Bill Maher, the host of Real Time on HBO, a man who never fears giving his viewpoint on almost any subject, has an opinion on how to solve the Syrian refugee crisis, whether you like it or not.
“I don’t know why we don’t create some sort of system where we could train [Syrian refugees] to then go back to their own country and then fight for that country. Doesn’t somebody have to stay in the Middle East and make the Middle East a better place to live?”
Well, Bill Maher makes a good point there. When you see people streaming out of Syria in numbers not seen since WWII, one can’t help but wonder who is left in Syria to rebuild the country or fight?
The discussion about this topic, which was part of the show’s Overtime segment from Friday, which runs on-line after the show ends on HBO, begins at the 5:33 mark.
And, there appears to be no shortage of refugees who could be in a position to fight. International Business Times reports that, of the total number of refugees flooding into the Europe, 23 percent are Syrian and a whopping 75 percent are male, while only 12 percent are women and 13 percent children. This raises some interesting questions. For example, where ARE the women, children and elderly who are the absolute most vulnerable in this situation? And, as Bill Maher points out, how many of these men could be helping to fight for their country as opposed to going to Europe?
Of course, it isn’t quite as simple as saying “These men should be fighting for their country!!” as Jillian Kay Melchior of National Review explained to Bill Maher, as quoted by Real Clear Politics.
“I talked to one Syrian guy, a young guy, and he was basically saying he feels pinched in the middle. He doesn’t support Assad — he’s going to get cracked down on that. He doesn’t like the Islamic State, either. He doesn’t have weapons. He doesn’t have anything to fight with. What’s he going to do?”
But, what are the Syrian refugees, particularly these young men, going to do in Europe? According to an article in the National Review by Melchior, she explains the reason many young men are among the refugees is that families decide to send the young men or fathers to make the journey, which is often referred to as perilous. The plan is that once the male refugees are granted legal status, they would be able to bring their families over.
This raises another concern. Roughly 1.5 million refugees are expected to flood into Europe by the end of the year. If 75 percent of those are men, and they are wanting to bring their families over, the number of people ultimately making the trip would explode. If the Syrian refugees flooding into Europe brought even just one extra person over, that would be 3 million refugees. Bill Maher may have an overly simplistic idea of how to solve the refugee crisis, but it is also fairly clear that this amount of refugees may be nearly impossible to deal with for Europe.
The bottom line is that some of the Syrian refugees will be disappointed and angry when their plans don’t come to fruition after risking their lives and spending a massive chunk of money to get to Europe. Refugees are flooding in with great hopes of a better life, of some kind of safe-haven Utopia where they can build a better life. Too often, this is an over glorified, unrealistic view of what Europe really is.
And what will these lead to? As it is, when it comes to radicalization of Muslims in Europe, common factors that contribute to the problem are poverty, a feeling of alienation, a sense that they are being let down or rejected by the state, a sense of injustice, etc. So, what happens when these young men don’t have their lofty dreams fulfilled? Will they turn to, shall we say, the dark side?
There have been problems with some of the male refugees already. There have been riots at borders, battles with police and right-wing groups, and fights within refugee camps. Authorities are frustrated because they have to be careful what ethnic and religious groups they put together in refugee centers to prevent strife. That isn’t to make the situation sound out of control or disastrous. But to say there are no problems among male refugees would be false as well.
Yes, Bill Maher puts up an oversimplified “solution” to help Syrian refugees, and it obviously isn’t the only approach to take. However, if some of these men coming in were to be offered money, weapons, and guidance in how to form a decent opposition group, and then were sent back, could that both help Syria and help alleviate the refugee crisis? Bill Maher has an opinion on the Syrian refugee crisis. How about you?
[Photo Christopher Polk/Getty Images]