If Utopia is Indeed Impossible, What is Left for Humanity?

If Utopia is Indeed Impossible, What is Left for Humanity?

Ilham Dary Athallah (16/294558/SP/27164)


As written in one of Arabian folktale, Abu Nawas once dreamed to pursue happiness by going to live a life in Aleppo, even though he alerady had a decent life serving Caliph Harun Al-Rasyid in Baghdad.[1] Not only Abu Nawas, but also all people on that time won’t refuse the opportunity of being the citizen of Aleppo, a big beautiful city crossed by a Silk Road[2] and protected by the strongest empire in each era.[3] When the sun set behind the Kurd Mountain located in the northern west of Aleppo, any conqueror would know that Aleppo and the whole Syrian was their most precious jewel. But today, it is somehow like a cursed land with war running on daily basis. Abu Nawas’ dream has gone as everyone now wish they were never born there and flee anywhere before it’s too late, which cause a refugee crisis in entire Europe.

Our world is far more complex than Osman’s dream once beautifully translated by a fortune teller, where everyone lives properly and prosperously under him in Ottoman Empire forever.[4] Throughout history we have seen wars broke out, innocent lives died, cities and dreams went down to the ground. But I believe, there will always be lessons to be learned from every occasions, no matter how crummy it is. This essay will discuss about what do we need to understand about the refugee crisis in Europe as an International Relations student. With points ranging from the root of the refugee crisis, the way Europe handles, and the importance for international relations student to learn humanity outmost from this lesson.

As Arab Spring began spreading throughout middle eastern countries in late 2010,[5] caused by people fed up with authoritarian government control as status quo and many other dissatisfactory causes, governments across countries fell down.[6] But Bashar al-Assad, President of Syria, son of Former Syria President Hafizh al-Assad, opted to silent the movement and repress freedom of speech using military forces with full backup from Vladimir Putin.[7] The civil war and annexation of Syrian land is not only about government versus opposition, there are also ISIL, Kurdish, and Syrian Armed Forces fighting each other for the sake of sovereignty.[8] As around half of Syria’s prewar 22 millions populations has been forced to move [9], massive migration was inevitable and become the root of the refugee crisis in Europe.

The way Europe handles this problem is rather complex, as opinions split between citizens in various countries, whether they should accept the massive flux of refugee or establishing a stronger wall and keep them out.[10] The refugee crisis and migration issues become the main issue across Europe, which also brought Austria to a poll drama of narrowly defeated far-right President from a party with a record of holding anti-immigrant policy for lengthy periods, but will try their favor again in the next election after the last presidential election annuled by Constitutional Court.[11]. The fear of muslim refugees entering UK is also the main point of Brexit issue, as Nigel Farage once said[12]. Rather than helping for the sake of humanity, Erdogan offered a rescue boat of making Turkey the entry gate of refugee for seizing opportunity to finally join European Union[13].

After analyzing the root of refugee crisis and how Europe handles it, there now lies our obigation as International Relations student to learn our lesson with our deepest heart as humanity has become so rare nowadays. That in the time we learn about peace studies, histories of wars, and human right violations, what we learn is not just a statistic or something to be memorized. There also wait our obligatory to analyze every massacre and make sure it won’t happen again with critical thinking and diplomacy skill at our disposal. We all have grown mature enough to know that the Arabian Night folktale is too good to be true. But what is wrong to preserve humanity for a better world and make our children and younger generation stay happy while dreaming about it, instead of fleeing from Arabian land?

*Artikel ditampilkan di ilhamdatha.wordpress.com & idary.web.ugm.ac.id

[1] ‘The Tale of Abu Nuwas and the Three Youths,’ Editorial Board World History of Male Love (online), 2000, <http://www.gay-art-history.org/gay-history/gay-literature/gay-mythology-folktales/arab-gay-folktales/abu-nuwas-gay/arabian-nights-abu-nuwas-gay-boys/arabian-nights-abu-nuwas-gay-boys.html>, accessed on July 20, 2016.

[2] K. Rushby, ‘Remembering Syria’s historic Silk Road souk in Aleppo,’ The Guardian (online), October 5, 2012, <https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2012/oct/05/aleppo-souk-syria-destroyed-war&gt;, accessed on July 20, 2016.

[3] ‘History of Syria,’ One World Nations Online (online), <http://www.nationsonline.org/oneworld/History/Syria-history.htm>, accessed on July 20, 2016.

[4] ‘The Sultans,’ The Ottoman (online), <http://www.theottomans.org/english/family/osman.asp>, accessed on July 20, 2016.

[5] ‘Arab Spring, A Research and Study Guide,’ Cornell University Library (online), <http://guides.library.cornell.edu/arab_spring>, accessed on July 20, 2016.

[6] S. Williamson, C. Abadeer, ‘Protest, Uprising & Regime Change in the Arab Spring,’ The Muftah (online), January 28, 2014, <http://muftah.org/protest-uprising-revolution-regime-change-explaining-outcomes-arab-spring/#.V5JSN5N96fV>, accessed on July 20, 2016.

[7] J. Daunt, J. Ensor, ‘Why does Russia support Syria’s Bashar al-Assad?,’ The Telegraph (online), February 12, 2016, <http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/11919242/Why-does-Russia-support-Syrias-Bashar-al-Assad.html>, accessed on July 20, 2016.

[8] ‘Syria: Mapping the Conflict,’ BBC News (online), July 10, 2015, <http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-22798391>, accessed on July 20, 2016.

[9] ‘Syria’s Drained Population,’ The Economist (online), September 30, 2015, <http://www.economist.com/blogs/graphicdetail/2015/09/daily-chart-18>, accessed on July 20, 2016.

[10] V. Metclafe-Hough, The migration crisis? Facts, challenges and possible solutions, ODI Briefing, October 2015, p.2.

[11] J. Huggler, ‘Austria court orders presidential election re-run after far-Right challenge,’ The Telegraph (online), July 1, 2016, <http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/07/01/austria-court-orders-presidential-election-re-run-after-far-righ/>, accessed on July 20, 2016.

[12] Z. Beauchamp, ‘Brexit isn’t about economics. It’s about xenophobia,’ The Vox (online), June 24, 2016, <http://www.vox.com/2016/6/23/12005814/brexit-eu-referendum-immigrants>, accessed on July 20, 2016.

[13] T. Patterson, ‘Refugee crisis: Merkel offers ‘dirty deal’ on Turkey EU membership in exchange for help to stem flow of migrants,’ The Independents (online), July 1, 2016,  <http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/europe-refugee-crisis-angela-merkel-offers-to-speed-up-turkey-eu-membership-in-exchange-for-help-to-a6699071.html>, accessed on July 20, 2016.

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