We often think of a crisis has having a defined beginning and end. The ‘recent’ refugee crisis in the Middle East has been fuelled largely by the Syrian conflict. Interestingly, when the Syrian refugee crisis began, human rights groups calling for the absorption of refugees into bordering countries had to be mindful of their wording, so as not to imply, for example, that Iraqi refugees who lived in Syria should be sent back to Iraq. Palestinian refugees who had been living in Yarmouk, a city in the Damascus governorate, since 1957, were under blockade as of 2014. Many have criticised the lack of action taken by the Palestinian Authority against the blockade and subsequent atrocities that have taken place in Yarmouk.
Is 2016 a peak in an age-old crisis, or is the unprecedented nature of the number of displaced people worldwide the sign of a new problem? The political complexities of the refugee crisis leave many frustrated and confounded. With so many lives at stake, so many children who have lost their childhood, so many who have lost family, friends, acquaintances, how can we possibly watch this happen? How can we better understand and discuss this crisis, taking into account the vast web that has been spun through years of conflict and political manoeuvring of stable and unstable states? Would a clearer view lead to more tangible and immediate resolutions for 60 million people?
This session will be held on Friday, 8 July at 11am at Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies (CAIS) at the ANU.