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Mr. Clooney, Would You Be Willing To Welcome Refugees In Your Home?

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Mr. Clooney, Would You Be Willing To Welcome Refugees In Your Home?

Post by melbert on Wed Feb 17 2016, 04:24

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Mr. Clooney, Would You Be Willing to Welcome Refugees into Your Home?

By Nayla Rush,  February 16, 2016          



Actor George Clooney's political and humanitarian activism is no secret. He has fought for numerous causes throughout the years, whether for Darfur, Haiti, or gay marriage.
His new commitment focuses on the ongoing crisis in the Middle East and the plight of millions of Syrian refugees. This past Friday, Clooney and wife Amal (a human rights lawyer and activist) met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel to discuss this very issue.

Clooney recounted his meeting in an exclusive interview with the French newspaper Le Figaro (my translation):
I met Angela Merkel in the presence of David Miliband, the president of IRC (International Rescue Committee), with whom I have been working for years. My wife and I wanted to meet with Chancellor Merkel because Germany plays a determining role in the refugee crisis, with a great sense of responsibility. Other countries are far behind, including mine, the United States. We only welcome 10,000 refugees per year; this is a shame. Our aid is insufficient.

When asked by the French journalist "Would you be willing to welcome refugees into your home?", Clooney replied:
Amal and I discussed it. It happens that no refugee can set foot in the United States, but we would be ready to do it. I spend two or three days a week trying to raise funds for Syrian refugees, this counts more than anything in my life, actually. I understand your suggestion but I have the impression I am dedicating a lot of energy and time to this cause. Simply because I am lucky. I am not a politician but one thing I can do is attract attention. (Emphasis added)
Is Mr. Clooney misinformed? Syrian refugees not only can and have come to the United States recently, the U.S. government has made arrangements for 10,000 more to arrive in FY 2016 (as he himself pointed out in the interview).

In any case, Mr. Clooney makes a valid point even if he is not quite up front about it. His message seems to be the following: he is deeply touched by this humanitarian crisis, and he wants to help but does not necessarily want his life disrupted. His answer is to raise funds in order to ease the plight of these refugees while keeping his own door closed. Who can blame him for that?

Actually, isn't that what many Americans are advocating as well? They, too, want to help these refugees abroad and have not questioned the U.S. humanitarian aid to the Syrian crisis: $4.5 billion already spent and another $900 million pledged. They just want, like Clooney, their homes (and neighborhoods and country) protected.

Except that Clooney is hailed a humanitarian hero, while they are booed as racists.

---------
No refugee can set foot in the US?  Since when???

I spend 2 or 3 days a week trying to raise funds...    Since when???

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Re: Mr. Clooney, Would You Be Willing To Welcome Refugees In Your Home?

Post by Donnamarie on Wed Feb 17 2016, 05:04

No refugees are allowed in the United States until they are vetted.  The process can take up to two years.  There are a small number (a few thousand) of refugees in our country currently who have been processed over a one and a half to two year period.  It's an arduous process.

And yes the President did announce that 10,000 refugees would be accepted in 2016.  Except ....  Now the Congress wants to put a hold on the refugee program until it is determined that our vetting process is as thorough as it claims to be.  So no refugees are being allowed in. (Knee-jerk reaction after the San Bernadino, California terror attack a few months ago)

Is this article translated?  Curious. The quote from George where he says no refugee can set foot in the U.S. is true but oddly put.  But he is right.

The article is inaccurate. And the writer obviously has a cynical point of view.

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Re: Mr. Clooney, Would You Be Willing To Welcome Refugees In Your Home?

Post by carolhathaway on Wed Feb 17 2016, 08:30

There are many ways to help at this crisis as an individual:
- collecting clothes, toys, food and other things people need who lost everything
- helping individually by supporting refugees and also administrations - that's what my husband does
- welcoming refugees at your home - I know people who do that as well
- using your influence to shine a light on this issue, supporting those who help and critizising others who don't.

And George is very good in doing the last thing. He has some influence and gets a lot of attention. He knows people with a lot of influence and power and has some power himself. He knows that he can't change a country's politics but xenophobie doesn't help at all. He isn't aware to use his influence to talk about it. He knows that Angela Merkel has a really hard time - in the EU, in Germany and also within her own government. So he tries to give her encouragement and puts Germany's efforts out to help.

Of course he could welcome some refugees at his home - certainly not in L.A. because the US don't allow refugees to get there at the Moment. I don't know about Mexico (if George still owes the house in Cabo. Como could be possible, also Sonning. But when you've got someone staying at your house (I would call him a 'guest') you would want to look after him, help him and spend time with him. And George and Amal have a very busy life, spend lot of time in different places all around the world. Of course they have staff everywhere, but I don't know if a refugee would feel really welcome to spend time with stuff and maybe see him or Amal once a week for five minutes. And you really have to trust these guests for not selling pictures or stories to magazines...

So I think that's the best George can do: talk about it, persuade governments to help and shine a light on the whole issue.

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Re: Mr. Clooney, Would You Be Willing To Welcome Refugees In Your Home?

Post by Katiedot on Wed Feb 17 2016, 09:14

Aah, the politics of envy. The author is pissed off that pretty boy George Clooney has done so well for himself, living in big houses around the world and having the nice life that the author wants but can't have. No one is asking poor or middle class americans to accommodate refugees in their home; why ask it of George?

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Re: Mr. Clooney, Would You Be Willing To Welcome Refugees In Your Home?

Post by carolhathaway on Wed Feb 17 2016, 10:11

Katiedot wrote:Aah, the politics of envy.  The author is pissed off that pretty boy George Clooney has done so well for himself, living in big houses around the world and having the nice life that the author wants but can't have.  No one is asking poor or middle class americans to accommodate refugees in their home; why ask it of George?  

Because he spoke out FOR refugees and AGAINST the US politics, critizised them.
Would the poor or middle class americans accommodate refugees?
Noone asked people in Germany to do so, they just did it.

Last summer my husband who's working for a local administration nearby met a Young Syrian when he left the city hall late Friday afternoon. The man told him that he'd heard that the mayor would like to welcome Syrians because in our area there's a Population decrease, and the Population is overaging as well. So he went there. My husband would have loved him to meet the mayor but he was on holidays. So he called a lady who's involved in helping foreigners in this town for years and asked her for help (at that time there was no plan if a refugee would turn up on a weekend, now there are plans). This lady turned up and took him to her house during the weekend. A few weeks later she called to say that she and her family got on so well with this Young Syrian that they decided to let him stay at their house. They had already arranged for him to learn German, and since he's an engineer they arranged for him a talk at the local technical university. They were already looking for someone with his certain qualification and offered him a job whenever his German was good enough and he was allowed to work.

This for sure is not an example for everyone but it might work...

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Re: Mr. Clooney, Would You Be Willing To Welcome Refugees In Your Home?

Post by LizzyNY on Wed Feb 17 2016, 14:00

I can't defend my country's policy regarding Syrian refugees. We could and should do more. But please understand that even though we aren't taking in many people from this wave of refugees we are (and have been) taking in people from all over the world. It's how this country was built.

 In the last 20 years my neighborhood alone has gone from mostly native born Americans to Russian and Eastern European, Pakistani, Afghan, Haitian and Mexican, not to mention Puerto Rican.

One grocery store around the corner is owned by a man from Yemen. His employees come from Egypt and Colombia. The liquor store is owned by Koreans. Two other groceries are owned by an Israeli and an Indian, respectively. A Chinese family runs a restaurant on one street, a Bangladeshi man opened his restaurant around the corner and there is a Russian bakery next door.

We are a melting pot. We offer new arrivals as much help as we can, but it is difficult for many people here to accept when they are themselves fighting to keep their heads above water, with little or no help available. We have way too many people here who have fallen through the cracks - unemployed, homeless - who need to be cared for, too.

I think most people here want to help the Syrian refugees, but until our government moves on the problem they don't know how, other than by donating money - and many of them don't have any money to spare.

I don't have any answers. I think, if asked, there are many people here who would welcome the refugees into their communities - even into their homes - but that option isn't really open to most of us now.

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Re: Mr. Clooney, Would You Be Willing To Welcome Refugees In Your Home?

Post by carolhathaway on Wed Feb 17 2016, 14:40

Lizzy,
I hope I didn't offend you regarding taking Syrian refugees. I know that the US are a - as you described it - melting pot. The US were built by immigrants. Other countries with a history of colonies like the UK or the Netherlands are used to immigrants from their former territories and have to deal with the problems caused by this (I remember that my grand parents had friends in the Netherlands, and in the 1970s they had problems with immigrants from Indonesia).

Germany isn't that much used to immigrants (and, in fact, never handled it very well). We had some territories, most of them in Africa but, they didn't have a long history since Germany didn't conquer them but bought them af the end of the 19th century and lost them after WW I. So after WW II several millions of Germans came to the Germany that was left because we lost a lot of territories mostly to Poland. I remember my mother talked about hosting refugees on their farm, one family in every room, one shared kitchen and one shared bathroom. It must have been hell.

In the 1960s the first guest workers came from Italy and Spain, later they came from Greece and Turkey as well. They were planned to stimulate the economy and leave after a few years. So they lived together in homes, worked together in factories and didn't learn any German because they weren't supposed to stay - about 2 million stayed. 

In the 1980s people with German roots who lived in the former USSR came to Germany. Most of them were from Russia, Kazakhstan and the Ukraine. They had started to come to Germany in the 1950s but during the Cold War it was difficult. I just checked, there were around 4.5 million people who came here. 

After the reunification of Germany two countries had to merge which had developed very differently for 40 years.

So it always amuses me when people are afraid we could loose our cultural identity because there are one million refugees...

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Re: Mr. Clooney, Would You Be Willing To Welcome Refugees In Your Home?

Post by Katiedot on Wed Feb 17 2016, 14:54

LizzyNY wrote:We offer new arrivals as much help as we can, but it is difficult for many people here to accept when they are themselves fighting to keep their heads above water, with little or no help available. We have way too many people here who have fallen through the cracks - unemployed, homeless - who need to be cared for, too.
 Yes, that is the exact same problem facing EVERY country right now.  It's not as though the European countries, especially poor old Greece and the old eastern bloc countries who are bearing the brunt of it, have huge amounts of money and empty land either.  We ALL have homeless and desperately poor people in our countries who need our help too.  Taking on refugees isn't easy and yet it can be done: Germany has shown that.  [ok, it's been far from brilliant, but I don't see any way that taking in a million people practically overnight is ever going to work out perfectly; just think of the hassle we all go through when family or friends come to stay for christmas and this is our own family!]

Why Europeans have little patience for american policians claiming that there isn't room in the US for refugees is because we know it's bullshit. You have dying cities (Detroit alone has around 10,000 empty homes) caused by people moving to other, more preferred places in the US and the country is huge.   Germany is smaller than the state of California and has taken in over 1 million refugees.  Greece is the size of Utah and gets around 1,000 refugees arriving every day.  The UK is about the size of Colarado and has taken in a measly 115,000 refugees - but that's still more than the 85,000 that the US is thinking of taking in this year (which includes the 10,000 Syrians) source - WSF.  

I just wish our politicians would be honest and admit that they just don't want to take in foreigners because it's a vote-loser: these foreigners are different from us, they're the wrong colour, the wrong religion and we just don't like them and don't want them here.  I wouldn't agree with it or respect it, but I would appreciate the honesty. But no.  In the UK our (right wing) government has come up with a whole bunch of plausible reasons why they shouldn't take in huge numbers of refugees.  All of which are correct: we don't have room for them; we can't afford to look after them; there are still so many Brits who are homeless, unemployed and needing government assistance; our social services can't cope with the extra people and so on and so on.  All true for the UK as it's true for all other countries.  

So instead, even poorer countries with even fewer facilities are being burdened with the refuguees.  I pity poor Lebanon and Jordan who have about a million each from Syria.  This is on top of the existing refugee camps (now more than 50 years old!) from displaced Palestinians.  

I don't have the answers either, but I don't believe my government when they say they don't have the money or wherewithal to help.  If Lebanon can do it, how on earth is it possible that we can't??

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Re: Mr. Clooney, Would You Be Willing To Welcome Refugees In Your Home?

Post by party animal - not! on Wed Feb 17 2016, 15:39

Well now, here's a comment that could bring a completely different aspect to all of this.......

There is a theory that one Valdimir Putin is quietly enjoying seeing all this chaos in Europe, because he perceives that the longer it goes on, the weaker Europe becomes.......

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Re: Mr. Clooney, Would You Be Willing To Welcome Refugees In Your Home?

Post by Katiedot on Wed Feb 17 2016, 16:01

It's certainly a theory.

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Re: Mr. Clooney, Would You Be Willing To Welcome Refugees In Your Home?

Post by party animal - not! on Wed Feb 17 2016, 16:11

Katie, Lebanon and Jordan are just about managing it, but only with massive financial help from the UK.......a billion to be precise.

Oh, and the US over three billion......

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Re: Mr. Clooney, Would You Be Willing To Welcome Refugees In Your Home?

Post by LizzyNY on Wed Feb 17 2016, 17:27

Katiedot wrote:
LizzyNY wrote:We offer new arrivals as much help as we can, but it is difficult for many people here to accept when they are themselves fighting to keep their heads above water, with little or no help available. We have way too many people here who have fallen through the cracks - unemployed, homeless - who need to be cared for, too.
 

Yes, that is the exact same problem facing EVERY country right now.  It's not as though the European countries, especially poor old Greece and the old eastern bloc countries who are bearing the brunt of it, have huge amounts of money and empty land either.  We ALL have homeless and desperately poor people in our countries who need our help too.  Taking on refugees isn't easy and yet it can be done: Germany has shown that.  

Katie -(1) I'm well aware of the fact that we are not unique in our situation and I have tremendous respect and sympathy for the countries that are bearing the brunt of the refugee crisis. Until our government makes it easier for refugees to enter the country - or at least speeds up the process - there isn't much individuals can do outside of putting pressure on our elected officials (which they are mostly ignoring) and donating money to organisations that are helping.

Why Europeans have little patience for american policians claiming that there isn't room in the US for refugees is because we know it's bullshit. You have dying cities (Detroit alone has around 10,000 empty homes) caused by people moving to other, more preferred places in the US and the country is huge.

     (2) This argument is a non-starter. A. Detroit is a "dying city" because it was predominantly a one-industry town. When that industry left, so did the jobs. If you can't make a living, you can't pay your bills and the problem spreads to the people who depended on you to support their businesses. Pretty soon everybody is broke.

      People left because they had no way to stay. If you're suggesting that we place refugee families in dilapidated abandoned homes in a city where there is little chance of them making a living and where services are limited, at best, you're doing them a disservice.

     B. Yes, the US is big - but the parts of it that aren't crammed cheek-to-jowl with people are empty for a reason. They're either farmland, national parks, or uninhabitable. I don't think setting up a refugee camp in the Mojave Desert is really helpful.


I don't have the answers either, but I don't believe my government when they say they don't have the money or wherewithal to help.  If Lebanon can do it, how on earth is it possible that we can't??

      As PAN said, some of the countries like Lebanon are able to do what they're doing with financial aid from the UK and US. I agree our countries could and should do more at home, but I don't know if the US will make any policy changes before the election in November. (BTW, there's not a politician I trust as far as I could throw an elephant.) For now, I guess we'll have to do what we can as individuals.

Carolhathaway - No offense taken. flower



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Re: Mr. Clooney, Would You Be Willing To Welcome Refugees In Your Home?

Post by Katiedot on Wed Feb 17 2016, 19:56

I hear what you're saying Lizzy and totally understand.  I'm sorry if it read like I was having a go at you.  I'm just very frustrated at our own politicians' lack of action and that was what was coming out in my post.

The only thing I would disagree with is this statement "If you're suggesting that we place refugee families in dilapidated abandoned homes in a city where there is little chance of them making a living and where services are limited, at best, you're doing them a disservice."  The reason I disagree is because these refugees don't even have a home or chance of making a living where they are.  A dilapidated home is a step up from a bombed out home where they're being shot at either by the government, by the opposition or by a crazed religious cult.  Or a tiny tent in the middle of a desert, waiting for the crazed religious cult to come and find them.

I'm not too worried about them making a living as I assume most probably won't: they're refugees.  No country has jobs for such a huge and sudden influx of refugees. German unemployment stands at around 4.7% and there's no way there'll be a million new jobs for the refugees they've taken on and I don't think anyone expects that to happen.

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Re: Mr. Clooney, Would You Be Willing To Welcome Refugees In Your Home?

Post by LizzyNY on Wed Feb 17 2016, 20:59

Katie - No problem. This issue has all of us doing a lot of soul searching. There are so many different factors involved, so many fears and prejudices coming to the surface - things we thought were dead and buried. In our country this has all been magnified by the election process and the realization that our government is barely functioning and all our politicians are idiots! I still believe there are a lot of good people in the world who will help if they can - they just need to be given a chance.

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Re: Mr. Clooney, Would You Be Willing To Welcome Refugees In Your Home?

Post by Donnamarie on Wed Feb 17 2016, 21:49

"This issue has all of us doing a lot of soul searching." So true Lizzy. As it should. We should all feel responsible. But as you and I know here in the states the refugee issue is certainly not compelling enough.

But I do think our government works. But it screws up at times. So does big business. One is not any better than the other IMO. But so many politicians will not do their job. Many in Congress are barely worth even half the salaries they get paid. They barely work a three day week on Capitol Hill. But there are good ones in the bunch. But without a consensus no legislation is going to get passed. The damn Senate claims it won't even consider a nominee for the Supreme Court until we have a new President. The divisiveness is exasperating.

Responding to what PAN wrote about Putin one has to wonder the weak position he has put his own country in. Supposedly Russia is really hurting with the sanctions that have been imposed resulting from the invasion into the Ukraine. Oil prices have tanked which also impacts their economy. And now Putin has committed his military and other resources to the conflict in Syria.


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Re: Mr. Clooney, Would You Be Willing To Welcome Refugees In Your Home?

Post by it's me on Wed Feb 17 2016, 22:03

Dunno if the right place to post this video

But too  drool3 to not to...


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Re: Mr. Clooney, Would You Be Willing To Welcome Refugees In Your Home?

Post by party animal - not! on Wed Feb 17 2016, 22:51

Great, I M. Thank you.

Donnamarie........yep, undoubtedly Putin has many problems domestically, but there's nothing better than to concentrate on the rest of the world's problems to distract your population from their own problems.

Geopolitically, as far as he's concerned he's 'helping' the world against Daesh - and apparently anyone else opposed to Assad - whilst operating out of the Mediterranean, a warm water port which Russia's never been able to do ever before.........

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Re: Mr. Clooney, Would You Be Willing To Welcome Refugees In Your Home?

Post by kitbon on Tue Feb 23 2016, 17:53

I have seen George Clooney's remarks on Danish refugee politics, among other things you said: 'These people do not come for a better living - they are coming to stay alive!'
You see, that's what I thought - I live in Denmark, and I will say that I am not very happy about a lot of muslims, of whom we don't know how many are islamists or not genuine refugees. - At the moment about 5% og our population is recogned to be imigrated muslims, and most of them are doing great. - But we are probably the most democratic country in the world, and groups can state their minds and intentions on TV - and they do. Islamic groups that are forbidden in the rest of Europe are still allowed in Denmark, which is why they have a big number of followers.
The real reason why I write, is that in the beginning I thought the same: 'Get them out of the war!', and when we are supposed to donate money (which we actually do on a very generous scale) we are shown pictures of starving women with starving and sick chidren in the refugee camps - but when 'our refugees' arrive they are healthy, angry, well-dressed young men 20-50 years, who start by complaining about the facilities: There is no internet for everyone, the food is horrible, they live too crowded (6 persons in a summer cottage for 6), it's too quiet out there 5-7 km from the city, though they claim to have walked to Denmark - or through Denmark. - There is no gym at the place.....
I thought: 'But if I had been living with bombs for maybe 2 or 3 years trying to keep my children alive and in an acceptable state, I would LOVE to come to a place where it was quiet, I was together with my children and countrymen, the food may be different, but the opportunity is there to cook for yourself. - And some of them say: 'I was better off at home'.
Ok! - We have a lot of different nationalities in Denmark that we never even hear about, because they adjust to their new society, Vietnamese, Chinese, Koreans, Bosnian, Hungarian, Japanese and of course the western countries.
Remember that Denmark is a little country, we don't have space for parallel areas or cities! - If people want to come here they have to adopt our system - their religion and what they do at home is their business, and people from Shri Lanka are just mingling with our society, happy that they are in a peaceful place where their children can have a high education for free.
I personally think that the UN and everybody who can help would be better off removing the women and children from the refugee camps, get them to our countries where they can get food, medicine and peace and the children can learn how to play instead of learning that their family is getting killed, they are starving and ill - they are already filled with hatred, it will never end!
I am really a very humane person, which is why I also fight for the Palestinians, but that's another story.
Today there is a story on the frontpages about a 7-11 sales assistant, woman, who has been offended by young refugees - minors without family or relations to anybody - and of course it's hard for them! - But if we just open, like Sweden, which now realise how big problems they are in, both socially and financially - Scandinavia will be like Lebanon-
I didn't mean it to be such a long post, but it did.
I will end it by saying that I think the World Community is doing a terrible job keeping criminal states to treat their people right - actually I'm sick of the world, but I do the little things I can to help others.


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Re: Mr. Clooney, Would You Be Willing To Welcome Refugees In Your Home?

Post by LizzyNY on Tue Feb 23 2016, 18:36

Kitbon - Welcome! Thanks for posting and giving us your view of the situation in your country. The problems you describe are things we all fear will happen in our countries if/when we take in more refugees. And those refugees who complain about their new circumstances make us feel disillusioned about helping and that our efforts are unappreciated. Yet we don't want to stop helping where we can. This situation is much more complicated than it appears on the surface.

Your last paragraph wraps up the situation brilliantly! I hope you'll keep coming back to COH.

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Re: Mr. Clooney, Would You Be Willing To Welcome Refugees In Your Home?

Post by carolhathaway on Tue Feb 23 2016, 19:12

Kitbon,
I've read about some of the things you mentioned as well. I live in Germany, so as you can imagine we do have the same problems and fears. 
If you just remember New Year's Eve in Cologne and some other cities, that's something that can't be tolerated. I just tried to find out how many women were pickpocketed, molested or harrassed in Cologne by men of which nationalities but couldn't find any reliable informations. Every source has different numbers, and if you read comments it's as if thousands of women had been raped - which fortunately isn't true although some people seem to believe it.

We've got two shelters for refugees in our area and have quite many young men there as well. Up to now we didn't have any problems, there was one fight between some refugees and security in the shelter. The police found out that the fight was initialized by the security.
In my town a woman said that she had been robbed by two 'arabic looking men' after having withdrawed at a cashpoint. Later it was found out that she had had trouble with her boyfriend and wanted some attention.
My husband helps a young Syrian refugee and neither he nor the other helpers have been confronted with demands made by the refugees. But he heard (he works for the local government in the town so he gets mire informations than others) that some refugees in one of the shelters wanted better food. The authorities talked to everybody and found out that a lot of the food they got was pork which the muslims aren't allowed to eat. So they talked to the chefs to change that to more halal meat, and that's it. 

In a big city nearby they have ond of the biggest refugee camps in Germany, and the Chief of Police there started one year ago to research if the number of crimes would increase. The total number did increase, but the percental number in comparison to the rising number of inhabitants didn't. And apart from illegal entry and fare dodging there were hardly any other crimes, very few assaults and a few shopliftings. That's it.

But I also watch the news and know that it's not like that everywhere. And as I said at the beginning of my endless post, this should not be tolerated - just like burning refugees homes and beating up refugees...
And I absolutely agree with your last paragraph!

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Re: Mr. Clooney, Would You Be Willing To Welcome Refugees In Your Home?

Post by Donnamarie on Tue Feb 23 2016, 19:29

Thanks kitbon for bringing another perspective to the conversation here. We in the U.S. are so far removed from the refugee situation. We have allowed some Syrian refugees to relocate here but not anywhere close to the massive relocation numbers in Europe. And I doubt that the U.S. will allow a massive immigration of refugees from war torn countries.

Right now we have a number of 10,000 to be allowed in if our government approves but the paperwork and screening of the refugees will take up to two years. So sadly Europe will continue to feel the brunt of the crisis.
It is so complicated and is turning into a massive calamity.

Look forward to hearing from you again. Welcome!

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Re: Mr. Clooney, Would You Be Willing To Welcome Refugees In Your Home?

Post by party animal - not! on Tue Feb 23 2016, 19:38

Great post, kitbon, and than you for your insight.

It is a sad fact, that many have perceived what you have in Denmark. 

And the vast numbers of young men, quite a few of whom seem to be wearing labelled clothing and carrying the latest iphones, who demanded that they wanted to settle in certain countries - and yes, those with the most benefits - seem to be demanding even more rather than, in some instances, being thankful that they are safe. I have heard some describe them as arrogant.

And unfortunately, many have thought of the possibility that some of the children who are alone will then be found to have many family members who will want to join them, as has been found to be the case.......

I do not envy the job of any of those trying to work through all of this in an effort to care for those who are truly bereft of any thing in this life.

Kofi Annan had a very good point when he said that possibly the system used by host countries at the time of the Vietnamese war and the boat people was a better way of going forward.........

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Re: Mr. Clooney, Would You Be Willing To Welcome Refugees In Your Home?

Post by carolhathaway on Tue Feb 23 2016, 20:56

PAN,
I absolutely agree with you that it would be better to pick up the refugees in Syria or at the Syrian borders. This would require an infrastructure that doesn't exist: large refugee camps in Syria where there's no fight, or in border areas. An airport nearby to fly the people to other countries. Authorities who are able to decide who's a refugee or not. 

And you know what would happen? The area in Syria where the refugee camp is suddenly is in a war zone. The neighboring countries want more and more money to have the refugees and the UN decides to cut the money, and the refugees are starving. Or a suicide bomber bombs the whole refugee camp. Or the airport is bombed by a nation with different interests, and suddenly the refugees can't be flown out, and there are no buses to bring them to the nearest airport. You suddenly find out that the local authorities are corrupt and accept those as refugees who pay enough money.

The difference between this war and the Vietnam War is that the refugees from Vietnam weren't able to escape to a neighboring country because nobody wanted to live in Laos, Cambodia or China. So they had to get on boats to leave Vietnam, and don't forget that at that time the news coverage wasn't anything as crazy as today. I just checked on wikipedia that about 250,000 Vietnamese died during their journey...


Last edited by carolhathaway on Tue Feb 23 2016, 20:59; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Added text)

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Re: Mr. Clooney, Would You Be Willing To Welcome Refugees In Your Home?

Post by party animal - not! on Tue Feb 23 2016, 21:49

Oh, yes, geopolitics will always play a part in wars and their outcomes.

And power vacuums are wonderful for terrorists and illegal trading being it in guns or humanity.......

Syria is a dreadful mess and that mess is spreading in all directions.  Let us just hope the possible ceasefire is the start of something better.......

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Re: Mr. Clooney, Would You Be Willing To Welcome Refugees In Your Home?

Post by carolhathaway on Wed Feb 24 2016, 10:12

Kitbon,
one thing I would like to add:
We all make positive and negative experiences when we work voluntarily - just like at work, with friends, family etc. Some things don't turn out to be as good or as bad as they first seem to be, and these experiences influence us and our points of view. If I had been raped by a refugee I would argue differently, I guess.

But it's not just our own experience - most of the Germans who now demonstrate against refugees have never actually met one - but also the medias and others who talk about it.
I'm actually not sure which sources I can trust, apart from my own positive experiences. As I wrote earlier, I tried to find out the numbers of everything that happened in Cologne, and got so many different numbers that I gave up on that. Even the police hasn't published actual numbers up to now.
There are always right-wing and also left-wing medias, and of course their different interests influence their reportings. So I have to inform myself to which media group this newspaper belongs and which political affiliation they have. Which is exhausting in my opinion.
Or when I watch a political talkshow on TV - which I usually like to do - there are certain talk guests I don't watch because I already know the direction of this talk and what they are going to say.

Before the first refugee shelter started nearby there was a protest against it. Later on the local newspaper reported that nearly all of the people who went there came from other cities, quite far away, and the demonstration was also initialized by them. This led to the conclusion - at least for me - that hardly anybody who lived there was against refugees there but people from 'outside' tried to instrumentalize them. Fortunately it didn't work.

There are so many rumours going on that it's really difficult to find out the truth. Some months ago my sister told me that refugees who steal in supermarkets aren't caught and accused because the local governments pay for everything that's been stolen. I asked my sister how they know what's been stolen if they don't catch them and find out what exactly they took away - and if they were refugees or not (since they don't wear any badges or other signs). My sister had no answer. Then I told her that from my own experience as working for local governments this won't work because it would mean that you have to know the loss occurred, and nobody can numeralize that and governments just don't work that way. They always need confirmations for paying for something. I also asked her how she knew about that, and she said, that she read it on Facebook. Somebody wrote there that he has a friend whose neighbor has an aunt who works for a supermarket. And this lady had said that they are told not to call the police if they see that a refugee steals something. So that's a really reliable source! Rolling Eyes

I just read that somebody had posted on Facebook that every refugee in a certain German city gets a voucher for a smartphone by the local authorities. He even posted a picture of the voucher, and if you watched the voucher you could easily see that it was a fake. Within one hour this post was shared thousands of times, and the comments were just unbelievable. Then this guy who had posted this changed his name into something like 'I hate refugees and am a Nazi' which means that everybody who had shared this link now has this new name as well. The person who did it wanted the people to be aware of what they posted and shared. This should go without saying but some people seem to believe everything as long as it agrees with their own point of view...

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Re: Mr. Clooney, Would You Be Willing To Welcome Refugees In Your Home?

Post by NotAvailable on Wed Feb 24 2016, 23:04

You know that America has been suffering thru an economical depression and is just barely coming out of it. many jobs were lost when they were moved out of our country to others. Much work was outsourced to foreign employees, by many businesses.

These type of things can have a devastating effect on what jobs are available to ppl. Not to mention that many companies were forced to cut back their employees to stay afloat thru those difficult times.

More ppl to work these jobs means less job availability. And many companies, tho they aren't supposed to, hire ppl who will work for cheaper wages. Like the new comers, who will not understand as yet that it is not in their best interest to make less money.

And I can see that this situation could become another glut problem for some countries that already have problems with too many ppl and not enough work to go around.

But never the less, this crisis must be answered, even if the help is temporary until something can be done for them. Obviously, they can't just drop a bomb on the killers who chase life away from their countries. As killers like these, are often so mixed into the communities, that innocent ppl are the ones who get hurt. By the killers, plus any punitive measures like that.

Its a tough situation for all who are near there and trying to do something. I have a new respect for Germany. They have led the way this time, in generosity and wisdom. And I hope fervently, that those who would try to slip in to harm anyone, will be stopped right away.

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Post by kitbon on Thu Feb 25 2016, 01:49

I think that it's Israel getting the 3 billions, not Lebanon and Syria. Israel is by far the biggest receiver of US economic support.

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Post by kitbon on Thu Feb 25 2016, 02:23

You are right, but the whole world has been/is in a financial crisis which is going to get much worse according to some experts.
I think the general problem on the job-market is that everything is taken over by machines, robots and automatic stuff, and I actually wonder what everybody is going to work with in the long run, because we can't all be babysitting eachother's children or old people. - The problem is especially that the 'anybody-can-do-that-jobs' disappear, whereas before - again, there is a big difference over the world, according to current development and climate - somebody always needed a man/woman to clean the yard, keep the place tidy, keep the stable-floors clean, gather eggs and all sorts of things, and there are still people who are not very outspoken and not very keen on electronics or other new devices, they are maybe very talented with nursing animals, but that's all run by computers too and nobody can go into the stable without being disinfected before and after. We have come far away of the obvious way of living, and the people who lived in a shed earlier are not allowed to do that anymore, anyway not here in Denmark, which is small enough to control in the smallest details. - We don't LIVE - we survive, in my opinion, and everything must happen fast, thank God you can talk on the phone while you shop, if only the sales assistent - me Wink - doesn't disturb you!
In my opinion we are way off the track, and I know it can't be changed.
I totally agree that it is a jungle to pick the media you trust, and that's sad. I don't think Denmark is so much different from other countries on that issue, and I have boycotted news and papers at the moment, because the tone is so aggressive, people swear and call eachother or refugees or politicians the worst kind of awful words. - And I actually think the media has lost connection with its own purpose, it stirs up every little incident and give the impression that refugees are bad, and we hate them. I bet that far most Danish people treat refugees nicely and kindly - and after all that's all there is to do now as they are here, and it make the situation easier to be unfriendly.
I am so sick of this country! - We are so spoilt, we get money if we lose our job, actually we got money (90% of your wages) for 4 years, until 2 years ago it was cut down to 2 years, and there was an outrage! - We take it for granted that everything is going to be this good - or get better, and it's not healthy, you get lazy and without initiative - there is no will or spine to fight for something - just whining if anything is against you. - Ah, I think I can sleep well now, after all this babbling! Very Happy

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Re: Mr. Clooney, Would You Be Willing To Welcome Refugees In Your Home?

Post by carolhathaway on Thu Feb 25 2016, 06:59

Kitbon,
wow, you were up really late!

I'll be off to work in half an hour so just a short note:

I absolutely agree with you about the jobs. In Germany we have quite a low unemployment rate compared to most other countries (let's wait what's going to happen with Volkswagen which is the biggest employer in my area Rolling Eyes). But I just talked to our plumber who said that he's looking for an apprentice for three years now, and in our area they would need at least 20 more apprentices than they have. My uncle's son has a bakery, and he can't find apprentices - or even employees - for years. Nobody wants to get up so early...
On the other hand I have two handicapped children who will finish school in four years, and since every job is so specific now it will be really difficult to find a job for them...

I'm also sick and tired of the medias, of many politicians and of the simple-mindedness of many people who believe when somebody tells them that there's just one answer, one solution to their problems, one person who's responsible for everything that goes wrong in their lives...
I know people who haven't worked one day in their lives, get everything they need from our welfare state but shout out against refugees... perhaps because they are afraid this could change, I don't know. I think there are many diffuse fears.

Compared to most other countries in Europe - don't even think about most other  countries in the world - we have a much better living. Most people get jobs, most young people as well (which is quite a problem in many countries in Southern Europe). If you're unemployed or your income is too low, you get benefits. We do have schools you don't have to pay for, child care so you can go back to work, we have a minimum wage since last year. We also have food banks which you could see in a positive as much as in a negative way.

My country is not perfect, but I don't know a perfect country in the world. Do you?

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Re: Mr. Clooney, Would You Be Willing To Welcome Refugees In Your Home?

Post by carolhathaway on Thu Feb 25 2016, 07:37

I just realized that I had written 'just a short note' and then went on and on.
Sorry for that! Embarassed
I'm not very good at making it short...

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Re: Mr. Clooney, Would You Be Willing To Welcome Refugees In Your Home?

Post by LizzyNY on Thu Feb 25 2016, 17:03

Give Flowers Carolhathaway - You may not be very good at making it short (neither am I Very Happy ), but you are very good at making things clear. You and Kitbon have opened a window for the rest of us into how your countries are dealing with the refugee crisis and so much more. I learn so much from your posts. Most importantly I learn that no matter where we are, we are more alike than different and there are still good people in the world.

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Re: Mr. Clooney, Would You Be Willing To Welcome Refugees In Your Home?

Post by carolhathaway on Thu Feb 25 2016, 17:36

Lizzy,
thanks for your nice reply! I also learn so much from everybody here. It's so interesting to read all the different aspects and points of view, that's really impressive. And I've got to say that I'm a bit obsessed with COH Razz.

Of course we are all much more alike than different - we're all human, and that's the most important fact for me! Maybe a bit idealistic but I think it's so important to see issues from different angles. And it really helps to have spent time in other countries to get to know their way of living and to be able to value what we have.

I work at a twinning committee for our town and its twin town in Britain. And I remember one of our members saying: "I always thought of  the idea of twinning as a relict of the time after WW II - until just about 1,000 miles away in Yugoslavia people suddenly started fighting each other which led to a horrible war." And I do believe that knowing other peoples and their way of living helps to understand why they act and react in certain ways and also helps to take away the fear. To describe refugees and immigrants as a flood causes fears. To see them as individuals humanizes them. And just to think what I would do if I were them, living in a war zone or starving because of a long period of drought...

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Re: Mr. Clooney, Would You Be Willing To Welcome Refugees In Your Home?

Post by Donnamarie on Thu Feb 25 2016, 18:19

As a U.S. citizen I have learned quite a bit from our European friends at COH.  Carolhathaway you in particular have opened up about your experiences in Germany with the refugee situation and it has been very enlightening.  For me it's also terrific to read opinions from Katiedot, PAN, Hebe, Nicky and others to get perspectives outside my usual experiences.  And kitbon thanks for joining the conversation.

Most people are more alike than they are different.  And I think what handicaps us is the unknown or our ignorance.  The more we know and learn the more we see that most of us want the same thing and feel the same way about so much that goes on in our lives.

We are kinda getting off topic here.  So back to the refugee problem.  I look forward  to finding out what George, Amal and the IRC are planning as a strategy to help in this terrible mess.   I do think it's more important to help in any way one can (even contributing money to provide food and clothing) than to criticize people (George) for not doing more like taking people into their own home.  Which unfortunately is what some people feel compelled to do because he's a celebrity and is held to a different standard. And because he supports the U.S taking in refugees as part of our responsibility as a major world power. We are a rich and powerful country with many resources. And we should be doing more to help. As long as we have smart people coordinating the effort we could make a difference.

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Re: Mr. Clooney, Would You Be Willing To Welcome Refugees In Your Home?

Post by What Would He Say on Thu Feb 25 2016, 18:22

kitbon wrote:I have seen George Clooney's remarks on Danish refugee politics, among other things you said: 'These people do not come for a better living - they are coming to stay alive!'
You see, that's what I thought - I live in Denmark, and I will say that I am not very happy about a lot of muslims, of whom we don't know how many are islamists or not genuine refugees. - At the moment about 5% og our population is recogned to be imigrated muslims, and most of them are doing great. - But we are probably the most democratic country in the world, and groups can state their minds and intentions on TV - and they do. Islamic groups that are forbidden in the rest of Europe are still allowed in Denmark, which is why they have a big number of followers.
The real reason why I write, is that in the beginning I thought the same: 'Get them out of the war!', and when we are supposed to donate money (which we actually do on a very generous scale) we are shown pictures of starving women with starving and sick chidren in the refugee camps - but when 'our refugees' arrive they are healthy, angry, well-dressed young men 20-50 years, who start by complaining about the facilities: There is no internet for everyone, the food is horrible, they live too crowded (6 persons in a summer cottage for 6), it's too quiet out there 5-7 km from the city, though they claim to have walked to Denmark - or through Denmark. - There is no gym at the place.....
I thought: 'But if I had been living with bombs for maybe 2 or 3 years trying to keep my children alive and in an acceptable state, I would LOVE to come to a place where it was quiet, I was together with my children and countrymen, the food may be different, but the opportunity is there to cook for yourself. - And some of them say: 'I was better off at home'.
Ok! - We have a lot of different nationalities in Denmark that we never even hear about, because they adjust to their new society, Vietnamese, Chinese, Koreans, Bosnian, Hungarian, Japanese and of course the western countries.


This is why on another thread I suggested conscription Of sorts.....It is not unusual for refugee families to send able bodied young men first...in fact it's the norm...but in this instance and bearing in mind where they come from, the injustice they have lived and witnessed...they are raging!!!

All those hormones and feeling of injustice will explode when their countries of refugee, do their best...but their best only supports more injustice "why should they have - and I have not"....yes you may say "we welcome you. We provide food and refuge" but in todays world they only have to surf on their smart phones to discover the Kardashians winging about lack of luxury in their life styles or a pensioner in Galway creating hell from her luxury bungalow because she has been without water for 24 hours!!!....it's all the same it's the Haves moaning about nothing as far as a refugee can see...

We have to harness their potential and syphons it...I know what I am saying is not PC, and violates their human rights...but it will stop civil unrest and prepare well trained ppl to return and rebuild their Countries....

If we take the short term view we are heading for trouble...big time....

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Re: Mr. Clooney, Would You Be Willing To Welcome Refugees In Your Home?

Post by party animal - not! on Thu Jun 09 2016, 14:02

Something I'm unsure of and maybe Carol can help me on this.

When the German borders were open to welcome refugees, was there agreement on it by all 27 EU countries? Or was this a decision  made by the German government alone?


I have tried to find clarification on this, but it appears to be mired in huge bureaucracy (surprise! surprise!)

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Re: Mr. Clooney, Would You Be Willing To Welcome Refugees In Your Home?

Post by What Would He Say on Thu Jun 09 2016, 14:40

No, as far as I know....and we are in the union, far as I know there was NO discussion....Angela had a plan....

BTW huge numbers are on the move across Med daily....it's kept quiet????

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Re: Mr. Clooney, Would You Be Willing To Welcome Refugees In Your Home?

Post by What Would He Say on Thu Jun 09 2016, 14:44

PAN. Should we start a Brexit thread.....

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Re: Mr. Clooney, Would You Be Willing To Welcome Refugees In Your Home?

Post by What Would He Say on Thu Jun 09 2016, 14:47

The EU started to brake up when they treated the Greeks like second class brainless citizens of a "super power" lol. .... Greece ran with the ball....it was not expected....

If you hurt the weakest member of my family you hurt me....If I don't care.... Then it's no longer a family....,

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Re: Mr. Clooney, Would You Be Willing To Welcome Refugees In Your Home?

Post by What Would He Say on Thu Jun 09 2016, 15:02

I am not that clever...but I have travelled extensively and I know that if you accelerate the growth of a country it does not bode well....To every time a season....

The Internet and greed has caused an acceleration world wide....

Each Nation has its own morals, religions, foods, education, language VALUE SYSTEMS..... Why the F*** should we try to homogenise the world.....

People develope at individual rates....why shouldn't a Nation ....

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Re: Mr. Clooney, Would You Be Willing To Welcome Refugees In Your Home?

Post by party animal - not! on Thu Jun 09 2016, 15:15

So, if you're right, WWHS, does that mean there is no legal constraint on any of the 27-28 countries to do the same? Or the exact opposite for that matter? 

Or put it another way, could we all act unilaterally? 

As for the Greek economy, wow, that's another question! But I take your point!

And my query on that would be that why on earth did the EU turn a blind eye to Greece 'borrowing' millions from Goldman Sachs to prop up their own deficits and bank balances (guess you're going to get that if as a country you decided to pay your civil service pensions from the age of 50!) so that they could gain entry?

My question about the refugees and economic migrants was not really related to Brexit (or not) but maybe a new thread on it would be a good idea.............

It is quite interesting that Britain and Germany are amongst the very few who do not defer their payments to the EU and who give the largest amounts...

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Re: Mr. Clooney, Would You Be Willing To Welcome Refugees In Your Home?

Post by carolhathaway on Thu Jun 09 2016, 15:54

PAN,
the EU IS bureaucracy!

I had to check the facts to make sure to get everything correct and guess what? It's complicated Rolling Eyes
In general there is an agreement within the EU (and most other European countries have signed this agreement as well) that the country a refugee first reaches, when coming to Europe, has to conduct the procedure for granting the right for asylum 
So countries like Italy and Greece, which are very close to Northern Africa and the Middle East, have to bear the brunt for refugees from these parts of the world, wheras we in Northern and Middle Europe take refugees from ... well, maybe the UK, Iceland, Ireland and Scandinavian countries.

So Italy had to deal with nearly one million refugees from Africa, Syria and other countries in the Middle East, who crossed the Mediterranean Sea, and Greece and Bulgaria with many others who crossed the Balkans.

Most refugees from the war zones in Syria like Aleppo first stayed within the country or went to Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey to be able to return as soon as the war would be over - because you always hope for a quick ending... They hardly got any support, hardly money, food or medical aid, so they either sold everything they had or worked (which didn't really help to be accepted by the people in these countries), their kids weren't able to go to school. Then the financial support was even reduced, medical aid was cut, because the UN aid was cut, and so those who were able to go, left to Europe.

Greece is broke for years but is on the external borders of the EU. Italy, especially the south, is quite broke as well, both countries have a high unemployment rate. Macedonia, situated northern of Greece and not a member of the EU, said last summer that they wouldn't prevent refugees from crossing the country which shortened the way for refugees who now don't have to go to Libya to cross the Mediterranean Sea to Italy but can take a boat rrom the Turkish West Coast to one of the Greek islands nearby. Greece and Italy were overextended with the number of refugees coming to their countries and didn't control them anymore. I don't know if you had seen reports from the main station in Budapest, Hungary, where thousands of people weren't allowed to continue their journey, and the Hungarian government which is very right-wing, didn't care for them for days. They didn't get any food or water, no medical aid and slept on the floor. Tourists and journalists started to help them, and - at least I hope so, Hungarians did as well. 

The German authorities declared in August 2015 that they wouldn't send refugees from Syria back to the country they first entered the EU. In my opinion the Dublin agreement wasn't capable for such a number of refugees. Angela Merkel then said that Germany wouldn't send back refugees from countries with civil wars. I know the Washington Post wrote that this stimulated the number of refugees who wanted to come to Germany. The first trains with refugees arrived in Germany (most of them went to Munich), people acclaimed them and gave toys to the kids etc.

So, to to come to an end: Germany wasn't the first country to open its borders to refugees but the first one who cared for them, and I think that if Germany hadn't done that, it had let to a catastrophe in Greece and Bulgaria. These countries have such a bad bureaucracy (and so much corruption) that they would have had no chance to deal  with the number of refugees. Last year about 1.2 million refugees entered the EU via Greece and Italy - where would they have lived in these countries? How would you stop them from running to other countries? By jailing them? Even kids? And where?
 It takes several months to decide if they are granted asylum, and the governments aren't planned for such a number of people. So you would have to find employees first, train them, you need offices for them, have to get the money for that...

Now it would be necessary for all European countries to set up an agreement for an allocation formula, but instead there are countries who are not willing to accept one refugee...

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Re: Mr. Clooney, Would You Be Willing To Welcome Refugees In Your Home?

Post by carolhathaway on Thu Jun 09 2016, 16:11

PAN,
my response was to your previous post. I was checking if my memory was right, read some articles on wikipedia and different newspapers (including the one from the Washington Post), and since I'm writing on my tablet, this takes much longer than writing on a PC. 

Greece, its economy and finances are a very different matter...
I remember a report some years ago (before Greece was broke). Journalists found out by statistics that in a certain area on a Greek island people wrre much older than anywhere else in the EU, so they went there to get to know about the secret. And found out, that most of these people were already dead for years but still got their pensions...

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