We’ve discussed the matter of the Syrian refugees in Lebanon over and over and over again. And then some.
Every aspect of the issue has been exposed. Racism, realism, illusionism – all forms of arguments have been used.
And yet, in the midst of the 1,000,000 plus refugees that our country has received, very few polls have taken it to the Lebanese who are not on social media, who do not have blogs and who do not tweet the day away.
A recent study published by Fafo attempted to see what the Lebanese population thought of the increasing Syrian presence. You can check the study here. Some of the findings are as follows:
A lot of the information revealed in the study is old news to most of us who are living among the people who fall into those many percentages. But are all the woes invalid?
A recent lecture I attended at medical school with Doctors Without Borders revealed to us that the situation of the Lebanese citizens in Bab el Tebbane, Jabal Mohsen and Akkar is far, far worse than the worst conditions they’ve seen with the Syrian refugees, which is echoed in the disparities that responders from North Lebanon exhibited in the study at hand.
This prompted me to ask the head of the MSF envoy to Lebanon about what was expected of Lebanon regarding the Syrian refugees given the state of many of its citizens?
He couldn’t answer.
What the study shows, at least to some extent, is what many of us had doubted for long: Lebanese people always want to blame others for their problems but never themselves. And the Syrian refugees are our go-to blame with the current events unfolding. Is the blame unfounded? Perhaps so. But what’s to be expected when the political rhetoric being used to command people’s mentalities uses those refugees as ammo in anyway possible?
What’s even more disappointing is how the youth view the matter of the refugees. I thought my age group would be at least more aware. I guess not.
What is certain, however, is that the matter of the refugees has to be regulated. By the end of 2013 the country will have 20% of its population as Syrian refugees. In other terms, that’s more Syrians than Maronites. And you know things will only go downhill from there.