Lana Abi Rached, Lebanon – France
One of the biggest challenges of this volunteering, being Lebanese, was facing my family and my family’s friends. Facing the constant criticism, “why don’t you help Lebanese, they need help as well”, “if you help them they will stay here and steal our land”, “why do you even bother with them?”.
I am tired of justifying myself. I am tired of explaining basic humanity to so many people, which most often I hold dearly in my heart. Humans are humans, whether they’re Syrian, Lebanese or from anywhere. Lebanese have forgotten how close our cultures and histories are. Under the long reign of the ottomans in the Middle East, Lebanon and Syria were the same country. We shared a national bank and currency during the French mandate. We eat the same food, drink the same coffee and speak the same language. Both countries have very warm and welcoming people who love living.
However, I understand that my country is struggling in this situation. Our population is now made of 40% Syrians. Lebanon has, by far, the highest number of refugees per capita in the world. The traffic is insane, people are losing their jobs, and the economy is unstable. Our government can barely satisfy the needs of its own civilians. How can we expect it to also support a massive number of refugees? We have limited resources that are originally very badly handled.
We have a problem and are struggling so much. The bigger problem is, that Syrians also are struggling so much. Our goal needs to be finding solutions rather than creating new conflicts. We have a problem, Syrians have a problem, so let’s help each other find the right solution. Maybe call for help, cultivate acceptance and promote cooperation.
Jusoor is doing a great job in educating the future generation of Syrian refugees. In my opinion, education is the key to so many societal problems. With a good education, those kids can pull themselves out of camps, work as they will and built a better society. Keeping those kids in the dark and oppressing their community will in no way help Syria nor Lebanon. In the end, if Syrians get back on their feet, have a good education and high prospects it will help Syria and Lebanon.
We should think on the long run, rather than on the short term, think globally not locally and most importantly, we should not forget our humanity.