This presentation was given by Dima Al-Hamadmad at the Refugee Hosts International Conference and examined the many narratives regarding the Syrian conflict and subsequent displacement of refugees from Syria, and the impact of this narrative on refugee rights and an increasingly hostile environment.
Objective enough to tell the truth
by Dima Al-Hamadmad, Researcher, Refugee Hosts
Objectivity means telling the truth, and describing events and contexts without previous bias, and regardless what others say. However, this is not the case in the claimed objectivity adopted in many narratives that describe the Syrian context or tell refugees’ stories. There is always a part that is vague, shaded, gray, a part that avoids the truth and the real stories.
When one describes what has been happening in Syria as a “civil war” or with a vague description like “conflict” or “crisis”, without referring to the actual perpetrator, s/he takes displacement out of its true context. Thus, this out-of-context displacement turns refugees into a mere emergency humanitarian case; people who fled a random war and cross-fire, and who deserve international compassion. Those who decide to be “neutral” or actually “gray”, are ignoring that there is a cause behind this displacement, perpetrators, a whole regime against people chanting for freedom. As long as those narrators remain gray and don’t refer to the cause of refugees’ suffering, they ignore the refugees’ rights to justice and accountability,
Moreover, when one says it is just a “war”, the normal local response, in the first place, would be empathy; however, when this claimed war reaches an “end”, the normal response again would be that refugees now should go back home, as it is “stable” and “safe” again, and there is no reason that they should stay in the hosting countries. Gradually, through this narrative, the refugee-hosts relationship will deteriorate, and the environment will be suitable for hostilities and racism to flourish.
If you found this piece of interest please visit the recommended reading list below:
Berg, M. and Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. (2018) Hospitality and Hostility towards Migrants: Global Perspectives—An Introduction
Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. (2018) Disrupting humanitarian narratives?
Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. (2018) Reflections from the Field: Introduction to the Series
Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. (2018) The Poetics of Undisclosed Care
Stonebridge, L. (2018) Undoing the Meaning of the World: Creation and Decreation in Contemporary Refugee Studies