Germany’s embrace of Syrian refugees exposes how little other countries have done

Joyce Karam writes: They’re calling her “Mama Merkel,” sending her love messages on twitter and showing gratitude unseen recently for a Syrian or Arab leader. Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel is being celebrated by many Syrians this week, for defying EU rules and showing compassion to a refugee population that’s been let down all too often in the last four years.

With more than four million refugees since 2011 and with Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon reaching full capacity in hosting those fleeing the Syrian war, the international community is dragging its feet in the face of the largest humanitarian crisis since World War II. Discrimination, hate crimes, and sheer catastrophes in the Mediterranean are encountering Syrians escaping on foot or by water to European shores. Barbed wires, and refugee-profiling awaits across the continent while some countries like Poland and Slovakia have made no secret that they would only take Syrian Christian refugees.

Merkel might not be the most charismatic leader or orator on the global stage, but this week, Germany’s Chancellor has shown both the audacity and the empathy in addressing the Syrian refugee problem. On Tuesday, Berlin announced its intention to welcome all Syrian asylum seekers to stay in the country, disregarding Europe’s Dublin protocol and enraging the far right groups in the process.

Merkel called for restoring European values in tackling the humanitarian problem, for “sharing the burden” dismissing the far right attacks as “disgusting, how right-wing extremists and neo-Nazis are trying to preach dull hate messages.” Merkel also vowed ”there will be no tolerance of those who question the dignity of other people.” [Continue reading…]

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