Refugee crisis a taste of things to come

Written By: - Date published: 7:05 am, September 12th, 2015 - 75 comments
Categories: climate change, im/migration, john key, leadership, war - Tags: , , ,

The current refugee crisis, to which our government has responded so pitifully, is but a taste of things to come:

Tackle climate change or face resource wars, Lord Ashdown warns

Refugee crisis is a ‘rehearsal’ for a vast humanitarian disaster that will soon unfold if we fail to act on global warming, former Lib Dem leader tells Climate News Network

The former leader of one of the UK’s main political parties says the world will undergo more resource wars and huge movements of desperate people unless it tackles climate change effectively.

Lord Ashdown, who was leader of Britain’s Liberal Democrats for 11 years, describes the present flight of refugees from Syria and other conflict areas as a “rehearsal” for the vast humanitarian disaster he believes will soon unfold.

In a recent BBC interview on the Syrian refugee crisis, he said: “This is the beginnings of the future. It’s not going to go away.

“The numbers we now have of refugees fleeing battle zones are going to be diminished into almost nothing when we see the mass movement of populations caused by global warming.” …

As that piece was published, Key was at the South Pacific Forum in Papua New Guinea. On being confronted with the impact of climate refugees in the Pacific:

Leaders of Kiribati, Tuvalu and other low lying atolls say New Zealand and Australia just aren’t doing enough.

Mr Key disputes that, saying over $1 billion is committed to Pacific development, including on sustainable clean energy projects.

And he doesn’t think climate change refugees are an immediate issue. “Realistically, you’re so far into the future that’s not an issue that we’re going to face in the next year or two,” he said.

Not an issue we’re going to face in the next year or two? There you have the extent of John Key’s “leadership” in a nutshell. Unbelievable.

At least he isn’t Abbot.

75 comments on “Refugee crisis a taste of things to come ”

  1. Tracey 1

    sadly very believable and those who believe he thinks anything longer than 3 years on any issue need to provide strong proof.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 2.1

      It’s the rate of rise which will cause the biggest problems.

      • weka 2.1.1

        sea level rise of any height is not going to be the biggest problem.

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          When it gets to 1′ per decade in 100 years or so? As with everything AGW, it’s the acceleration.

          *1′ = 1 ft = 30-odd cm.

          • weka

            I think being able to grown food to not starve to death is going to be a much bigger issue (if we don’t make changes now). Having to move whole communities away from the coast is pretty dire, but will pale in comparison to mass ecosystem collapse.

    • KeepLeft 2.2

      The glaringly obvious answer is to ban private transport with exceptions for emergency, cyclists and people in political office. The greedy rich don’t need their gas guzzling polluting SUVs! Let’s turn every lane into a bus-only lane!

      • weka 2.2.1

        “The glaringly obvious answer is to ban private transport with exceptions for emergency, cyclists and people in political office.”

        People with disabilities? People with young children? People who live in places with no public transport?

        • KeepLeft

          Comrade, with all due respect I fear you have been duped by the bourgeois capitalistic society in which we are both forced to live. Buses can be outfitted to suit the needs of people with disabilities. Likewise, people with young children can take the bus. And once we get rid of private transport public transport will be available cheaply to all.

          • weka

            No I haven’t been duped, I just think it’s more realistic to limit private transport than ban it.

            “Buses can be outfitted to suit the needs of people with disabilities”

            Sorry, and I’m not going to get into this now, but your understanding of disability is very limited. You are probably thinking wheelchairs and such. Disability covers far more than that.

            “Likewise, people with young children can take the bus”

            I think as well as cost, organisation in ways that actually work is an issue. It’s a whole new set of skills that will have to be learned by both planners and users. Banning private vehicles would catapault people into incredibly distruptive situations and engender resistance.

            I’d also like to see the detail on how public transport would work in rural areas and remote places. I’m guessing you live in a city.

            • KeepLeft

              Points taken. Perhaps something like imposing restrictions on car use as a half way step?

              For people living in rural and remote areas they can apply for State supplied vehicles.

              • weka

                I don’t have any particular ideological attachment to private ownership being right or wrong. In the community I currently live in I could see shared ownership amongst various people working, so instead of each household having one or two cars, each block might have one and a system for using it.

                This is what would today be called private ownership (which is why Iwi are seen as ‘private’), but it’s not, it’s devolution of governance, and really the issue is to get people to move away from the socialisation that everyone can have their own car.

                I can also see that other communities I’ve lived in, that shared ownership wouldn’t work well. My politics are about localising everything (economy, politics, food production etc), so I would see the solutions as being different in different places and that each community needs to come up with its own workable solutions.

                There does need to be direction from the country as a whole though and I agree that imposing restrictions on personal car use would be one way to start (I’m old enough to remember carless days). But to get to there from where we are now requires people to understand that we are going to have to powerdown on many levels. We’re not there yet, but getting closer I think.

  2. save NZ 3

    While European countries are being lectured about their failure to take in enough refugees, Saudi Arabia – which has taken in precisely zero migrants – has 100,000 air conditioned tents that can house over 3 million people sitting empty.

    • Gabby 3.1

      They’re Sunni tents.

    • Saud Al 3.2

      Dear save NZ,

      Please check the sources you use properly. Saudi Arabia is the first country to provide help to any country going through crisis. In all different ways either by financial aid, medical aid or food. For an example since the war have started in Yemen Saudi Arabia have taken more than 500,000 refugees from Yemen. they all have been granted visas and able to stay in the country as well as get treated same as the residents of the country. Yes, all the countries are lectured about taking enough refugees, then you blame Saudi, it is the first country that want to stop what is happening and trying to find any way to send any sort of aid to the people who still live in the country.

      for Syria’s side since the war started there Saudi Arabia have been one of the first countries which are trying to find any solution to stop Syria’s President Bashaar Al Assad, his army been dropping Chemical bombs on civilians to kill them and Saudi Arabia is pushing it’s best to find any solution in the near future to stop the war and stop ISIS as well. so far, according to Arab news newspaper Saudi Arabia is already the home of 500,00 Syrian refugee, while all the countries are talking about numbers that are barely in the thousand there are half a million already found home in Saudi Arabia.
      For the side to stop Bashaar, Saudi Arabia is the leading country in trying to stop this crisis. so many meeting have been made through the past years to try stop the war in any way because they do not want war which lead to deaths and people loosing their families and homes. even the historical building there are tries to stop the demolish occurring due to the continues war in the region.

      Links to Support my argument:


      • Neville Longbottom 3.2.1

        Mr. Al

        You seem really strong about Saudi Arabian refugee affairs. Looks like you see it as of a light rather than a danger. Do you really think Syrians want to move to Saudi Arabia.

        Nah mate, its too close Al, thats why they go to the Germans.

        I reckon we’re better suited to bring more Refugees, put them in Christchurch mate that city needs people!

        Its well more prepared than Saudi Arabia I reckon.

        • Saud Al

          Mr Longbottom,

          I was just replying to what was written that Saudi Arabia does not care about refugees, I tried to clear that they care about them. The link was attached by Mr. save NZ was about a holy spot in Makka region. that place is for Hajj which is part of Islam and people practice it once every year.
          Yea mate refugees can go anywhere it does not need to be Saudi, there a lot of other places in the world where they are much more needed.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 3.2.2

        A six month visit visa is not a passport, it’s an extension of refugee status.

        I need freedom, I need democracy … the whole country is a prison.
        Khalid Muhammad al Jahani,

        • Saud Al

          Dear One Anonymous Bloke,

          The six months visitor visa is granted for them in order to allow them to find jobs and adapt in life, instead of pushing them to find a job on the spot, they have time to find proper one.

          • One Anonymous Bloke

            So while other countries grant residency/asylum/citizenship, the House of Saud looks for cheap labour. Please correct me if I’m wrong, after all, my last reference came from a link you posted 😆

          • One Anonymous Bloke

            While I’m at it, one of your citizens accepted a bribe from the National Party. Why isn’t he in jail?

            • Saud Al

              Each country got it’s own criteria of giving the residency it is not like come and here is a passport. Saudi got more than 20 million citizens already. It will be very hard to add extra million or any number, there are new born every day and more. The work visa renewal in Saudi is easy and they do not face a lot of issues to do so. Every person have the privilege to apply for a citizenship after certain amount of time no country throw it’s passport for every person enter it.
              In regards to the politician, I have not seen anything in the news about this and therefore I cannot comment without knowing the whole story as it involves two countries.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                I was expecting some sort of denial and you just roll over. Thanks for confirming my suspicions.

  3. Steve Withers 4

    Key merely proves once again that modern conservatives can’t actually think in any useful way about the future.

    Be they government or the people who vote them into government.

    But there is no way on Earth you can ever actually explain that to someone who can’t think in the first place.

    Look at the 20-ish% who still smoke. Putting poisons right into their own faces and tossing the butts anywhere they please. If they can’t deal effectively with something as direct, personal and tangible as that…….something as abstract as climate change hasn’t got a prayer.

    • Molly 4.1

      “Look at the 20-ish% who still smoke. Putting poisons right into their own faces and tossing the butts anywhere they please. “

      All good till you got to this.

      People are fallible.

      Often to their own detriment as you mention, but you may find that those who neglect themselves often have no difficulty in making good decisions when it comes to impacting on others.

      If we can’t get our heads around working with imperfect people (which is everyone), then you are right, we will not be able to have meaningful discussions about climate change.

      Let’s talk about climate change with everyone. The smokers, the ACT voters, the obese, the unfit, the young, the old, the in-betweeners. In those discussions you will find a wide variety of opinion and passion that is in no way linked to their current personal choices. People will make better choices in their own time about those issues.

      Climate change demands as close to universal engagement as is possible.

    • weston 4.2

      haha someone who cant think in the first place ??even an odinary garden variety of rabbit would have a higher iq than yours mate if you think that smokers are somehow responsible for climate change

  4. b waghorn 5

    “”And he doesn’t think climate change refugees are an immediate issue. “Realistically, you’re so far into the future that’s not an issue that we’re going to face in the next year or two,” he said.””
    I guess key is working on the theory that his money can insulate his grandchildren from the possible ravages of cc because he doesn’t appear to give a fuck about them or any one else’s with comments like that.

    • Pat 5.1

      Key and those who subscribe to that view are working on the theory that the wealthy will be able to avoid the worst of the impacts of CC….and sadly as a broad rule, in the short term they are probably correct….but only in the short term and explains an awful lot about their motivations and policies.

  5. Paul 6

    New Zealand and Australia voted these people in.
    Stupid people gets stupid leaders.

    • Corokia 6.1

      We have stupid mainstream media, controlled (and mostly owned) by dumb, greedy bastards who don’t want to change business as usual. That is why we have stupid leaders. Stupid media who don’t challenge Key when he says stupid things.

      • JanM 6.1.1

        People with half a reflective brain should be able to see through them, though. I think our education system’s stuffed, actually

        • Corokia

          FFS, its the MSM that is avoiding the issue, letting National get away with total bullshit such as when they claim we are “doing our fair share” and Key says sea level change might or might not be happening and you want to blame teachers!

        • Lara

          Oh yeah, blame it all on the education system. One of the favourite whipping dogs in NZ.

          I don’t think you’ve seen the modern curriculum, seen how science is taught in classrooms or seen the passion of our teachers today. They’re bloody well not doing it for the money!

          With widespread access to more information than ever before, free public libraries, decent education and near universal literacy in NZ there is really no reason for NZers to not be aware of impending catastrophe caused by climate change.

          I completely agree with Paul. Stupid people vote for stupid leaders.

          I think there’s something else happening too though. When our economy is doing relatively well overall we tend to vote for the status quo. When it’s doing badly we vote for change. Helen Clark lost during the GFC. I think we need another massive financial crisis to get rid of Key.

  6. This current crisis is a foretaste of what is to come and it will not come in years but rather weeks and months. We have sat on our hands and ignored the signs, pretended it wasn’t ‘our’ problem, pretended it was ‘over there’, pretended that ‘we’ll be alright jack’ but all of that is just muffled disgust at our own selfishness and self loathing. We created it and we will live and die it, but only after the throwaways have had their turns first eh.

  7. Draco T Bastard 8

    The former leader of one of the UK’s main political parties says the world will undergo more resource wars and huge movements of desperate people unless it tackles climate change effectively.

    To prevent that from coming to pass we need to do more than tackle climate change, we need to get rid of the source of that conflict – capitalism.

    • yes lead the way there mate – the rebellion starts HERE and starts NOW!!! Oh wait – maybe tomorrow, or next week would be even better, actually let’s wait for someone else to do it, after all we want it to work and we don’t want to be accused of ‘running away’ or ‘not having the courage to FIGHT for our beliefs’ now do we. Yes let’s just wait a bit cos I have holidays coming up and rebellions do litter the place with bodies and shit – yeah – “We need someone else to get rid of the source of that conflict because we are still reaping the benefits from the system – capitalism”.

      • Draco T Bastard 8.1.1

        WTF are you on about?

        • marty mars

          Are you prepared to fight (like you want the refugees to) against capitalism and its tools/facilitators/adherents or will you acquiesce to the situation (pretend it is not a problem or someone else will fix it), or will you run away (mentally, emotionally and perhaps physically). YOU have caused this shit and unless you fight I don’t see how you can moan about it.

      • weka 8.1.2

        I’m feeling similarly marty, but about CC not the refugees. I read this post and thread and thought, great, another opportunity for us to wring our hands instead of doing something. I think wringing out hands is important (i.e. understanding the issue and feeling something must be done), but we, us lot here, pretty much understand what the problem is, and we’re still not doing what is required.

        Yes, we are reaping the benefits of the system, and unwilling to give that up until we are forced to (by which time it will be too late).

        • marty mars

          I wonder if the adage – “Don’t take tomorrow’s problems on today” is of any use 🙂

          • weka

            I’m talking about today’s problems 😉 CC is here, now.

            • marty mars

              so what are you doing about it after your insight? Talking about the issue on the web is a pretty good start imo.

              I was once initiated by a ‘guru’ who was considered very advanced. After 4 or so years he visited all his disciples and told them that he had ‘fallen down’ and had sex (supposed to be sanyasi-super-celibate). I thought, if he with all the advantages available to him can’t do it, how can I? and I left. If we with all our knowledge and advantages can’t/won’t do it what about all those with less knowledge/understanding/opportunity. How the fuck will they be able to do anything?

              • weka

                Not sure what you mean marty. I’ve already said that having understanding (talking on the internet) is important. It’s just not enough. I’m not concerned about people with lesser understanding, I’m worried that those of who already know still aren’t doing what is required.

                Never been big on authorities/gurus myself. Ordinary people can do extraordinary things 🙂

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  The study Redbaiter tried to distort discusses this. A failure of leadership and economic pressures are cited by many respondents.

                  In other words, there are ways to better communicate/coordinate our individual responses.

                  • weka

                    what study?

                    I would classify a failure of leadship and economic pressures as things we already know well enough.

                    “In other words, there are ways to better communicate/coordinate our individual responses.”

                    True, but which we aren’t doing (for the most part*) How come?

                    *we’ve got good activism around challenging power structures like govt, and there are movements like Transition Towns that are pioneering what needs to happen in the powerdown, but by and large we don’t yet have a politics of citizens doing the right thing (re CC).

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Motu Research: Majority of New Zealanders are concerned about climate change and taking actions that reduce emissions

                      “Get older” is one piece of advice:

                      People below age 55 generally show higher levels of concern about climate change and have a greater belief in their ability to help. People aged 18-34 are more likely to engage in environmental citizenship activities such as speaking out in conversations with family and friends, voting on environmental grounds and joining environmental demonstrations.

                      Leining says information about climate change impacts and solutions should cater for differences in perception between men and women and between people of different ages.

                      “If these findings represent a culture shift among younger generations moving into leadership positions, support for effective climate change action could rise on the national agenda.”

                    • Thanks for that survey oab – very interesting

                      “Of those surveyed, 66% said they would use less energy and 59% said they would be motivated to generate their own renewable energy if there was financial support for products that helped them do so.”

                      This would be an awesome, practical idea with so many benefits for individuals and communities. This is resilience building imo. If they encouraged and supported people to do it of course.

                    • weka

                      Thanks OAB, but that’s the opposite of what I meant. I have no doubt that a place like NZ would change quickly if we had the right leadership. But we don’t. Which leaves our fate in the hands of the people. So of the people that know how serious things are, how come we’re not doing what is necessary?

                    • weka

                      “Of those surveyed, 66% said they would use less energy and 59% said they would be motivated to generate their own renewable energy if there was financial support for products that helped them do so.”

                      The key word there is products. People still want BAU. They want to maintain their current lifestyles and are willing to change so long as industrial society provides them with the tools to do so in ways that don’t distrupt that life too much.

                      Yep, using less power, building more resiliency in communities would be exactly what we need, but on its own it’s not sufficient.

                      The political conversation I want to have is not the one we are having. It’s the one that takes it beyond ideas to action, and the one that requires us to examine much more deeply what needs to change in us (not them).

                    • weka

                      “Get older” is one piece of advice:

                      We don’t have time to wait for that. We’re in the window now, where we could do something meaningful. The longer we wait the less chance we have and the less our actions will make a difference.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Weka, Marty, that’s why I raised it: the areas that are lacking – leadership, the viable economic model – are where the greatest gains can be made.

                    • weka


                      Doesn’t that just still leave us speculating about things rather than doing something?

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      I’m not speculating – the study is pretty clear. In any case we can still walk and chew gum.

                    • weka

                      I wasn’t talking about you posting the link (there’s nothing wrong with that). Please give me some credit for being better politically than to suggest we can only do one thing at a time.

                      Problem is, we’re not walking, we’re only chewing gum. If we want to do something meaningful about CC we need to start walking (and other things) as well. And soon.

                      The article is a very useful piece of research, which we can use to inform our politics and our actions (see my comments further up about we need to keep doing this). But if what we do is talk about how people want to change (as per the article), and we don’t actually change, then we’re just sitting on the internet talking about change instead of doing it.

                      I think there is another conversation to be had, that builds on what we already do. But I get the sense that it’s not yet understood what I am meaning. Perhaps I’m not being clear enough. Perhaps people aren’t interested. Perhaps in reality people don’t want to change or do what is required.

  8. The public do not want fake refugees and they do not buy into climate change.

    Until the manipulative zealots pushing these two concepts are driven from power within the party, Labour will remain on the political outer.

  9. The Labour voters working in Sth Auckland factories want better wages, better working conditions, more jobs and more money on the table in general.

    They don’t want to be preached to by comfortably well off middle class academics on self indulgent feel good peripheral issues that will do nothing to help the above objectives.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 10.1

      “Preached to”.

      The study you failed to lie effectively about indicates a failure of leadership as one of the main concerns people express.

      That doesn’t fit your daft narrative much either, eh. Haha.

    • Adele 10.2

      Teenaa koe, Redbaiter

      Working for and on behalf of Maaori communities also raises the same dilemma in terms of representing their interests.

      Kawerau was built around the then Tasman Pulp and Paper Mill. In its heyday, it employed over 3000 people, many were Maaori.

      The problem with Tasman was that it spewed toxins into the Tarawera River – which flowed onto and into Matata beaches.

      Many Maaori were upset as the River and the Ocean were a Food Source. Many more were deeply upset because as Kaitiaki we were Failing.

      Today, we are not so unsettled as we actively seek to reconcile our need to earn money within the greater obligation to improve treatment of the natural world. We have a lot to un-learn and re-learn.

      You are incorrect to imply that the struggling wouldn’t care about climate change.

  10. Michael 11

    By the time climate change kicks in Key will be in Hawaii, counting his money while protected by the US Pacific Fleet. He knows this which is why he doesn’t care.

  11. At some stage in the not to distant future, everything is going to go tits up big time.
    When the power grid in the USA goes down, and it must, ‘they’ will loose the ability to pump water, leaving all suburban areas with massive water shortages.
    Luckily most people believe the BS and will wait patiently by the tap, alas after about 3 days it will be to late for them to find sufficient water – thus ending the refugee problem from the cities )
    When all the refugees flooding across the borders don’t get help (as minimal as it is now) they will die off reasonably quickly, that is what happens to starving thirsty people. Post crash the refugee problem should only last a few weeks )
    Take the $6 billionUS away from Turkey, and they will stop feeding and watering their 2 million refugees, then watch that lot try and move without food or water … they will be fucked.
    We are trying to push shit uphill with a garden fork.
    Eventually we are all going to end up in the gutter, my vote is for a sudden fast crash, then at least when we find ourselves in the gutter, we may still have most of our crap ie somewhere to sleep, and a change of clothes. as we are seeing now with this slow crash, most of our bedrooms will be full of Chinese economic refugees, as Key sells everything, in his insane misinformed drive to hold back this inevitable tsunami.
    Happy times )

    • Reddelusion 12.1

      When a meteorite hits the earth, when the big quake hits, when yellow stone park goes up, when the magnetic force protecting the earth collapses, when bible prophesy comes true, when the yellow peril take over the earth, when aliens finally work out where we are, FFS stop wallowing in doomsday theories

      • Robert Atack 12.1.1

        Yes Reddelusion, I’m just pointing out that if any ‘doomsday’ event takes place, within 3 – 5 days most people will be dead. And it doesn’t have to be that doomie I’m just pointing out once the grid goes down it will take most of us with it ?
        Not ‘wallowing’ just point out facts.

  12. Olga 13

    Surely, John Key could perhaps do a bit more to show a little more empathy towards the whole refugee crisis. What can be translated from his statement about the climate refugee situation is the lack of urgency and priority towards them. The future of these people rely on the “now”. The future cannot wait as its actions rely on the presents doings. Maybe New Zealand’s investment into the Pacific’s development on sustainable energy should be reviewed. Potentially because it might not be alleviating these sinking island atolls from the harsh tremors of the global warming effects. Is John Key doing enough?

    His leadership ought to show where his weaknesses lie and what with the rejection of raising the Syrian refugee quota to more than 750? However, New Zealand has not increased its refugee quota since it was first set at 800 almost 30 years ago, in 1987.

    Yes, his reasoning provides that we as a country have been allowing refugee immigration for quite a long period of time. Also Key’s self held belief that if New Zealand were to invite the influx of refugee immigrants into its country, then it would need to better its services before increasing the intake. To add more salt to the wound, these same Syrian refugees must face much harsher plights as human beings fighting for a means of survival like literally. Whilst us citizens might also fight for a means of survival in differing contexts, what must be noted is that refugees fleeing these war zones in particular must now fight twice as hard to maintain basic necessities which we might be so privileged to. Things like security, shelter, food and emotional understanding are all jeopardized. Yet even its nearby bordering countries are so unwilling to accept them to the extent that Hungary vows to arrest refugees who come into contact. With a crisis like this concerning refugees, the most humane thing that could be done is look into the issues and do something about it. After all, these are other human beings who just like us have a right to the basic needs in life. And thus, the quota of the Syrian refugee intake should be doubled. This begs a clear cut but evocative question; What if we were in refugees’ shoes?

    • Freedz101 13.1

      You are completely right. John Key has had more than enough time to review the plan to increase the refugee quota as it has been an ongoing issue for quite awhile. He should not use the excuse of needing to better the service in order to increase the intake when the talk of increasing the intake has been on for more than a year.

      Instead of trying to distract us with his new plans to change the design of the flag and also his ideas of changing the design of the New Zealand currency, why not use that money which would cost millions to better the resources for refugee resettlement programs and increase the quota? We can come up with several excuses to not bring in more people who are fleeing for their lives to find peace, but at the end of the day, that is just going to lead us to contribute in putting the lives of millions in jeopardy who are somebody’s mother, father, daughter or son. It is upsetting to see people speak about refugees as if they are not people, but a problem. What would we do if we were in the shoes of the victims fleeing war? We would plea for safety and shelter and beg for the times we were able to sleep peacefully without the fear for our safety and of our families.

      There are about 5 resettlement programs in New Zealand where refugees get the help that they need. They do not get the assistance from the government for housing and they help refugees settle into New Zealand and help them seek jobs. Our government can look to increase the resources and help to these resettlement programmes for refugees instead of spending millions sending 143 New Zealand soldiers to Syria.

      • NancyLaz 13.1.1

        Freedz101, I understand where you are coming from but at the same time we also need to understand that John Key’s responsibility is not to take care of other countries but rather his job is to make sure that his choices will benefit New Zealand in the long run.

        Yes, some would say that the flag is a waste of time and money but this is something that we have been thinking about since the last world cup. I don’t think that this would made as a distraction as the changing of the flag happened before the Syrian refugees became is global issue.

  13. Jason 14

    As we know about Saudi Arabia there is a lot of people who judge countries around the world as they only portray what has been said on media and as we know not everything they say is true. We know that Saudi Arabia has accepted refugees for a long time even before the war started in Syria example Pakistan, Afghanistan and other Arab countries as well. But they do not go around on media telling everyone that they have taken refugees. Every country has a quota of refugees they take in, as you would know. As I have said media say a lot of things and at time the most important things are left out. They have shown a lot of refugees going to Germany because obviously they are looking at Western countries they are not looking for somewhere just to survive but Westernised ways. Like Saud Al said they have also provided aid, food and fluids and many other essential things to survive.

  14. Jasson 15

    Since the establishment of modern-day Saudi Arabia in 1932, it has been a land of hospitality for many of those who fled conflicts and persecution in neighboring Arab countries. At that time many Arab countries were under foreign colonization. Many Arabs came to the Kingdom fleeing persecution in their home countries. The Kingdom, since then, has continued to see an influx of refugees, who were never called or labeled as refugees. And many came to this land years before it was officially called Saudi Arabia.
    During and after the WWI, many fled the Ottoman and European conflicts. After that, many Palestinians who fled their land settled down in Saudi Arabia and it was even before the 1948 hostilities between the Arabs and Israelis. But, again they were not called refugees. They were called guests of the Kingdom and many of them were given the highest-paying jobs as workers in the oil industry, which was run then by the newly formed company Arabia American Oil Company (ARAMCO).
    During all these times, the Saudis did these without any media projection and never received any aid from any international body such as the United Nations or any other organization. Saudi Arabia did this as part of its duty toward its Arab brothers.
    The trend continues to this day and these people are considered guests and not refugees. During the internal conflicts in Yemen between the north and the southern part, millions of Yemenis came to Saudi Arabia. Many of them kept coming and going without any visa requirements. They worked and lived like Saudis in the Kingdom. Ironically during the 1950s, 60s and 70s many of the so-called Arab nationalists labeled the Gulf states and especially Saudi Arabia as less stable countries in the Arab world. They never appreciated or spoke about the millions who lived in the Kingdom and the other five Gulf states and enjoyed free health care and other benefits. But, as time passed, the influx of guests continued to the Gulf countries with Saudi Arabia accepting and hosting the majority.
    When Iraq invaded Kuwait, Saudi Arabia hosted every Kuwaiti and non-Kuwaiti and furnished them with not only the best housing and accommodation, but also provided them financial aid during their stay until Kuwait was liberated. The world didn’t really take notice of the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who fled Iraq before and after Desert Storm. And many more came after the end of the war because Saddam Hussein was attacking his own people in the southern part of Iraq. These hundreds of thousands of Iraqis were never called refugees. They were called guests and they were housed in newly built accommodation with hospitals and schools.
    Let us also not forget the Saudi efforts during the 10-year Lebanese civil war. Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states did a lot, but without any fanfare or claim of who did this or did that. Not only the governments helped them, but also the Saudis and other Gulf citizens who stood by their neighbors.
    Then came the so-called Arab Spring. During the outbreak of unrest in Libya, Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen and Syria, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states took hundreds of thousands of people from these countries, mainly Syria and Yemen. More than half a million Syrians were given residency status and never called refugees. They work and live side by side with Saudis. Many brought their families and relatives to the Kingdom. It is true that some rules were put in place to scrutinize the newcomers. But, it was done only after terrorist attacks in the Kingdom — to check infiltration by terror groups like Daesh.
    Since the beginning of disturbances in Yemen and even after Operation Decisive Storm, Saudi Arabia did not stop taking care of the Yemenis. More than 600,000 Yemenis corrected their status and were given legal status.
    In other words, Saudi Arabia has been and still is a safe destination for those who need help and shelter. We have never called the Yemenis or the Syrians refugees. We call them guests. And on top of this, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states have always borne the financial burden of hosting these guests.
    We and the world know that Saudi Arabia’s population is about 30 million and one third of them are non-Saudis. In other Gulf states, foreigners form a bigger percentage of their population.
    Saudi Arabia and Gulf states have done much more than what the foreign press has been reporting. This is something we normally don’t talk about because we respect the dignity of those fleeing their countries. The western press may not be aware of the Saudi and Gulf states’ efforts to help the refugees (guests) directly by hosting them or indirectly through the billions of dollars given to international organizations to help these hapless people. But, as for some Arab writers and columnists who try to distort facts and use the agony and misery of the refugees for their personal gains, I say, we have seen you do this before and we will expose your real intentions.

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