How often do we want to let ourselves be surprised? How often do we want to say we didn’t know how many refugees were coming? Europe finally woke up in April when a boat with 800 people aboard capsized in the Mediterranean. But no one expected the hundreds of thousands who stand before the gates today. Because everyone refused to believe it. It was clear food and hope were dwindling in the Lebanese and Turkish refugee camps. And today? How many more will come to us?
Hardly an hour from Beirut, in the Beqaa Valley, are where the first refugee camps can be found. Syrians who fled the civil war in their home country live in improvised tent cities around Deir el Ahmar, Zahlé and the Akkar district. There are satellite dishes between the tents, and many people there have access to the Internet. All of them see the images of the major refugee route in the direction of Europe. They also see the emotional scenes from Munich’s main train station, the applauding volunteers, the arriving passengers who are handed fruit, the children who are given teddy bears.