From the New York Times to Yahoo News to local media outlets, the millions of Syrians fleeing their homeland are typically referred to as ‘migrants’. The word migrant has a fairly neutral connotation and usually refers to voluntary immigrants who move to a new nation for work or education or family reasons. The key here is voluntary.
The people fleeing Syria aren’t doing so for any of the fairly tame reasons attributed to migrants. They are literally fleeing for their lives from the armies of President Assad, the terrorism of ISIS and the bombing attacks from the US and our allies. They are truly for all intents and purposes, refugees.
And refugees present a whole different picture in the minds of the rest of the world. It contains the awareness of terror, desperation and foreboding that is the lot of those fleeing Syria.
Why has the media across the board chosen migrants over refugees? It totally saps the emergency status from the situation and increases the risks and desperation involved for these displaced peoples.
diaspora: the movement, migration, or scattering of a people away from an established or ancestral homeland
migrant: a person who goes from one place to another especially to find work
refugee: someone who has been forced to leave a country because of war or for religious or political reasons
10 thoughts on “Media Downplays Urgency in the Syrian Diaspora via Migrants”
“But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’”
(Luke 10:29-35 ESV)
Amen, my neighbor!
“Master, which is the greatest commandment in the law?” Jesus said to him, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. And the second is like it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”
There has been nothing similar since the historic immigration from Europe to the United States beginning in 1600.
“Oh the humanity!”
Ed, I agree that the proper word should be refugee rather than migrant. I submit that the latter word is used to cover for the colossal failures of the Obama/Clinton foreign policy.
I submit that the latter word is used to cover for the colossal failures of the Bush/Cheney/Obama/Clinton foreign policy.
Because the media just love to cover for the Bush/Cheney administration, especially the New York Times.
“Foreign Occupation Leads to More Terror”
The laws are very different for refugees and migrants as well. This is a huge problem! As explained by Newsweek:
Unlike migrants, refugees—there were 19.4 million in 2014, according to UNHCR—also come under the protection of a number of international treaties, including the 1951 Refugee Convention and the 1975 OAU Convention on refugees in Africa. The 1951 Refugee Convention was originally intended for refugees in Europe fleeing from events related to World War II, but was amended in 1967 to remove geographical boundaries. It clearly states that “subject to specific exceptions, refugees should not be penalized for their illegal entry or stay” in safe countries and should not return to countries where they fear being persecuted or killed.
“Conflating refugees and migrants can have serious consequences for the lives and safety of refugees. Blurring the two terms takes attention away from the specific legal protections refugees require,” wrote Edwards. “It can undermine public support for refugees and the institution of asylum at a time when more refugees need such protection than ever before.”
My elected representatives will be getting an email (ASAP) addressing the terminology being used. I agree refugee status should be given and that will only happen (faster) if we all start calling them what they are. The use of the term “migrant” is deliberate and shameful.
Today is the anniversary of the United Nations. Gathered together in unison to “prevent World War Three.” and sustain peace in the world. The UN should declare Syria in violation of that treaty, surround the county and take it over. In doing so it should destroy Issis and depose Asad and restore peace to the world. The Syrians should remain in the land and rebuild their country. The refugees should be accepted in various nations and returned when The UN restores peace. In this chaos with everybody pointing fingers at everybody else, nothing will be resolved. Chaos will continue to reign. What if Americans had fled when Britain invaded the colonies?
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