Alan Kurdi was not a climate refugee

Karl Mathiesen writes: The desperate and the displaced of Syria’s war should not be cast as climate refugees, observers have told the Guardian, as this overstates the role of global warming in setting off the conflict.

Many agree that the collapse began in March 2011, when a group of Syrian teenagers sprayed the words “Ash-shab yurid isqat an-nizam” on a wall in the southwest Syrian town of Dara’a.

The words, which translate to ‘the people want to topple the regime’, were a rallying call of the Arab Spring in Tunis and Cairo. The boys were caught, beaten and tortured by president Bashar al-Assad’s secret police. Their powerful parents were enraged. Protests and repression spread and spiralled into the disaster that has sent hundreds of thousands of Syrians fleeing toward Europe’s uncertain reception.

The narrative has since been fleshed out by journalists and observers to incorporate the impact climate change was having on the lives of those youths. [Continue reading…]

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