I was shocked, disappointed and disgusted when I came across this photo, shared from Al Nabateyah, South of Lebanon:
I was even more disgusted when I came across a Facebook page launched to oppose Syrian refugees working in Lebanon, because Syrian workers are of low costs and this’s negatively affecting Lebanese workers.
So okay, this refugee crisis has impacted life in Lebanon negatively on many different levels, no doubt. Regressing economy, exhausting social services, complicating politics and much more. True.
And yes, it is estimated that as a result of the Syrian crisis, about 200,000 Lebanese nationals fell into the clutches of poverty. It is also estimated that about 300,000 Lebanese citizens have become unemployed, which is a result of the negative effect of the low cost of Syrian workers. source
But just imagine for a moment that war took away your father and other loved ones..
That war forced you to flee your home, your town, your country.. with your wife, parents and children..
That when you finally arrived in Lebanon with other families of refugees..
That when you finally found a room to rent. A room that was only triple the usual price, but still much cheaper than others..
That when you could finally open a small hut to sell sandwiches, so that you could afford to buy milk for your three-year-old daughter..
That after all what you’ve been through..
You come across a Facebook page posting photos of their victories.. photos of all the Syrian shops they closed “to stand with Lebanese workers”..
You hear your neighbor complaining about the sound of your motorcycle or the sound of your children crying..
You see a flyer on the street that invites people to participate in a march “against Syrians opening businesses” to “support Lebanese workers and national economy”..
And all what I’m talking about is very very very likely to happen in a country like Lebanon. So it very likable that we, or our children, will become refugees in other places, too.
I think every Lebanese has heard, at least 10 times, negative and harmful comments about Syrian refugees.
I’ve been with people that get disgusted when they see entire families, of five or six children, all sitting on a motorcycle. As if those families had seven cars each but they chose to move on a motorcycle just to annoy those innocent peaceful citizens.
I’ve heard people complaining about how Syrians dress (how is that any of anyone’s business?)
I’ve heard people complaining about their Syrian neighbors. “They’re twenty, living in a single room!”
People have asked me what’s it like to live next to a refugee camp. WHHHAAAATTT? Just like living next to you except that I curse Assad and Russia and wars every time I pass by the camp.
Such people are such a disgrace, and I can’t believe that some people actually think that way. But it’s true, and I think we’ve all seen such people.
I won’t share any photo of a kid crying beside his dead family.. I won’t share any video showing a husband being killed in front of his wife.. I won’t share any chart showing the hundreds of thousands of innocent people Assad and Russia killed.. I won’t.. But please, just imagine that your home practically looks like this:
And think again next time you complain about a refugee.
The Syrian crisis is hard on Lebanon and Lebanese people, of course, but it so so so much harder on the refugees and those who lost their homes, families and dreams..