What Lebanese People Think of the Syrian Refugees

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:

  • 52% believe Syrian refugees pose a threat to national security. This number rises to 80% in responders from North Lebanon.
  • 71% of responders believe sectarian clashes will erupt soon. The number is high among Sunnis and low among Shiites, expressing the ongoing divide in the country (and strengthening the study, perhaps?)
  • 67% of Lebanese believe the conflict in Syria will drive Lebanon to a new civil war.
  • 82% of Lebanese find Syrian refugees are taking away their jobs. 75% believe they are the cause of decreasing wages across the country.
  • 50% believe the Syrian refugees are receiving too much money. This number rises to 74% in the North.
  • 61% of Lebanese are not comfortable having Syrian neighbors. This number is higher among young people and among Christians as well.
  • 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.

    2 thoughts on “What Lebanese People Think of the Syrian Refugees

    1. Pingback: What Lebanese People Think of the Syrian Refugees | A Separate State of Mind | A Lebanese Blog | Ned Hamson Second Line View of the News

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