The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) the following: Arab Press Reacts To Syrian Refugee Crisis: Condemnation Of Arab Indifference, Calls For Internal Reform, Alongside Criticism Of West, U.S.
The crisis of the Syrian refugees currently streaming into Europe, which has been seared into the global consciousness by the image of the toddler Aylan Kurdi who drowned as his family attempted to cross the Mediterranean, has evoked many responses in the Arab press. Many of the articles addressing this matter criticized the Arab states, claiming that they were partly responsible for the crisis by failing to provide Syrian refugees in their territory with adequate conditions, and called upon them to take in more refugees and to direct more resources towards caring for them and integrating them. Criticism was also leveled at the wealthy Gulf states for not forming a strategy to address the crisis, despite possessing the financial resources to do so. Most of these articles contrasted the hospitality and tolerance encountered by the refugees in Europe with the apathy of the Arab countries towards their plight. They scathingly accused the Arab nation of callousness and lack of human sentiment, pointing at education as the main cause for this attitude. One article called for extensive reforms and for a domestic "velvet revolution" to change the norms and outlook of Arab society.
Conversely, other Articles blamed the West, chiefly the U.S., for creating the refugee crisis through its "failed", "wretched" and "dangerous" policy towards the Middle East. They held the West responsible for "abandoning" Arab countries, such as Syria and Libya, and remaining silent in the face of the daily massacre of their peoples. They argued that the only solution for the conflicts and crises in the Middle East is to remove "murderous regimes", such as the Assad regime and its Iranian patrons, yet the U.S., the E.U. and Russia not only object to this but actually support and strengthen these regimes.
The following are excerpts from some of the articles, as well as some cartoons published in the Arab press regarding the refugee crisis.
Self-Criticism: Why Can't The Arabs And Muslims Be As Humane As The West?; Internal Reform Is Needed
Article In Qatari Daily: Arab, Islamic States Partly Responsible For Crisis, Should Take In Refugees
'Ali Al-Rashid, a columnist for the Qatari Al-Sharq, wrote: "The Arab and Islamic states, their governments and peoples, bear no small share of the responsibility for the situation of the Syrians and for their ongoing exodus to Europe… because this ongoing and growing stream of refugees that is flowing into Europe, especially in recent months, has several underlying causes. Perhaps the most important of these [causes] is the restrictions that have been placed on Syrian refugees in most of the countries bordering Syria where they have been compelled to stay, whether [restrictions] on [finding] employment with reasonable pay that would meet the basic needs of sustenance, or in providing education for their children and health services for their families. In these countries they are also subjected to constraints on their freedom of movement…
"The Arab countries – governments, peoples, NGOs and charities – have a duty towards their Syrian brethren that arises from ties of brotherhood and from moral [obligations], [namely] to view the Syrian tragedy in a different light... [Both] official and popular elements must provide material and moral support, on a scale befitting the magnitude of the disaster. For example, refugees who have specialized [skills] and scientific and professional qualifications must be permitted to find employment in the Arab states that require workers in the fields of medicine, engineering, education, commerce, etc., and should even be given first priority [in employment]... [The countries must also] increase governmental and nongovernmental budgets for the Syrian refugees... find sources of income for the refugee families… train and develop human resources, provide schools and scholarships to universities and vocational schools, improve conditions in the camps, remove the restrictions to which the refugees are [currently] subjected, for instance in Lebanon, and provide financial assistance to the international and regional humanitarian organizations and the Arab charitable associations.
Qatari Daily: The Silence Of The Wealthy Gulf States In The Face Of The Refugee Crisis Is Deafening
The English-language Qatari Daily Gulf Times criticized the wealthy Gulf states : "Thousands of Austrians held welcome placards outside a Vienna railway station a couple of days ago saying they would be happy to see the refugees settled among them. In a small German town, people have opened their houses to the Syrians... Europe’s biggest economy this year expects a record 800,000 asylum applications, more than any other EU country. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has emerged as the go-to person for virtually any calamity hitting Europe, has been named 'Mama Merkel' by the migrants… Tragically, the cash-rich Gulf countries have not yet issued a collective statement on the crisis – much less come up with a strategy to help the migrants who are overwhelmingly Muslim. Turkey has taken in more than 2.5mn Syrian refugees, while not-so-well-off Lebanon is also hosting hundreds of thousands. In this part of the world [i.e., the Gulf], however, the silence is deafening.
Saudi Journalist: We Are A Nauseating Nation Whose Sense of Humanity Has Become Dull
Saudi journalist 'Ali Sa'd Al-Moussa in his column for the government Saudi daily Al-Watan leveled scathing criticism at the Arab and Muslim nation: "Let us analyze things as clearly and transparently as possible. After the criminal terror attacks on the Twin Towers in New York, on the train [system] in Madrid, and on the London Underground, it took a long time for some [Muslim] religious institutions to issue confused and sheepish condemnations of these crimes. [And] let me state clearly and honestly: were it not for the pressure exerted by the political [echelon], the religious [establishment] would not have issued [even] these condemnations. Conversely, [only] hours after the tragic incident in Hungary in which 70 immigrants were killed in a truck, the Pope appeared and said: 'This is a crime against morality that contravenes the human values of compassion, tolerance and coexistence, and Europe must apologize and feel shame over this disaster...'
"Without a moment of hesitation, let me say... that we are a primitive nation that has lost its sense of humanity. Consider the following image: Syrian immigrants flee their land in order to save the lives of their children from the mass killings perpetrated by ISIS, [Jabhat] Al-Nusra, Liwa Al-Tawhid, Jabhat Al-Sham, and Hizbullah. We are a nauseating nation that kills people for their opinions or affiliation. Compare [this] to the parallel image: in the central train station in Munich, dozens of German citizens gather to welcome the first train arriving from Budapest
carrying hundreds of immigrants..."