Syria’s Youth Dilemma
Syria is often considered the most dangerous place on earth as the civil war drags on and countless innocent civilians turn into casualties. Refugee camps have been created in neighboring countries, many functioning as their own cities. To many, these camps are the only hope for safety- men, women and children survive on low rations and dwindling hope of returning to their homes.
There is not enough attention paid to the plight of the many smart, young, ambitious Syrians – aside from proclaiming them ‘the lost generation’. To many, deciding to stay or leave is the toughest decision they’ll make in their lifetime. Although many are fortunate not to live in a state of constant fear, they still face a significant emotional toll when thinking of a future in their homeland.
CCTV recently ran a segment featuring a few young adults who call Syria home. The young men interviewed are intelligent, ambitious, and hopeless. They were forced to give up on their educational pursuits, their families lost their homes (either by destruction or sale due to depleted funds), and many don’t know if they’ll have a job each morning.
All the young men interviewed agreed that they did not have much of a future in Syria, some even wondering what a timeline would look like for them in Syria’s rebuild. Some stated that deserting dependent family members was out of the question and that their futures, no matter how uncertain, remain in Syria. For most; however, the dream still remains to make it to Europe where life as a registered refugee would allow them to work and possibly return to school.
Daily news coverage discusses the refugee crisis occurring in the Mediterranean. The risky- and deadly- journey has not deterred many Syrians. If you can afford it, you take your chances on a packed boat. Many Westerners may wonder why someone would give up all their possessions, abandon their families and risk their lives to flee their homeland. Instead, the Western world should realize that the situation in Syria has degraded to the point that those who are capable will do anything to make it out.
As the number of refugees increases every day, the ‘lost generation’ should not be truly forgotten. Young Syrian men and women should be provided with opportunities to reach their potential regardless of where they now call home. An early investment in Syria’s youth would have a drastic positive impact in the country’s rebirth when the war finally does end.