The Gulf States are defecating gold, but can’t offer relief to Syrian refugees?

Published: September 4, 2015
SHARES
Email

A Turkish police officer stands next to the body of the young boy. PHOTO: REUTERS

The first time I came across these images I was overcome with grief. 
PHOTO: AFP A Turkish police officer stands next to the body of the young boy. PHOTO: REUTERS

The first time I came across these images I was overcome with grief. Later, the sadness was replaced by outrage, but the tears continued to flow. Strangely, all I can do now is remark on how beautiful this toddler is, even in death.

Photo: Reuters

His name was Aylan Kurdi and according to CNN he was only two-years-old. He, along with his four-year-old brother, Galip, and mother Rehen, drowned after their boat capsized near the Greek island of Kos. This family of refugees was trying to find their way to Canada.

Reuters reports that their father, Abdullah Kurdi, was understandably distraught,

“I was holding my wife’s hand. My children slipped away from my hands. We tried to hold on to the boat. Everyone was screaming in pitch darkness. I couldn’t make my voice heard to my wife and kids.”

Take a moment to put yourself in this father’s shoes. What would provoke a man to risk the lives of his wife and two little ones? How could a perilous journey across the ocean, where you are as insignificant as an ant on a pond, be worth the jeopardy?

What sort of hell would force you to travel through the abyss to escape the devil himself?

The answer is the civil war in Syria.

Reportedly, the five year battle has killed 0.25 million people, and left 10 million people displaced.

Every time you think of Aylan, you have to realise that he is but one of the countless refugees caught in a bloody civil war where innocent people are being murdered, raped, burned, and tortured.

At this moment in time, there are traumatised children growing up who have known nothing but conflict and suffering. To them, the world is only explosions, gunfire, screaming, horror, fear, and scarcity of food and water.

For these kids, life isn’t about toys, treats, and joy. No, for them, life is about survival.

A report from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) claims that there are nearly 60 million refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs). An article from The Atlantic says of the 60 million refugees, a third come from Iraq and Syria.

Nations in Europe are bearing the brunt of the blame for not providing a safe haven to these people who risk their life and limb to get there, and there are talks of long term solutions for resolving this crisis, but the best long term solution would be to somehow end this war. Unfortunately, every side in Syria has blood on their hands.

Bashar al-Assad’s cruel government in Syria is committing war crime after war crime according to Amnesty International. The latest horror is the use of barrel bombs, air strikes, and torture cells, all targeting civilians.

According to an excerpt from an ABC report,

“This week, Syrian government warplanes dropped four rockets on a crowded marketplace in Douma, just outside the capital Damascus killing over 100 people. Just a few hours after the attack, I sat in the ABC Middle East bureau and watched camera phone footage of its immediate aftermath. It was horrific. A desperate man rushed through the dust, carrying a bloodied child over his shoulder. Dozens of dead bodies lay on the ground amongst blown out buildings and destroyed market stalls. The children are the worst part. Their tiny bodies caught up in a horrific game the adults have been playing.”

The rebel forces, while cleaner than Assad, have also committed their share of war crimes. Then there is ISIS, a special breed of evil, who take sick pleasure in the documentation of their cruelty. Only June, this year, it was reported that they executed 74 children for ‘practicing magic’ and not fasting during Ramazan.

If you wonder why Abdullah risked the life of Aylan, it is because thousands of other Aylans died brutal deaths in Syria. Abdullah wanted to give his family a better life, and crossing the ocean on a fragile dingy boat presented a greater chance of survival than living in Syria.

Europe is finally creaking open its door a little more for the refugees. Following Germany’s lead, the United Kingdom has agreed to accept more, but the real question is why the refugees aren’t heading towards the affluent Gulf States? If my house was on fire, would I not turn to my neighbour rather than run barefoot to another town in the black of the night?

Unfortunately, the Gulf States do not want them.

Photo: Noman Ansari

While the Syrian refugees are being welcomed into Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey, the rich Arab nations have put barriers in place so that these desperate people fail to pass the visa process. This arrogant and inhumane policy is far from surprising considering the human rights violations faced by expatriates with blue collar jobs in the Middle East.

It is a pity that the Gulf States have the wealth to build extravagant skyscrapers, import limited edition designer sports cars, and drink extraordinarily expensive gold dusted coffee which allows them the novelty of defecating gold, but they lack the resources to offer relief to the Syrian refugees. Clearly, the fat cats in the Middle East would rather have a gold speckled bowel movement than help their blood smeared neighbours in need.

It’s also perplexing how so many international media outlets insist on calling these refugees, migrants. Like any euphemism, this incorrect terminology only dilutes the gravity of their situation. They aren’t migrants, for a migrant is a person who willingly travels to another country for better working and living conditions. No, these people have been forced to flee their homeland because of a calamity. They are refugees. Let’s use the correct terminology.

Let’s not use words which soften the blow only to protect our own feelings, while countless die unimaginably horrible deaths.

Noman Ansari

Noman Ansari

The author is the editor-in-chief of IGN Pakistan, and has been reviewing films and writing opinion pieces for The Express Tribune as well as Dawn for five years. He tweets as @Pugnate (twitter.com/Pugnate)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • UzairH

    Bravo Noman, bravo!

    I do find it puzzling why anyone would think it is the duty of the European nations – in particular the smaller ones such as Sweden and Denmark who have never interfered in other countries’ affairs – to host refugees from the Middle East. Where are the tall claims of Muslims superiority and Muslim brotherhood? It seems to me that these infidel nations have more human values than the the self-professed bastions of faith and piety.Recommend

  • https://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=8559594100366660134#allposts Supriya Arcot

    Has anyone asked them? If yes, then whats their response?Recommend

  • M Mirza

    Pakistan, although not as well of as many Arab/Gulf nations, should take the initiative and allow 1000 Syrian refugees for rehabilitation as a symbolic gesture. Just the public donations would suffice for this initiative. Hopefully, it would be a wake up call for the rich gulf countriesRecommend

  • Arshad Alam from POK

    Pakistan being the bastion of islam should help these rohigyas and syrian people…My heart goes for these people….but than den came to my mind the thought….pakistan also…killed small students…as taliban killed them and taliban were fully supported by Pakistan……Pakistan also fuelled insurgency in kashmir by giving guns to teenagers in the name of islam rather than giving books to them…No offense…..I hope ET or the blogger publish my comments….based on pure facts and reasoning….I have a love for Humanity and hatred for none…but we must clearly see what is going on in this world regarding good taliban bad taliban….kashmiri terrorist being freedom fighters…but balochistan terrorist being against pakistan ideology…rab rakha….pakistan zindabad….Recommend

  • Brain Think

    First lets call a spade a spade.

    Syria is an ally of Iran, in a diplomatic sense – except for the regions that are controlled by the ISIS.

    ISIS particularly only targets people from the shia community. They can sort of tolerate the christians – charging them high taxes – but not the shias.

    Saudis, Qatari and the Emiratis are fighting the Shias in Yemen. These so called rich arab countries are essentially all wahabi/salafi.

    This particular family’s 11 members (who were shias) were murdered by ISIS, which is basically a Wahabi sectarian group.

    Irony is that the Gulf countries would have definitely opened up their gates if the refugees were Egyptians – who are generally pro Saudi.

    The core concept of this entire conflict is a Shia Sunni divide. Sadly, this has been happening for centuries, shifting between cold and hot wars.Recommend

  • Critical

    Reproducing my comment from another blog with my own permission

    Also,these refugees dont want to go to these islamic countries and would rather go to non-islamic countries because

    – Free housing
    – Benefit checks coming home every month (5% of Danish muslims claim upto 45% of Social Security fund)
    – Free education for kids
    – Free to practice their religion (You dont want to be in a wrong sect of islam in an islamic country)
    – Use Racism and islamophobia card to get what you want
    – Ur future country will not deport you unlike muslim countries
    – Right to burn public property over a cartoon and still treated with kid gloves
    -Make the host country feel guilty even though you are from Morocco or Tunisia which was never attacked by West
    -No Sharia punishments like lashes,cutting hands or hanging but their jail life is way better than the life they had in their home country
    -Right to demand Sharia law and special treatment for Muslims which even many Islamic countries wouldnt allow.
    -a bunch of Human rights activists will always defend you even if you commit serious crimes like terrorism,rape,murder and twist it as a case of islamophobia by Whites

    whereas in islamic country,you have to live in fear of getting deported,jailed or killed with no chance of getting your views heard….

    No matter,people are even ready to move to bankrupt Greece than UAE where people drive in Gold plated FerrarisRecommend

  • Critical

    Who said Gulf countries are not accepting refugees from Syria???This following article shows they do but with few conditions attached….i.e. they want more girls for their harem

    http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=afa_1364925184Recommend

  • Jayman

    The gold in their bathroom fittings can ensure a decent life for thousands of these refugees. But, all your will hear is silence from their end. They would rather support the terrorists.Recommend

  • abhi

    Valid point. There are so many Islamic countries in the world but all refugees are running towards Europe. This shows the reality. Even muslims don’t feel safe in these so called Islamic countries.Recommend

  • hamza khan

    dont lecture us you little indian rat. how dare you? you wanna talk about killing small students? how many hundreds of thousands has your coward army killed inside kashmir, in assam, through its foreign terrorist proxies in sri lanka, bangladesh, all over the region. india is a terrorist country that exports terror. do you want me to repeat it? pakistan is not fuelling any insurgency inside kashmir. your terrorist government is killing unarmed civilians there. pakistan is defending them, and will continue to do so until the day of judgement if needed. now get lostRecommend

  • Abdul Qadir

    the gulf governments are dead and they are busy in their own agenda of pleasing foreign powers while the helpless continue to die and terrorists spread distruction everywhere while the princes and kings sleep and enjoy turning blind eye from the suffering worldRecommend

  • buba

    Terrible tragedy – but one has to ask when does a war refugee become an economic refugee? Like many Syrians this family had reached the safety of Turkey and when they decided to move it wasn’t for reasons of safety it was to increase the quality of their lives by migration to the West.

    Lots of blame to go around – including the rich oil countries that funded the Muslim extremist as well as Iran, Russia and China which support Assad.Recommend

  • syed & syed

    Please do not ask Gulf Countries to help refugees since they are busy in demolishing YemenRecommend

  • Junaid

    Shame, shame and a thousand shame on the Muslim Arab nations!! They live like elites with no care for humanity. They support militants to serve their own purpose. The sad part is no civil movements are seen in these countries against the indifference of their government towards world peace.Recommend

  • Parvez

    You’ve raised a very intriguing question…..having given it some thought I’ve come to conclusion that the Gulf State Arabs are the way they are ( pretty obnoxious ) because they consider themselves superior to other Muslims ( money does that ) ……but they grovel in front of the ‘ white man ‘. It will be years if not centuries before they get a foothold in history to be regarded as a people with compassion, people who are comfortable in their own skin……….right now, as you say, they are happy defecating gold.Recommend

  • NBM

    There is no such thing as muslim brotherhood! Where ever muslims take control that country will degenerate. This is fact. It is not right, it is not godly, for a religion to rule be making threats to life and limb as with sharia law!Recommend

  • oblivious

    Why does a Syrian immigrant who makes it to an adjacent safe country have a right to then move to Europe? It’s one of the Elephant in the Room things that people tend to ignore. There is a difference between someone fleeing war and someone fleeing poverty.Recommend

  • Iftikhar Ali

    Twisting Thoughts:
    Everyone is grieved on Syrian refugees issue. Pakistan can open doors to these refugees, because we have years of experience of accommodating Afghans and Arabs refugees.
    In return we can ask for help to Rich nations for billions of dollars because we have a lot expertise in that. That can also feed our hungry army and politicians.Recommend

  • Union Jack

    I wonder why they are not running towards Pakistan which is suppose to be land of pure for muslims ? Want it created as beacon of hope for muslims all over the world as Jinnah once stated ? Muslims themselves do not look at Islamic countries as land of opportunity and better life. I wonder what went wrong with the “islamic” way of living and Shariah law.Recommend

  • 19640909rk .

    do you think anything honest has ever come out of arabs?Recommend

  • rtnguy

    I urge pakistan to take the syrian refugees. Although not fully stable, pak is way more peaceful than syriaRecommend

  • hosan mohamod

    The crying Earth the weeping shores, imagine the kid and the god in the heaven will be how disappointed on the human in this world. Where is at least the minimum kid right not to say human right, where are the gentlemen who always talk humanity as daily crap. Remember Mike…What about sunrise
    What about rain
    What about all the things
    That you said we were to gain. .
    What about killing fields
    Is there a time
    What about all the things
    That you said was yours and mine…
    Did you ever stop to notice
    All the blood weve shed before
    Did you ever stop to notice
    The crying Earth the weeping shores?

    What have we done to the world
    Look what weve done
    What about all the peace
    That you pledge your only son…Recommend

  • Free Spirit

    Sad state of humanity..But the only problem I see is that with these many migrants, any place they go, the natives will become minority. And we all know what happens when Muslims are in majority… Recommend

  • hosan mohamod

    Indi* is never a independant country. This country is controled by kinds of capitals and powers. since its goverment greed the candy from some out-region power, it has to do something as return. Thus this country help the outside power do some above mentioned things not only in Kashmir. From long term, this country will suffer from what he has done.Recommend

  • abhi

    Don’t rant here. Do something for refugees.Recommend

  • Noman Ansari

    So NFP shared this on his Facebook:Recommend

  • DH

    It is indeed very sad to see the rich Gulf states are not offering any help to these Muslims. Whenever it comes to hating the west, some of us are at the forefront, and today if we see non Muslims in the west, like Austria and Germany how they are welcoming the refugees, it should remind us of what we are lacking. May Allah Mighty and Majestic make things easy for them and give us all Taufeeq to help them in their times of need. Ameen Ameen.

    In these times of need we should ask ourselves, what we can do for them? inshaAllah if we all do whatever we can, things will change.

    “True religion makes one a better person, false religion states it has already occurred”.Recommend

  • Usama Bin Azeem

    Anti-Saudi propaganda regarding intake of refugees from Syria. It should be known:
    • Saudi Arabia has suspended all immigration laws regarding Syrians, regardless of how they entered the country (Umrah, Hajj, Visit or Business visa) they shall stay.
    • ALL Syrian Iqamahs (residency permits) & visas are valid & renewed until the war in Syria ends. This is not a new rule, it was enacted during Prince Naif’s lifetime, the late Crown Prince.
    • The Saudi Arabian Ministry of Immigration enacted laws treating all Syrian children the same as their Saudi counterparts.
    • All Syrian children receive free healthcare along with their parents and enjoy a free education.
    • Syrian parents are allowed to work as they please without the fear of Labor Law violation/penalty.
    • Saudi Arabia has also established or funded multiple refugee camps in Jordan, Turkey & elsewhere
    Saudi Arabia has been doing this for many years. How long have Western governments been doing it? Saudi Arabia has also been fighting multiple wars protecting its borders, both Northern & Southern. So sad to see people blindly follow twitter trends ignoring these facts & overly praising the West.
    And as a matter of fact, Saudi has always given preference to Palestinians, Syrians and Egyptians over Indians, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis. As they’ve always been in more need than anybody else.Recommend

  • Guest

    Don’t tell me you treat a Baluch Insurgent as your son-in-law. If you ever manage to crawl out of your hole, read some international press, find out what the world think about your country.Recommend

  • Guest

    Guess what, there is no sky fairy.Recommend

  • Osama

    Anti-Saudi propaganda regarding intake of refugees from Syria. It should be known:
    • Saudi Arabia has suspended all immigration laws regarding Syrians, regardless of how they entered the country (Umrah, Hajj, Visit or Business visa) they shall stay.
    • ALL Syrian Iqamahs (residency permits) & visas are valid & renewed until the war in Syria ends. This is not a new rule, it was enacted during Prince Naif’s lifetime, the late Crown Prince.
    • The Saudi Arabian Ministry of Immigration enacted laws treating all Syrian children the same as their Saudi counterparts.
    • All Syrian children receive free healthcare along with their parents and enjoy a free education.
    • Syrian parents are allowed to work as they please without the fear of Labor Law violation/penalty.
    • Saudi Arabia has also established or funded multiple refugee camps in Jordan, Turkey & elsewhere
    Saudi Arabia has been doing this for many years. How long have Western governments been doing it? Saudi Arabia has also been fighting multiple wars protecting its borders, both Northern & Southern. So sad to see people blindly follow twitter trends ignoring these facts & overly praising the West.
    And as a matter of fact, Saudi has always given preference to Palestinians, Syrians and Egyptians over Indians, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis. As they’ve always been in more need than anybody else.Recommend

  • Guest

    Pakistan got paid by UN to host Afghan refugees. Then Afghanis would not have been in your country if Pakistan did not fight the Soviets with American and Saudi money.Recommend

  • Ahsan

    bombardment on Norther Waziristan and in FATA is Justifiable because Pak Army want to recover Pak Land form Terrorists. So let me know why bashar Government is Cruel if they are fighting for their land with terrorists funded by Saudi Arab and Gulf State?Recommend

  • p r sharma

    while searching on google it transpires that The oil-rich Countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.) have refused to accept a larger number of Syrian refugees.[189]
    If the Gulf Cooperation Council decides, ( to accept Syrian refugees)as some analysis’s claim, Saudi Arabia and its GCC allies can easily take up to three million Syrian refugees within one year.
    Saudi Arabia has however sent aid worth $280 million to help Syrian refugeesRecommend

  • Enkay

    Not Majority. With 23% Muslim Population Content Jinnah wanted 50% Representation for his Muslim League. The Solution was that India had to be Partitioned!Recommend

  • Enkay

    Muslim Migrants never go to another Muslim Country where they will get hardly any help. These Muslim Migrants always head for Non-Muslim Countries and then demand Sharia and a Muslim Way of Life i.e. Halal, Hijab etc. etc. NO MUSLIM COUNTRY WILL ACCEPT MUSLIM MIGRANTS!Recommend

  • Anuj

    Frustrated soul. LOL!
    Recommend

  • Muhammad Zakir

    Please note Pakistan hosts the largest number of refugees in the world. What about the wealthiest so called Islamic states??? Hypocrats!
    Recommend

  • IAF101

    This is ISlam – a cesspool of humanity who can only come together in revelling in murder, barbarism and savagery in the name of their satanic middle eastern diety – Allah.

    But when there is a crisis – when innocence is being murdered – All so-called “ISlamic countries” are silent because their religion has taught them nothing about compassion, about service to their fellow man and about the duty of each individual to his/her fellow man.

    There is a saying – Allah is merciful and most compassionate because Muslims don’t know what they mean.Recommend

  • IAF101

    The day of judgement has already come and gone, you are all found to be unworthy of even judgement.Recommend

  • usman777

    THere are 1.8 million muslim refugees in Pakistan. The world’s biggest. more than western coutnires more than INDIA. Do some research before you ingore the article to score points against paksitan. Loser. Our hearts as big as your thinking is petty.Recommend

  • Nana

    Union Jack, may be you do not know that Pakistan is in a state of war for the last 35 years and no one likes to go to a war region except Afghans, our thankless neighbours, who came as refugees in millions and after 35 years own business, properties, land, ID cards and passports of Pakistan and still speak ill about us. Yes, Saudi Arabia and UAE are super rich countries and Arab brothers of Syrians but incidently they have a heart of stone.Recommend

  • Nana

    Pakistan is in a state of war. Saudi Arabia is the origin of islam and super rich, it should fullfill it’s duty. You might have love for humanity but you are filled with hatred for Pakistan.Recommend

  • Nana

    what are you doing for them?Recommend

  • Kamath

    I think Organization of Islamic countries should act now and get brotherly Islamic countries shell out some money for rehabilitation of these refugees. They really do not wanted to go to Europe or elsewhere unless this tekrror of ISIS befell them. So other Muslim countries should give them shelter. Pakistan should take a lead!Recommend

  • abhi

    Do you need support from Infidels to save momins?Recommend

  • Nana

    Why not? Do you think Hungary, Austria and Germany are Muslim lands? It’s the heart that counts in the end and not the land. Do you have the heart? Right at this moment Shah Salman is sitting in front of obama in White house and sipping tea with him. It does not make him a less Muslim.Recommend

  • Nana

    Don’t forget these million of Afghans now own properties, lands , business , ID cards and passports of Pakistan, UN does not pay for that, Pakistan has paid much higher price than anyone. You tell me, India is on good terms with afghanistan, how many Afghan refugees have you housed?Recommend

  • Ali Ahmed

    Sadly but true the horrific conditions of our Muslim brothers and the complete lack of humanity shown by our rich Gulf brotherS (worst than enemies) clearly show that we have all forgotten the most important chapter of Islamic history the hijrat of Prophet Muhammad SAWRecommend

  • syed & syed

    Instead of discussing refugee problem why can these so called Arab sates not trying to curb IS, Daish Takfiris, Bako Haram etc.If these organizations are eliminated no one would like to leave their own soil. This will not happen since bread and butter lies in promoting these organizations. The world will face another influx of refugees from Yemen-blessings of Saudi Arabia..Recommend

  • mahesh

    10 million Bangladeshi Muslims sought refuge in India. Now they are estimated to have doubled. That is world’s biggest. Do some research before you comment. Will any Muslim country ever give refige to Non muslims like that? We have the biggest heart.Recommend

  • mahesh

    Yes, India was slave of US to create Taliban and send to Afghanistan. Then is slave of KSA to let prices hunt. And now it is trying to become slave of China bu giving off Vizag port as gift. Good analysis.Recommend

  • mahesh

    I believe Zaid Hamid tried to speak against their govt in their soil. You know what happened. How can locals dare?Recommend

  • mahesh

    I believe Bangladeshi refugees in India any many folds than Afghans in Pak. But Pak refuses to take behari Bangladeshis who supported Pakistan during 1971. Maybe because UN won’t pay?Recommend

  • vinsin

    But they got 50% in the end by not moving to Pakistan.Recommend