Monday, October 12, 2015

Response To Syrian Refugee Crisis Now and Then

The refugee crisis as a result of the Syrian Civil War has been ongoing for four years. As wealthy countries dither and procrastinate about what to do about it the situation has grown worse. Refugees are hiking across the Balkans or paying to board leaky ships which sometimes sink before reaching Europe. Despite witnessing the suffering most countries are refusing to give more than symbolic help to Syrian refugees.

If we go back in history we can see a much different response to refugees in need. The American Committee for Relief in the Near East began in 1915 as the American Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief and was formed as a humanitarian response to the Armenian genocide and the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire. As World War I developed, the group began to offer food and shelter to displaced people in Syria, Persia (now Iran), and Greece.

Americans donated $117 million to the organization's Near East relief efforts between 1915 and 1930, in part because of a poster campaign. Here are some of the images that tugged at people's heartstrings:

W.B. King, artist. 1917.

Ethel Franklin Betts, artist. 1918 (?)

Douglas Volk, artist. 1918.
If you want to help today's refugees:
Charity Intelligence provides Canadian donors with information that helps them make informed and intelligent giving decisions.
Charity Watch rates US charities

More here

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