the Middle East, not according to need but according to who was ready—like picking cherries from a tree to be showcased in a food fair—now media and politicians have moved on.
The hype started with the publication of a dramatic photo of the body a little boy, Alan Kurdi, along the Turkish shore.
Because of that picture, the world and Canada pretended to discover a problem they were not aware of. In fact, we knew about the drama before that picture, like we know now. But we are ignoring the drama now, like we did before.
Media has moved on to the Trump-Clinton soap opera, while politicians are preaching and lecturing people about social justice on Facebook from their summer barbecue circuit or from their cottages in Muskoka.
The fact of the matter is that the refugee crisis has not been solved but has deteriorated. According the United Nations, this year alone, 262,935 refugees have landed along the shores of Italy and Greece and 3,177 are missing—among them many children just like Alan Kurdi. The problem is that they didn’t have a photographer in tow to appease the morbid need for visuals of our society.
This tragedy has been on stage for years and the names of the story’s producers, directors, and starring actors are well known. Even if we do the right thing, welcoming the victims of these atrocities, we will not stop the genocide because we are afraid to go to the root of the problem. We point the finger against ourselves for not being able to handle the consequences of a complicated problem we didn’t create, and we are afraid to stop the people who force them to flee their own countries, facing death at sea.
This is not an issue to be solved with legislation. This is not a country’s coup d’état, when we accommodate a few thousand political activists persecuted by the new regime. This is not a religious war. We are dealing with a genocide orchestrated by assassins, eager to eliminate their opponents and, at the same time, embarrass our conscience.
With their atrocities, they want to challenge our values, weaken our institutions, and destabilize our society. They are very well funded. They have a well thought-out plan and a strong communications department that very skillfully manipulates the western media and our shortsighted politicians, who busy themselves to put a fire out but are unable to deal with the causes that created it.
There are many contradictions to be explained and many questions without answers.
Media show us demonstrations with people screaming profanities against the western world, but nobody explains why so many people risk their lives seeking refuge in countries these protesters consider “corrupt and immoral.” After all, they don’t seek refuge in places like Saudi Arabia, the U.A.E., or Jordan. They seek refuge in North American and European countries that they consider, at the same time, heaven and hell; hell when they talk about politics, heaven when they look for a place to live.
We should feel guilty for not helping enough people. At the same time, we must understand why they run away from the atrocities in their own country and why they are seeking refuge in “depraved societies.”
I am not debating who is right and who is wrong. However, we need to explain these contradictions. We need to identify and neutralize those who mastermind such atrocities against their own people, and stop the genocide.
We can’t just keep putting fires out if we don’t deal with the pyromaniacs.