Editors note: When we receive a comment to a post that we don’t want to lose buried in the comments section, we highlight it as a special post. Here, reader ‘pungentpeppers’ responds to yesterday’s post in our ‘Invasion of Europe’ series about Syrians camping (occupying!) in a Paris park.
About that “Syrian Occupy Movement” in France… French news reports give more insight as to what is happening.
The French are no stranger to squatter camps. In the past Roma Gypsy families arriving from Eastern Europe have set up camp for themselves on public and private land. There is just not enough available housing. Where to put these many newcomers has become a major headache for France. This latest group of park squatters in Saint-Ouen, in the Paris suburbs, are Syrian Muslims, and practically all are Sunni (like the Syrian rebels).
Local Muslims living in the area are bringing the Syrians food, raising money for hotel rooms, and allowing them to sleep at a local mosque. One Syrian at the park, Lamia al-Nassan, was interviewed by TV’s France24. She praised the local Muslims: “Fortunately the Muslims are here to feed us – otherwise, we’d be dead!”
Lamia (24) with youngest of her four children: I sold all my jewelry to get to France, to live in a park?
Unrealistic Expectations: Per the L’Express newspaper, these Syrians falsely believed that, as soon as they arrived in France, the “State of Human Rights” (as they call France) would immediately provide each family with suitable lodging and preferably asylum.
A news report by France24 features at the top a photo of Lamia, age 24. Dressed in black Islamic attire, she holds an infant – the youngest of her four children. She does not mince her words in expressing her disappointment with the French: “I thought France would protect us, that we could put the children in school. I sold all my jewelry – spent everything. Now we have nothing and have to stay here.” She laments further, “How could I have imagined that in France, they would leave us to sleep in a park?”
Costly Problem: These families, if allowed to settle, will cost the French taxpayer dearly. Their culture values huge families; their women do not work outside the home. One of the fathers, named “Mohamed” by the newspaper L’Express, looks like he is 60 years old. The father of eight children, he is shown sitting alongside a young girl of preschool age. He will not support himself, let alone a wife and eight kids.
All Those Pregnant Women: Per France24, temporary lodgings were found for the group, and the municipality has locked up the park. However, pregnant Syrian women have returned to sit on the sidewalk alongside the park’s iron fence. One of them, Sonia Ramadan, is six months pregnant and she has not seen a doctor – but she dares not pass through the doors of a French hospital because she does not speak a word of French. Zeyna al-Nasser is two months pregnant. At age 22, this frail-looking young woman already has three other children. One wonders, despite young children and pregnancy, why did these Muslim women travel with their menfolk, across many safe countries to non-Muslim lands where they do not speak the language? Were they merely on a quest for the best, or is it something else that drives them?
Their Motives: Are They Syrian Rebels or Are They Opportunists? The moment these migrants crossed the border from Syria, these migrants had reached safety. However, they kept on traveling. They journeyed through several Sunni Muslim countries to reach Morocco.
In Morocco, they paid smugglers for passage to Spanish Melilla. “Mohammed” told the L’Express reporter that he paid 1200 Euros (about $1,660) to cross the fence separating Melilla from Morocco. Once in Melilla, humanitarian groups gave them plane tickets for Barcelona. From there, they headed for France. Were they, as the L’Express journalist Karim Ben Said, who is Muslim himself, puts it – merely seeking a “normal life” with their wives and their children? Or do they have some other political motive connected to Sunni Islam?
One of the Syrians, “Jamal” told L’Express that he first went to Lebanon, but that the Shia Hezbollah does not want them there. He then moved to Jordan but left, even though most of his family remains there. He then traveled to Algeria, but had to leave because that government supports the Syrian president. Was Jamal a fighter, and therefore could not stay in Jordan or Lebanon or Algeria? (Dare France accept such asylum seekers?) Or, was he merely dissatisfied with life in those particular countries, finding spurious excuses as to why they are unsuitable?
Puzzlingly, Jamal denies that Europe was his goal: “We did not necessarily aim to reach Europe, it is the circumstances that led us here.” The stories of these many Syrians, however, discredit Jamal’s tale of accidental arrival in France. It appears they were in pursuit of their personal goal – life in the rich European country named France.
Contrary to their expectations, these Syrians might not get what they wish for. France has already disappointed them – and the rule of law states that a refugee does not have the automatic right to live in the country of his own choosing. The Syrians might not be able to force the French to settle them. If so, per L’Express, some of them have their eyes set on another target: Sweden!
To see photos and French language reporting about these Syrian better life seekers, see:
For more good comments from readers, check out our ‘comments worth noting’ category here.
And for more of our ‘Invasion of Europe’ series, click here.