Syrian refugees – actually a lot more than two million.

Posted: September 11, 2013 in Political musings
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

syria refugee mapI am on record as often re-posting Emily Hauser’s columns from her excellent blog “In my head”.

She generally tackles issues of social justice, democracy, and the difference between right and wrong, and especially as regards Israel, from a Jewish perspective.

As, in Australia, we seem to be roiled up in an endless debate about immigration and what to do with the tens of thousands of refugees that we accommodate every year.

Tens of thousands sounds a lot, but it’s worth remembering that other countries, much poorer than ours, deal with millions of refugees.

And that these vast movements of people de-stabilise whole regions, and that none of us are immune from those impacts, especially the countries in the immediate proximity of conflict.

I warmly commend Emily’s comments to you. They bear deep consideration.

Syrian refugees – actually a lot more than two million.

Like the shirt? Buy the shirt. Change the world.

Like the shirt? Buy the shirt. Change the world.

And if you’re in Australia, you might like to purchase this t-shirt, to remind our new Dear Leader, Dear Reader, that we can afford to be a bit more generous with the world.

We can easily manage to up our refugee intake.

As one of the richest nations on the planet, we should.

Not to mention the fact that we are a nation of immigrants, and many of our finest Australians came here as refugees.

Not to mention that research shows that immigration is a net contributor to the Australian economy.

Immigration = economic growth. No, immigrants don’t “take” our jobs, fool. They make our jobs.

Buy the shirt, start the conversation with a friend.


  1. Peter Morley says:

    Yo Yolly! Love your blogs, but I’m afraid I can’t quite agree with you on this one mate! Yes, we’ve got a huge country, yes we’ve got plenty of room, and yes it feels good to say, ‘come on in’, we’ll look after you’, but…

    There are immigrants and immigrants, as you’ve no doubt noticed from the UK model. There are good immigrants-hard working and ready and willing to blend into the way of life of their new host country, and there are not so good immigrants who are the opposite. My fear, is that the wave of refugees wanting to come in now won’t be as willing to blend in with the rest of us as did the English, the Italians and the Greeks from previous decades. And they will bring their problems with them. Almost all European countries are now under threat of losing their long held national identities because of mass immigration, the problem multiplying itself because the immigrants are breeding faster than the locals. If that’s the case, then your kids and grandkids etc will have to live with the consequences of our decision..There’s no doubt that world will be a much different place in two or three more generations! However, you’re a well educated bloke so I suspect you may already know this…



    • Look, I understand your point, Pete, but you know what? Exactly the same comments were made about the Italians and Greeks! And don’t forget the Vietnamese, we wouldn’t be without them, now, would we?

      I think people are always anxious about cultures they are not really familiar with. I’ll be frank, I think the answer is not “restrict immigration”, I profoundly think it’s about “make sure we give immigrants the support they need to settle and become productive”. And that’s all about things like English skills, job training and re-training, access to affordable housing while they get established, and so on.

      And guess which programs get cut first? Yep, you guessed right.

      Britain’s problem was and is heavy immigration with inadequate thought about where those people are going to go and how they are going to live. The result is unemployment and ghettoisation, and we know the tensions that creates.


  2. As ever, Yolly, I think you are only portraying one side of the equation. Peter hits the nail on the head when he says ‘there are immigrants and there are immigrants’. In my experience from living in Southampton all day I have noticed one or two things that do not quite fit in with your rosy picture. There is an element of ‘culturism’ as opposed to ‘racism’ that causes the problem in my opinion. We endlessly read about how ‘we’ must adapt to help our new immigrants but I see little effort from many groups of immigrants to adapt. For example, in Somalia the men like nothing more than to sit under a tree all day and chew khat. Which is fine. But now we have an ever-expanding group of Somalis in Southampton that like nothing more than to sit under a tree all day and chew khat, without the slightest intention of taking English lessons and then learn useful skills. The only difference now is that the UK taxpayer is paying for their (i) housing, (ii) food and (iii) khat.

    On the other side of that coin is the Polish immigrants in Southampton (and I have read that Southampton has the largest group of Poles living outside of Poland – not sure how true that is but there are sure a lot of them). They have learned the language and worked. And worked hard and are an asset to anywhere they go.

    I would agree that it is a bigger culture change for somebody from Africa than from Europe but nevertheless the point stands; some cultures try to integrate whilst others don’t. My church in Southampton is very multi-cultural and I see a lot of people who come from Africa, South America and Asia who want to fit-in and work to do so. Sometimes they get knocked down but they get up again and keep going. They don’t opt out.

    Any group of immigrants needs to remember one thing when they emigrate – and that is that they have emigrated ‘to’ somewhere and not ‘from’ somewhere. It is down to them to assimilate and not the other way around. Once they do that then ‘yes’ but all means have mechanisms in place for them. But let’s cut out the free khat.


    • Well I figure, Richard, that the blog’s reason is for me to present one side of a case – often one that is not well presented in mainstream media – and then engender a debate in which all sides can express their point of view. Which correspondents like you and Peter always do, eloquently, so thank you!

      And so we all inch forward 🙂


  3. But if we ignore your politicizing (damn, look what the spell checker did to that last word – wretched ‘z’s everywhere over here) of the argument and the usual liberal/democrat jibe that any body who doesn’t agree is stupid/thick/a fool etc etc then you are right. Rather than poor the Battle Fleets into the Mediterranean the Western Countries needs to deal with what is happening in neighbouring countries such a Turkey. That is where resource needs to go. I can only imagine what you would be writing if Clegg wasn’t part of the UK Govt and your love child Obama wasn’t the man calling the shots in the White House.


    • Oh make up your mind – is Obama my love child or my Master? He really can’t be both.

      And as for Clegg, although you wouldn’t know it because you don’t follow tiny internal Liberal Democrat fora, I can’t stand the man.

      What is more, my recent blog about Obama’s civil rights record and the intention to bomb Syria was extremely critical. I notice you didn’t acknowledge that during your selective trolling of the blog 😉


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