Syria and the humanitarian response

The Economist asks: David Miliband on Syria and the humanitarian response

Length: 14 minutes

Why I liked it:

To date, this is the most balanced and comprehensive analysis that I have heard about the current crisis in Syria. He considers the international responses, causes of the conflict, fears related to the refugees, confusions, fears, and more.

What struck me: 

It seems rare that the United States receives credit or accolades in the international news these days. I thought he had a measured understanding of the reasons the United States is not accepting refugees, but he also talks about us in a positive light when he says, “America has an extraordinary record of refugees becoming patriotic and productive members of society.”

What I want to share: 

After having a discussion one evening with Susan’s sister and brother-in-law who live in Germany, it quickly became clear that the messages received from the media do not always capture all of the details, complexity, and nuance. It comes through a little in the podcast, but there are legitimate fears about having massive amounts of refugees enter a country. On the other hand, he points out that even the Department of Homeland Security has identified that “fears about the security of this are not well founded.”

Thought experiment:

Imagine 100,000 Syrians arriving in Chicago over the next year, and imagine many of them gravitating to the same small area because of other people they know or other Syrians in the neighborhood. What would that due to test the social services, social structures, and established community? What would people’s fears be? What would people be afraid might happen when all these people achieve the ability to vote? How would we help them to use their education to benefit society and earn incomes for their families?

My favorite quote:

“If compassion is not allied to competence in the way in which people are dealt with, then you will lose trust” (David Miliband).