It is a tragedy that so many people across the world find themselves displaced. I cannot fathom how difficult it must be for a family to decide that it is safer to trek for thousands of miles across land and sea rather than stay in the country of their birth.
We can and we should do whatever is necessary to help these people who are in dire need.
However it seems to me that the EU debate about what denotes a “fair share” of refugees avoids a far larger question: how are we going to give these refugees their country back?
Following the German lead that an unlimited amount of refugees/migrants are welcome, countries in East and Central Europe found themselves inundated with people. So much so they couldn’t cope and border controls were re-instigated by countries in the Schengen area as a temporary response to exceptional circumstances.
This outcome was inevitable really. In a rush to solve today’s problem we have forgotten that there will be a tomorrow. Or put differently; the urgent is getting in the way of the important.
The ultimate aim of our policy for Syrian refugees should be to give them their country back. A consequence of our actions now is that the very people who will be needed to help rebuild their broken country are their best and brightest. And where will these people be when that time comes? Germany, France, the UK, Austria and other European countries.
We are failing in our duty to the Syrian people by offering help which soothes our conscience now but passes the buck on finding a long term fix.
If we are to really help the Syrians then we need to tackle the source of the problem and eradicate Isis from their country. If we do not then the Western countries are failing in their responsibility to protect those least able to protect themselves.