by Akim Reinhardt
There's a new meme infecting the internet.
The Syrian refugee crisis is the worst refugee crisis since World War II.
It's all over the place. Just google the words “worst refugee crisis.” Don't even put “Syria” or “WWII” in the search bar. What follows is a string of mainstream media articles labeling the current Syrian refugee crisis as the worst since the big deuce. It has become conventional wisdom.
But is the flood of humanity currently vacating Syria really the worst refugee crisis of the last 70 years?
The United Nations High Commission on Refugees estimates that about 4,000,000 Syrian refugees have now left their homeland. Millions more are Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), people who have abandoned their homes but remain in Syria.
This is a formidable number, marking the Syrian exodus as certainly one of the worst refugee crises since World War II. And it may yet get worse. But is it actually the worst?
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By Maniza Naqvi
Beyla o Beyla—-My precious Beyla! O meri lal-Beyla!
Mubarak Beyla—Jiayanoon Beyla! See, didn’t I always say to you –Keep your courage—Keep your faith–So what if your man is no more? We are here for you—my lali Beyla. Don’t I always say to you we will take care of you–my woman and I are still here for the whole village—like the protective shade of a father, or a brother or a man—We are here. Now just see how we take care of you. I have brought renters for your barren land. Now you will rule like a queen precious Beyla!
I told them to wait until I had talked to you myself. They are waiting on the highway—in their jeep—they are shy and not sure if you will accept them as renters. But I can tell you they are good people. You have my word on that. They want to rent your land. They want to become farmers—you know how the city folk are—they like to have hobbies—you know how they like to hunt around here—shooting and eating those small birds! Now they want to farm! So let them! They are naive in the ways of farming—what do they know about barren land? They think they can farm it. So let them Beyla. I told them that I will talk to you first. I will call them after you agree. They want to be your tenants! Imagine that Beyla—now you will have tenants!
They will give you five thousand rupees per acre for that barren land that the government gave you. Imagine! Do you remember when that oil company came and put up the fences nearby? They said the land didn't belong to anyone, it wasn't in anyone's name. They had bought it from the Government. Remember? And all that time we thought the land was ours and belonged to the village and no one even asked us if we used that land for cattle grazing or anything. Just because it wasn't in our names, we had no right to it. Remember? But now, see you will get forty thousand rupees per year for this land which the Government has given you and it is in your name, this barren land. Let them take it Beyla. You will be able to buy all the grain you want for your oven and your children. And the goats you’ve always wanted. And listen, guess what else, these naïve people want—You will laugh at this—I did—but then I thought why not—they can do what they want—it’s their money—and if they want to give you the money in exchange for nothing then let them—listen to this Beyla–they want to be your renters for one hundred years. Can you imagine?
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