Social media has recently been inundated with an international outpouring of sympathy for a 3 year old Syrian child washing up on the beach in turkey. Memes have been made out of him, his father the only living survivor of this tragedy has been interviewed extensively and calls have been made for better or for worse on helping refugees as a world community. Obviously emoting is not only a Pakistani thing per se and is a very natural reaction to such a powerful image the world over. Neither is dismissing this image as the outcome of illegal immigration as in statements by the Australian pm a very sane thing to do, but will anything be done for this cause after all the hue and cry has died down is my question?
If my fellows Pakistanis remember there was a huge hue and cry when Militants stormed a school in Peshawar last year and murdered a lot of kids in cold blood. However after that sentiment washed over our whole country, we saw a resolve to get just as cold blooded about revenge and our armed forces went out on an all out assault to do just that. That did not however solve the root of the problem just like empathizing about this child on social media wont solve the very difficult debate on refugees as to how many should be let in and what will that mean for the nation which lets them in.
Pakistan has supposedly greatly suffered as a nation when we let in millions of Afghan refugees and we all make a big hue and cry about how illegal squatter townships of these same refugees indulge in all sorts of crimes to make a living. Although we keep saying the same thing over and over nobody speaks about what choice do we allow refugees in this country. Lets not even go into details on how Afghans or other immigrant communities are treated in this country or the world over but lets sit back and examine what opportunities they get in the country which has taken them in. Do we provide them an equal footing in Pakistan, do we let them have access to education do we even allow them basic rights given even if grudgingly to the rest of this country? When we begin to examine these things a lot of fallacies prop up. We as a society do not assimilate them into ours..or provide them a chance to go back and yet we expect them to get by how?
Zoom out on a world level and you will begin to understand why countries like the U.K and the U.S are not prepared to take in refugees or illegal immigrants. Even the refugees being detained in the Czech republic right now are being stamped with numbers on their fore arms, anyone remember who did that last or what that means to a person? A country which is taking in refugees on a massive scale will need to provide for them, will need to have infrastructure on how to assimilate them and give them access to rights and privileges their citizens have and will have to bear the burden of that financially as well as culturally. Not an easy thing to do at all by any measure.
So before we as a world community beat our emotional hearts out on social media or sign petitions in our hundreds of thousands perhaps we should think about what kind of an undertaking this is and what it will mean as a responsibility. Let us also not forget how these refugees are made in the first place because someone somewhere has to take responsibility for the “democratic interventions” into other countries as well and their fallout. Perhaps we should come up with a body for refugees world wide which can have a fund donated in by everyone to take care of people in situations like Syria or Palestine or Burma. Perhaps we should cut back on the space exploration programs and try to take care of our own worlds population first before trying to find new ones out there. A task which NASA has asked 17.5 Billion dollars for in 2015. I am sure if the nations indulging in space exploration gave even a portion of their budgets a world refugee body could be set up. This may seem like a fools dream but the two nations constantly at odds with one another namely India and Pakistan have witnessed the greatest migration and displacement in the history of this world so this could even be a chance to stand up together on this issue and initiate a body like this. Infact I would go as far as to suggest that we form a joint naval task force and send it out now to show the world how its done.
Without concrete steps taken to handle this problem pictures like this unfortunate child will keep washing up on our social media feeds and emoting about them and sharing them will not bring him or the countless others like him who suffer at the hands of our cruelty as a world community back. Infact we are already so divided by agendas and politics as a world that we will move on in about 3 days to the next tragedy..the next chapter in our evolution as the most destructive species on the face of this earth. Lets not forget the pictures that came out from Palestine this summer…or what was done about that issue after the uproar faded away. Humanity is lying face down on a beach somewhere and all we are doing is sharing pictures of its dead body.. #DOSOMETHING #PLANSOMETHING #IMPACTSOMETHING