Monday, October 5, 2015

The Syrian refugees - remember those?

Peuple du vent - Hermes

"In Lebanon, the number of registered refugees dropped by 140,000 since January, to 1,078,000" - this, apparently is a comforting statistic which I read today. Not sure how comforting it is - of course, we as Lebanese know how to make the "best" out of any situation. People are renting rooms and shacks for exorbitant prices to Syrian refugees making a steady income from the process - someone I know excluded the water from the rented room because the first batch of renters used water like crazy, he had since discovered that the small family he rented the room to became a 17 person strong tribe in three weeks.
Does anyone even ask about the non-registered refugees? I know they are everywhere. Getting babies and not registering them. A few months back the toll was 36,000 babies which are not registered for either logistic reasons or fear of repercussions from the regime. And the food aid dried up, almost completely. The UN vouchers disappeared leaving all these people incapable of working legally to do odds and ends. Yasser, who is now 13 and lives nearby, is not attending school after a fiasco trial where he understood nothing from what was being explained since all courses are taught in Arabic in Syria whereas French and English are the primary learning languages in Lebanon. He currently works at a printing press and helps his father do side jobs such as installing satellite dishes. His two older brothers are now working as waiters in an Arabic restaurant somewhere on the coast.
I recently gave a huge bag of clothing - note, as a minimalist, a huge bag of clothing is a lot for me! - to a different Syrian worker who, by chance, had a son who fits my size of wear. That man specifically asked if I can add socks and other such things to the bag.
Where does this leave us? With 1,078,000 registered refugees and God knows how many unregistered? Not all of them will want to flee to Europe, not all of them will want to go back to Syria, and a lot of them will remain here.
The faster we adapt to this fact, the better it is.

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