Students, Teachers Discuss Syrian Refugee Crisis

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The recent surge of refugees has alerted European countries to the Syrian crisis.

But the response has been too sluggish for Sameer Saboungi, a Syrian studying international studies and political science at UF.

“We have seen President Obama basically skirt around the Syrian issue and continue to disregard the humanitarian tragedy there,” Saboungi said. “We have this moral responsibility considering our inaction toward the Syrian conflict to resettle more Syrian refugees.”

Saboungi is an advocate for making foreign policy more civilian-centered and ethical instead of being interest-driven. He said a consensus hasn’t been reached on how to handle the situation.

“I hope the case with Syria can be a lesson in history that will be finally learned,” Saboungi said.

With more than 4 million Syrian refugees abroad and 7 million internally displaced, the world is feeling the burden of the Syrian refugee crisis, said Lisa Booth, who teaches modern European history at the University of Florida.

Booth said global cooperation is the only way to settle the crisis and avoid more humanitarian consequences.

Some locals, such as Esther Romeyn, agree that the international community should share the burden of this crisis. She said there is no European-wide framework on the conditions to grant asylum.

Romeyn, an assistant lecturer at the Center for European Studies at UF, said multiculturalism has become taboo in Europe. It segregates societies between migrants, descendants of migrants and the natives, she said.

“All these countries hold on to a fictional homogeneous nation-state,” she said. “That is why this particular body of refugees is considered highly treacherous because it’s considered really foreign, because it’s predominantly Muslim.”

Laura Venz, a German from Mannheim working on her post-doctorate in organizational behavior at UF, said that she supports Germany’s decision to take in 800,000 refugees.

“Fear is not a good excuse for not taking in the refugees who truly need our help,” Venz said.

People in Germany are willing to help by donating money, clothes and giving language courses.

So far, America has allowed about 1,500 refugees in the country and recently agreed to take in up to 10,000 refugees in the next year, according to NPR news.

About Victoria Molina

Victoria is a reporter for WUFT News who may be contacted by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news @wuft.org

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