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August 19th, 2008
Iraqi Exodus
Video: Syrian Ambassador on the Impact of Refugees

Bashar Ja’afari, the Syrian ambassador to the United Nations, describes how Iraqi refugees have changed life in Syria. The country has accepted the overwhelming majority of Iraqi refugees, with refugee estimates as high as 2 million. In this WIDE ANGLE web exclusive video, Ambassador Ja’afari explains the Syrian perspective, Syria’s relationship with the United States and the tightening visa restrictions at the Iraq-Syria border.

Sorry, this video is not available.

  • Vincent

    watching this story made me wonder why the riches of saude arabia’s oil rich country’s dont or cant do more for thier own people of thier own region of the world. Im not educated on the middle east and dont know all the implecation’s. but it seems to me that this is a humanitarian issue. They have the money to help.

  • Priscilla

    I agree with Vincent in the aspect of countries such as Saudi Arabia negating to help their “fellow men.” I think the average North American’s education on these topics is based on what we receive from the nightly news. I would like to say thank you for a forum that helps us to see and hear the situations from the mouths of the people really affected by what’s going on.

  • Vonnie

    My family lives in Deerfield, Michigan. There were many, many Iraqi exiles in their city… thousands and thousands… prior to the overthrow of Saddam.

    The reason why is the brutality of Saddam. Our government was aware of what they had suffered, why they were here and we were being appealed to for help. The exiles in Deerfield wanted to be with their families, to go home to Iraq.

    I’m sure you know this…. So why don’t you cover this historical aspect of Iraq?

    While I believe that there are those who are suffering, I feel there was a real “spin” to the presentation that really didn’t paint the total and accurate picture.

    Iraqi’s had serious problems before the overthrow of Saddam. Infrastructure, employment, education, danger of attack and retribution from Saddam…. all occurring prior. Why no mention of this?

    There are terrible issues from the overthrow of Saddam and the arrival of the USA and coalition forces. But not unique when a new nation is emerging after decades of oppression.

    Is there any possibility that this will, in the long run, provide for a better Iraq?

    I think so…. based on the exiles that were here in the USA prior. Based on the sanctions Saddam ignored. Based on the hundreds of thousands he killed and tortured.

    I think if my country were liberated and there were terrorists fighters living in my country (still… after an overthrow) I would work with the emancipators and try to make my country a success, even at risk to myself.

    Nothing different than we fought to free ourselves in the early days of the USA… and it didn’t happen in a day… a week… a month… a decade…. a century. It was a long, hard struggle.

    There is no way to “microwave” a new nation. And it is simply stupid to expect that to happen.

    Furthermore, the USA is one of the largest financial contributors to the UN that makes available the funding that is being spent to help the refugees. Yet the implication clearly in your story was that America is not doing enough.

    It is the Democrats in Congress that vote against spending for Iraq. They don’t want to stay and stabilize the country, they want to pull out and leave. Right?

    This report had a decidedly “liberal, blame the USA” tone to it. And what confuses me most is the fact that the loudest criticism comes from my former political party, the Democrats.

    I thought we were against oppression, against torture, for liberation, for freedom. What has happened to my party? Does not the title of the party stand for “Democracy”? Isn’t that what the liberals should be for?

    Isn’t this insane that the Republicans are the liberators… and the Democrats are against it? I had to change party to continue the values I grew up believing in.

    Would you guys please make up your minds as to what it is you want? For Democracy or not? Defenders of those oppressed or not? Approve the spending to help rebuild Iraq and keep our troops safe while doing so… or not?

    I think George Soros should support his spin cable station himself. Why don’t we stop support for this and he can change the name from PBS to the MoveOnOrg Channel.

    Let’s see if this gets posted! I kept a copy… just in case it isn’t seen here… it will be elsewhere.

  • Mai

    I saw this documentary last night and it was absolutely compelling. I have to say I can definitely relate with Iraqi refugees. Why? I am a refugee, myself. I am Vietnamese and my family moved to the United States in 1995, thanks to a program called Humanitarian Operation. After 1975, hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese fled the communist-controlled country and many did so by boat. The majority of the time these boats would be hijacked at sea and thousands and thousands of Vietnamese women were raped by Thai pirates. Seeing this documentary brought some tears to my eye and I can definitely relate to Iraqi refugees on all levels. Iraqi refugees are not being treated with dignity and respect by Jordanian, Syrian governments. This was definitely the case for Vietnamese refugees, living in refugee camps in Thailand, Hong Kong. The Thai gov’t would not even acknowledge piracy and the Hong Kong gov’t would do whatever it could to send Vietnamese refugees back to Viet Nam. Coming to America was very tough as well because we faced so much discrimination and after awhile, the U.S. gov’t, began to reduce the number of Vietnamese refugees accepted.

    It really saddens me to see the same exact thing that Vietnamese refugees went through that Iraqi refugees are currently combating. There are still many, many Vietnamese who are struggling to this day in so various ways. My hope is that Iraqi refugees begin to receive the respect, dignity that they so deserve because Vietnamese refugees barely received any of it.

  • Julie

    Why shoud Saudia Arabia help, when it is the Americans who caused the problem. Why for oil and due to Bush’s crazy ideas – he equates all people from the middle east as terriorst.

  • mohammed

    All this is part of the truth the Iraqis are suffering in Syria and they live in very bad situation and they need all the help they can get from every body.
    Nobody respect the Iraqis while they deserve all the respect, because they have no guilt to be a refugee. It is not there fault it is ……………. Faults.

  • Vonnie

    If Julie and Mohammed were correct… that Bush is as crazy as they say…. he would have bombed Iraq off the face of the earth. All precaution was taken to leave Iraq in tact and it’s people safe while Saddam was removed. The destruction of Iraq has been as a result of those who wish Iraq to not succeed. Terrorists, thugs, oafs… call them what you wish.

    And those men are of the mindset that it is okey to kill your own wife and child. If a woman is raped, it is she who is punished. That women have no rights, cannot go to school. That training young people to be suicide bomber is a righteous life.

    Is this the liberal values? You guys are siding with these people…. they are the good guys to you? I’m confused as to your message.

    Bush did not destroy the country, he is staying to rebuild and stablize… and not as an occupier.

    The liberals first said, “Bush invaded Iraq for the oil”. Bush NEVER said we would get the Iraqi oil, he said it was theirs. Recently, I was on a liberal blog where they were complaining that we weren’t getting oil from Iraq… that they owe it to us… that Bush said we’d get it.

    In order to know what you are talking about, you have to listen to what Bush ACTUALLY says and not what the bloggers tell you to think.

    Have some more Kool-Aid.

  • john

    The overwelhming problem with this issue as well as others is the ignorance and indifference of people to one another. All it takes is common sense and converation. I dont beleive we can truly comment on what is best for another person let alone a whole people. We should help Iraqi refugees because they are people as we are.

  • RIZWAN

    MAJORITY MUSLIMS OF MIDDLE EAST HAVE LOST ITS WAY OF LIFE THEY HAVE LOST ISLAM THEY ARE THE SAME ARAB’S WHICH USE TO FIGHT BLOOD FOR BLOOD THEY LOST PEACE AND UNITY? ALL OTHER COUNTRY’S LIKE SIRYA ARE AXIS OF EVIL BY BUSH ECONOMIC SANCTIONS ETC DOES NOT HELP COUNTRY’S RICH COUNTRY’S LIKE SAUDI ARAB THIS IS THE BIGGEST RACISHT COUNTRY ON THE PLANET ARAB HATE ITS OWN BROTHER SO YOU THINK THEY WILL HELP THEM MUSLIM WHO SUFFER IN IRAQ AFGANISTAN PALISTINE SAUDIS ARE JUST A JOKE FOR PEOPLE IN MUSLIM WORLD GREEDI SUDI ARABS

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