Angelina Jolie on the rise of Nationalism

Angelina Jolie, UNHCR’s Special Envoy , gave an impassioned speech on the duty of nations and rights of refugees, at the  Annual Sergio Vieira de Mello Memorial Lecture

As a citizen, I find myself looking out on a global environment that seems more troubling and uncertain than at any time in my lifetime. I imagine many of you may feel the same.
We are grappling with a level of conflict and insecurity that seems to exceed our will and capabilities: with more refugees than ever before, and new wars erupting on top of existing conflicts, some already lasting decades.
We see a rising tide of nationalism, masquerading as patriotism, and the re-emergence of policies encouraging fear and hatred of others.
We see some politicians elected partly on the basis of dismissing international institutions and agreements, as if our countries have not benefited from cooperation, but actually been harmed by it.
We hear some leaders talking as if some of our proudest achievements are in fact our biggest liabilities – whether it is the tradition of successfully integrating refugees into our societies, or the institutions and treaties we have built rooted in laws and human rights.

Nicely said. Read the whole speech here.

The Refugee crisis is very real. People are fleeing from their homes, with their families.

With the crisis in the Middle East showing no sign of abating, the humanitarian crisis facing the region, and the world, is one of the worst that the world has seen. At the same time, legitimate concerns have been raised about the high probability of terrorists slipping in with the refugees. Also, there is a definite anti migration backlash in the west, and refugees become one more set of competitors in a tight job market. Unlike in earlier times, where populations, especially in the developed economies were more welcoming of refugees, now there is a growing lack of empathy for perpetual crisis, that leads to resources in relatively stable nations being stretched.

Given all this, and the brutality of certain regimes, the risk to the refugee is huge. Stay and perish, leave and decay in a refugee camp (if you are lucky). We have all seen pictures of refugees bodies being washed up the shore.

There is no easy solution to this. The rights of the refugee is important. So too are the voices of people, in host nations,  who ask “how are we going to afford to this this, and how will it impact my life and livelihood” . Like many other things in the world, this topic too has been hijacked by the polar opposites – those who say that all refugees should be let in with no checks, and the other extreme that says – ‘their life, their problem – not my problem’. But, most of the people are somewhere in between. Maybe asking people for an imaginative solution – that takes into account one fact the war will possibly continue – may help.

Angelina Jolie on the Refugee Crisis

source : here 

The New Odyssey : The Story of Europe’s Refugee Crisis

Among the body of literature that exists on this topic, it is worth mentioning The New Odyssey: The Story of Europe’s Refugee Crisis  by Patrick Kingsley. Kingsley follows the refugee trail from Niger in Africa, to  the final probable destination – criss crossing along with the refugees, across Africa, Arabia and Europe. An entire economy has come up around the disaster. The book is hearbreaking in it’s directness. there are no pretty words, or adjectives here to sugarcoat the problem. It is real, it kicks you in the guts, and makes you want to look at the sky and scream. I am fairly certain, if I were a refugee, by now I would be fairly convinced that there is no God, merciful or otherwise. or if s/he were there, they really don’t care.