Photos have emerged showing Syrian refugees with smartphones taking selfies with selfie sticks the moment they reached the Greek island of Lesbos from Turkey. They also appeared to be wearing branded clothes and shoes. In the photos, first reported by the Daily Mail, it can also be seen that these people are ready with mats, blankets and tents of good quality.
In a YouTube video showing a batch of refugees arriving at a train station in Munich, some of the refugees seen, mostly men, were dressed nicely – long sleeves and pants; some had even refused to take food and water from the Germans who welcomed them at their arrival. Those who have kids in tow, however, were the ones appreciative of the warm welcome.
The photos and video now sparked debates whether these refugees really needed help or are just taking advantage of the good benefits that Germany and other EU countries are ready to offer. Some people cried unfair as they do not receive as much support as what their governments are ready to give these refugees.
Comments below the Daily Mail report have an overall theme of objection against the refugees. The same theme can be observed with the comments below the YouTube video. One comment went as far as saying that Germany will be ten times worse than France in the next 20-30 years for being too emotional towards the refugees.
Meanwhile, Paul Joseph Watson posted a map via his Twitter account. If these refugees are escaping war and just want safety, then why don’t they just stay in other safe countries which they already passed by as they made their way to Germany? Watson’s map marked the countries with “no war” that are nearer in Syria. The distance from Syria to Germany was also marked red, indicating it is faraway as compared to other countries.
The report from Daily Mail noted that these people were celebrating as they arrived at the Greek Island safely. One boy was photographed as he phoned his relatives from Syria, saying he had arrived safely. A group of family was also taking pictures, all smiling because they THINK they have escaped the ordeal back home. However, as Daily Mail pointed out, the next day, they would join the thousands of refugees who will be waiting to register on the island before embarking another long journey to mainland Europe. Those selfies, after all, were “souvenirs” that “mark the beginning of a new life in the promised land of Europe.”
In a long piece written for The Independent, James O’Malley called the people, who were “surprised” that Syrian refugees have smartphones, as “stupid.” He said one “don’t need to be a white westerner to own a relatively cheap piece of technology.” After all, these refugees are not escaping poverty; they would want to “stop themselves and their families from dying in a war.”
A report from The Associated Press may shed light to the ongoing debate. The report revealed that many economic migrants are posing as Syrian refugees from war in order to seek asylum in EU countries. According to Serbian police who has spoken with AP, 90 percent of those arriving in Macedonia, approximately 3,000 a day, claim that they are Syrians.
“You can see that something is fishy when most of those who cross into Serbia enter January first as the date of their birth. Guess that’s the first date that comes to their mind,” border police officer Miroslav Jovic told AP.
Fabrice Leggeri, chief of the EU border agency, said that “a lot of people enter Turkey with fake Syrian papers, because they know that they’ll get asylum in the EU more easily.” German custom authorities have also seized packages being mailed to Germany that contain fake Syrian passports.
These fraudulent activities add up to the already heavy burden that true Syrian war refugees are carrying. “Everyone says they are Syrian, even those who are obviously not. That is not good for us Syrians because of limited number of people who will get the asylum,” Kamal Saleh, who holds genuine Syrian passport, told AP. His friend, another Syrian, added, “There are too many people saying we are from Syria, but he is not from Syria. Unbelievable. ”