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A Massive Humanitarian Tragedy Stays Under the Radar
By Forrest Broman 24-Sep-15
There are currently nearly 60,000,000 refugees on the move today—more than at the height of World War II. Risking their lives and often losing them to escape extreme violence in Syria, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and many African nations, they rush towards Europe by any available means. Along the way, they are cheated, betrayed, and often led into death traps by organized criminals in many countries. Meanwhile, the Western nations they seek to reach have devised no plan or strategy for dealing with this tide of desperate people, leaving the decisions to be made on the ground in nations where political resistance to accepting immigrants is growing like a plague. In the USA, we are deluged with the news and antics of political candidates in an election to take place 14 months from now, or by the routine occurrence of gun deaths. Only Aljazeera keeps the refugee issue up front daily. Along their desperate journeys, more of these refugees are dying weekly than even ISIS and its friends can kill. But the gross negligence by all of us, and by all “civilized” nations in not coming to grips with this problem, is truly shocking. When millions of children wander about under-nourished, unwashed, and lacking any education, the world is cultivating future tragedies that no one will escape. UNICEF and other agencies, and countries such as Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey cannot cope with more refugees, who just keep coming. The magnitude of this tragedy seems to be lost on most nations and their peoples, and no coherent strategy is forthcoming from those in Europe who should take the lead in devising decisive action to cope with this phenomenon. International schools continue to thrive and provide quality educations to all who can afford them. Efforts have been made by schools in Amman and Beirut to provide educational resources to struggling educational programs serving the refugee children in those countries. But isn’t it time for a concerted effort—supported by international schools throughout the world, and especially in the Middle East and Europe—to intervene in some necessarily small but meaningful way to save the lives and the futures of some of the children now languishing in refugee camps? If just 100 international schools and supporting institutions pledged only US$1,000 per year toward such an effort, a new school program could be founded that could serve at least 100 children, otherwise doomed to ignorance, poverty, and possibly violent lives. We at TIE and the PTC (Principals’ Training Institute) are prepared to commit US$10,000 to such an effort, while we continue to support and govern our COHP program serving 60 impoverished children in Haiti. Will you and your school or agency join us in addressing this effort, and saving at least some of these destitute children? Please let us hear from you. [email protected]
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