This appeared in the New York Times today.
Words … I love words and phrases, maybe because I’m a songwriter. Absurdities are a personal favorite. Today I will always remember as the day of “permanent temporary solutions.”
The Dadaab refugee complex near the border of Somalia is the largest in the world. It is home to 345,000 people, nearly a third born in the camp, which has now been going almost a quarter of a century. Yet they still call it temporary.
After particularly brutal attacks in Kenya by the Somalia-based jihadist group the Shabab, the government’s first instinct was to shutter Dadaab. Instead they chose to ban permanent structures at this “temporary” home, which has a population larger than Pittsburgh’s. But it is fiction to think the people here are going anywhere soon.
The same goes for another gigantic Kenyan camp, Kakuma, home to nearly 200,000 refugees near the border with South Sudan. Together, Kakuma and Dadaab are painful symbols of the world’s halting and often confused efforts to cope with mass migrations caused by war and famine, particularly in Northern Africa and the Middle East.
Just over five years ago, some 10,000 people were forced from their homes every day. By 2015, that average had quadrupled. This is the worst crisis of forced displacement since World War II. Millions are moving their families across dangerous terrain and troubled waters to flee conflict.
Many of us are familiar with the Syrian refugee crisis. Not so many are acquainted with the crisis in South Sudan or Somalia. Yet five of the top 10 host nations for refugees are in sub-Saharan Africa. Six of the top 10 source nations of refugees are in sub-Saharan Africa. And guess what, for the first time, this African problem has become a European problem. The best border of Europe is no longer the Mediterranean, it is a safer Sahel, the band of countries south of the Sahara, and Levant, the countries of the eastern Mediterranean. If Africa fails, Europe cannot succeed.
Today, I met invisible people. People who don’t feel they exist. Some who don’t even have a memory of another home because they were born in this camp.
Continue reading. (Via Larry)