The images still shock us, but for public opinion the situation of war zone refugees (as well as those migrating for other reasons) is swiftly becoming just one more amongst many problems facing the world, that it won’t, can’t, doesn’t want to solve.
In the front line of the crisis, where immediate and real problems must be dealt with, there are just as many places where refugees are simply mass herded and despised, as there are instances of humanism. This panel is moderated by the 26-year old journalist Patrick Kingsley, author of The New Odyssey, who was named foreign affairs journalist of the year at the British Journalism Awards for his work for The Guardian on the refugee crisis. He is joined by Hasan Kara, Mayor of Kilis, the Turkish city that has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, for the way that it has welcomed Syrian refugees (who quickly outnumbered the city’s long-term residents). Another participant, Mayor of Chios in Greece, is Manolis Vournous, who threatened to sue his own government to ensure that his city’s refugee reception centre, already the scene of various episodes of police violence, wouldn’t be transformed into a detention camp. And, finally, there is Hassan Akkad, the Syrian refugee and protagonist of the BBC documentary, Exodus, who reached the United Kingdom in 2015, despite having almost drowned in the Mediterranean and then having to travel across Europe.