Syrias Civil War and the Refugee Crisis Essay

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While so many concerned world leaders, politicians, and social services professionals have bemoaned the physical and materials consequences of the Syrian Civil War on displaced persons, there is an even greater issue at stake. This issue has largely been ignored by experts. This issue is the existential crises afflicting so many displaced people: the loss of identity. The bulk of this presentation explores the idea that if one’s present is suddenly put into a state of upheaval (as though the rug has been pulled out from under one) it can shift how solidly and lucidly one views one’s own identity. Such a state is exacerbated even further when this occurs and the future is also in limbo: it can heighten the sense of a shattered identity. Hence, this presentation will explore how these impacts of a dissociated or disintegrated identity are manifesting with Syrian refugees.

The need for immediate survival experienced by so many Syrian refugees is something that can only exacerbate the sense of a shattered identity and a sense of distance when it comes to considering the self. Life just becomes about food, shelter, safety, sleep. This creates a situation where the goals, interests, habits, and life’s work of an individual are put out of their grasp—indefinitely. It can make people readily feel like “they’re not themselves anymore.” When people’s dreams and goals are disrupted, it can make them wonder why they even bother going on anymore. It’s important to acknowledge in such cases, when the self is disrupted, this only heightens the instability experienced by the individual.

Displacement is a situation that does little to alleviate the experience of a waning sense of self. When a Syrian refuge receives asylum in a foreign country, often that means that things like food and shelter are covered. So many people assume that the bulk of the issues that the refuge had been experiencing are now gone, when in reality many new issues and problems are manifesting. Foreign countries can increase the sense of isolation, loneliness and a waning sense of self in a rather acute manner. This is in part because of the foreign culture and customs. However, many of the nations that have taken in Syrian refugees are often inhospitable to those who practice Islam. Islamophobia is something that is pervasive around the world and that contributes to the refugees inability to adapt, and a pervasive feeling of a vanishing identity.

Islamophobia is nothing to underestimate and it acts as a real obstacle in the ability of refugees to both heal and to process the reality of their situations. Given that so many countries all over the world are intimidated by Islam or have hostile reactions to Muslims, refugees from Syria are in a position where they can’t forge or rekindle a healthy sense of self or identity.

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Islam is a part of their identity and this is something that is looked down on in scorn or fear. Many of the natives of these asylum-granting nations are quite comfortable with “othering” these refugees as simple quixotic non-entities who practice a religion that they find baffling. Even when people aren’t being openly hostile to Syrian refugees, there’s a marked lack of respect or acceptance for Islam that can make existence in these foreign nations unbearable.

Russia’s policy and reaction to the Syrian Civil War has created circumstances of enhanced instability and an even more unstable self among Syrian immigrants. This is largely because of the fact that Russia had long positioned itself as a friend to the Syrian people—wooing them to Russia to work in textiles, and seeking to make these offers as attractive to Syrians has possible. However, once the Syrian Civil War happened, all of that abruptly stopped. Thus, a country that had presented itself as one that Syrians could count on, and that was perhaps an ally, soon became useless to the refugees who needed it the most. This put many Syrians in Russia in a situation where they were seen as undocumented and in limbo. This can only do damage to the human psyche: it creates a thought process where the individual believes that nothing is stable and nothing can be counted on. Such thoughts make the present and future seem very unstable, something that creates a very precarious sense of self.

The United States has long presented itself as a nation that can take care of a host of conflicts overseas. Historically, it has achieved this through the pressure it can exert diplomatically and through the presence and actions of the military. With America bombing the Islamic state in Syria for months now, and no results being reaped whatsoever, a sense of hopelessness has encroached over many Syrian refugees. If America can’t solve this problem, then who can? America’s failure to make any progress brings up a host of questions—can anyone effectively help the conflict? Will it be like this forever? Can Syrian refugees ever return to Syria? With America’s failure, the future seems even bleaker and more nebulous. These elements can’t help but influence a sense of the waning self.

As already discussed, many Syrian immigrants have felt the pains of Islamophobia in many places that they have gone to in the world. They are ignored and othered, or they experience outright hostility and persecution. To make matters worse, many of these people are being denied citizenship and residency.….....

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