“This is not a natural disaster. This was intentionally made by the Western powers, who knew that if you start using force, then people will run away.” – Sabah Al-Mukhtar
The majority of mainstream Western media, and thus, the focus of conversation within politics has either been directed towards to cost of the refugee crisis, whether our infrastructure supports the large numbers of refugees seeking safety, or somewhat sadly, questioning the legitimacy of their status. Personally, it has been painfully frustrating not to be debating why this refugee crisis has happened in the first place. However, in doing so, it would require Europe, and especially countries such as Britain and France, to address their foreign policy and shoulder a proportion (America also needs to take responsibility) of the blame of the crisis we are confronting.
Despite the subject attracting significant media coverage in recent weeks, the humanitarian crisis in the Middle East has been a relatively ignored issue for the past decade or two. Instead, we have focused on bringing ‘freedom’ and ‘peace’ through war to the region. The blowback of this has been the ISIS uprising in Iraq and Syria, the lack of governance and law in Afghanistan, and Libya essentially becoming a non-state and ultimately, the displacement of millions of men, women and children, as they are forced to leave their homes and head towards Western countries to seek safety. We need to realise that America and Europe does not know best what the world needs and how countries should be organised and ran, and regime changes, as the evidence shows, are not done for the interests of the country in hand, more for the benefit of the Western superpowers.
Ten days ago (5/9/2015), George Osbourne was quoted saying that we need to address the root causes of the refugee crisis by overthrowing the ‘evil Assad regime’, and plans need to be brought forward to extend the RAF strikes in the region. I find such a stance by the British government extremely frustrating considering the result of the bombing campaign in neighbouring Middle Eastern countries brought about the current humanitarian crisis in the first place, so surely the solution to said crisis is not extending the military interventions?
If a pipe bursts, you would not keep collecting the water in buckets hoping the pipe would somehow fix itself. No, you would investigate the source of the problem, the broken pipe, and tailor the solution around fixing it. Currently, the topic of conversation regarding the humanitarian crisis is too centred on consequences of the politics of the Middle East, and within this I include Western foreign policy, rather than addressing the political situation itself. If we as humans are ever going to create a solution, we need to first start talking about causes of this crisis. But that doesn’t mean defining the causes to fit our bloodlust agendas.