WORLD REFUGEE DAY: Hang your heads in shame

A day, we the people living on this planet, need to hang our collective heads in shame. For even as this editorial is being written, 65.3 million of our fellow-dwellers on this planet have been forced from their homes and forced to flee their cities and countries. Among them are nearly 20 million refugees, over half of whom are under 18 years of age.    According to statistics of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, one in every 122 humans is now a refugee, an internally displaced person, or seeking asylum.  It said the number of people forcibly displaced at the end of 2014 had risen to a staggering 59.5 million compared to 51.2 million a year earlier and 37.5 million a decade ago.

This year with barely six months of the year gone, the number has risen to a staggering 65.3 million.   In the first three months of this year European records show that refugees or migrants as they are now being termed were arriving at the rate of nearly one thousand a day according to Greek authorities.

Another 25,000 according to the ‘Independent’ reached the coast of Italy.   During the past two years the numbers of refugees rose astronomically with desperate people attempting to flee ongoing atrocities which were part and parcel of illegal wars and interventions carried out by the US and NATO countries from Afghanistan, to Iraq, to Syria and Libya caused untold destruction and led to thousands of innocent civilians being killed.

US and NATO interventions were carried out in the Middle Eastern countries based on blatant falsehoods — such as humanitarian missions, search for weapons of mass destruction and saving lives.  In reality the aim of the West was regime change and control of vast mineral and petroleum resources of these countries.

The intervention and war in Iraq caused an estimated 654,965 or more deaths. The intervention in Libya was supposed to be about saving lives and protecting civilians from Colonel Gaddafi’s regime. Instead it quickly became a catastrophe.

The death toll when NATO intervened in Libya was between 1,000-2,000 (UN estimates), eight months later it was estimated that the numbers of dead from the Libyan intervention ranged from 10,000 to 50,000.

US drone strikes have had devastating effets on many communities in Pakistan, Yemen and Afghanistan. In Pakistan alone, The Bureau of Investigative Journalism (TBIJ) reports that from June 2004 through mid-September 2012 data indicates, that drone strikes killed 2,562 – 3,325 people in Pakistan, of whom 474 – 881 were civilians, including 176 children. TBIJ reports that these strikes also injured an additional 1,228-1,362 individuals.

The interventions by the US and NATO, the stationing of foreign troops and the imposing of pro-west puppet regimes led to the rise of militant groups Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State (IS), who fought not only against the interventionist forces but unleashed terror and mayhem on the populations of these countries which in turn have led to the mass exodus we are witnessing today    Sadly large sections of the media portray the refugees who are now flooding into Europe simply as persons seeking a more comfortable life in the West and/or possible IS agents of terror entering Europe with the aim of carrying out terrorist attacks.  None in the west accepts blame for creating the conditions which have led to this pitiful mass exodus of humanity from countries ranging from Afghanistan, to Iraq, to Libya and Syria.

Forgotten are hundreds who are still dying en route — drowning in the middle of the Mediterranean or the open waters of the Aegean — the victims of these seas. Unashamedly these self-same Western countries demand that neighbouring Middle East countries take in more of the refugees attempting to enter Europe. They call on Turkey — one of the front-line countries facing the refugee influx — play a more active role in halting the incoming refugees intent on making their way to Europe.

Whereas in fact the top refugee hosting countries according to the UNHCR Statistical Yearbook are as follows:  Turkey became the largest refugee-hosting country worldwide, with 1.59 million refugees. Turkey was followed by Pakistan (1.51 million), Lebanon (1.15 million), the Islamic Republic of Iran (982,000), Ethiopia (659,500) and Jordan (654,100).

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