Understanding the Refugee Crisis in Europe, Syria, and around the World

Understanding the Refugee Crisis in Europe, Syria, and around the World

In which John Green discusses the Syrian refugee crisis and the growing number of refugees from Syria, Afghanistan, and Eritrea crossing the sea with the help of smugglers to seek refuge in European Union nations.

Also discussed: The difference between migrants and refugees, the rights of refugees as established by international law, the globalization of all regional crises, and how the death of 3-year-old Alan Kurdi galvanized the world.


The UNHCR: http://donate.unhcr.org/international/general/#_ga=1.29610806.829388110.1441552177

Save the Children fundraiser created by author Patrick Ness: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-web/fundraiser/showFundraiserProfilePage.action?userUrl=PatrickNess


Most of the stats and graphs in this video came from the United Nations’ High Commission on Refugees: http://www.unhcr.org.uk/about-us/key-facts-and-figures.html

Overview of the EU’s struggle with migrants and refugees from the BBC: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-24583286

Another overview from the Independent: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/refugee-crisis-six-charts-that-show-where-refugees-are-coming-from-where-they-are-going-and-how-they-are-getting-to-europe-10482415.html

An incredibly complicated guide to whose supporting whom in the Syrian Civil War: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_armed_groups_in_the_Syrian_Civil_War

Immigrants to the U.S. are less likely to commit crimes than other Americans: http://www.wsj.com/articles/the-mythical-connection-between-immigrants-and-crime-1436916798

Understanding the difference between migrants and refugees, and the legal obligations we have to refugees: http://www.unhcr.org/55df0e556.html

The UNHCR maps a plan forward from Europe that I quote from extensively: http://www.unhcr.org/55e9459f6.html

The 1951 Refugee Convention that I mistakenly called a Commission in the video: http://www.unhcr.org/pages/49da0e466.html

Information about the horrifying human rights abuses by Eritrea’s government: https://www.hrw.org/africa/eritrea and http://www.ohchr.org/en/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=16054&LangID=E

Yes, Bashar al Assad’s government in Syria has tortured children and used chemical weapons: http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2011/05/201153185927813389.html and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghouta_chemical_attack (Link contains explicit images of death)

Joseph Stalin probably never said that thing about one death being a tragedy and a thousand (or million) deaths being a statistic, but I quoted it the way a Soviet historian did: https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Joseph_Stalin

Thanks as always to Rosianna Halse Rojas (http://www.youtube.com/rosianna), whose data-gathering and fact-checking made this video possible. If you read the entire dooblydoo, you get a gold star.

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20 Responses

  1. Claire - says:

    Yep, the main argument against refugees here is always along the lines of
    we don’t have room, there are so many of “our own people” that are homeless
    and that we should help them first. And I’m just like ??? Syrian people are
    literally DYING. Men, women and children living in a war zone with no other
    choice but to leave everything they’ve ever known and you want to turn them
    away because they weren’t BORN here?? It really just doesn’t make sense to
    me how anyone could be content to turn away and say it’s not our problem. I
    really hope that Ireland’s government leaders will take in as many refugees
    as possible and I hope that we can all come together to help them in their
    time of need and we don’t forget that “our people” were once in their
    position when one million Irish people were forced to emigrate to America
    during the Great Famine of 1845.


    Thank you John for shining a light on the Syrian refugee crisis

    There is a way to help for now by donating to the UNCHR here:

  3. TheAnMish says:

    Most Danes are outraged at how our government has reacted to this
    situation. It’s deeply shameful.

  4. Eric Geiser says:

    Multiculturalism sounds so nice on paper but you can’t be tolerant toward
    intolerance, that is a paradox. What do you think will occur when Muslims
    become an actual political force in European countries? Do you believe they
    will all live in a tolerant multicultural wonderland?

    No, Muslims do not understand a certain concept called “separation of
    church and state”. Ultimately all of this is our own government’s (The
    United States) fault. Who created Al Qaeda and therefore ISIS, who
    destabilized the region for decades with military action and financially
    supporting delusional murders, The United States alone. If we should be
    angry at anyone, it’s all our “representatives” and the administration in
    Washington and their economic puppet master’s warmongering schemes.

  5. Keenan Cain says:

    I know there is no way in hell of this happening, but I need to get my
    ideas out there. Remember that I know nothing of politics and economy, so
    bare with me. First off, world leaders (mainly western ones) need to sit
    down with the UN and figure out which percentage of refugees each country
    need to take, based off of economic states and general resources. Then they
    need to set up international routes to where the refugees then need to go.
    Countries like Greece would be first stop countries, where they sort
    through the refugees and decide who needs to go where. If they are staying
    in the first stop country, they go to a shelter for the refugees within
    that country. If not they take a plane to Europe, where they will either
    stay in a European country, or will be sent to the Americas. If we sort
    this out properly each country would only be taking as many refugees as it
    can handle. And maybe not as many people would be dying.

  6. 666Tomato666 says:

    so how about allowing them to seek asylum in the US?

    oh right, US is against Mexican immigration when its net effect is
    essentially zero…

  7. nextpkfr says:

    I don’t think anything could say more about the racist, self-serving
    propaganda spread by Western nations than the negative comments in this
    video, saying shit along the lines of: “I can’t agree with your facts and
    statistics John, because here is some anecdotal evidence which generalises
    40 million refugees.”

    Wake. The fuck. Up. If you are seriously against asylum seekers and
    refugees, you are the bigot villains in all those films/shows/novels from
    your childhood you never thought you would grow up to be. 1,293 dislikes
    (at this point)? Congratulations all of you, everyone in a few decades will
    think you are absolute fucktard.

  8. GamesWithHannah says:

    Thank you so much for this video John, I’m upset that we needed you to make
    it in the first place, but you’ve done ignorant people a great service
    today by gifting them with knowledge. This has been extremely helpful to me
    in terms of understanding the laws behind countries supporting refugees. I
    hope they can all find a safe haven. Thank you again for this video x

  9. Krisztián Salamon says:

    I live in Hungary and I can tell you that the only thing our government
    (including the prime minister) cares about is winning the next elections.
    They’ve had success with creating an outsider enemy (the EU, banks, etc.)
    and declaring that they’ve defeated them. The television and radio channels
    owned by the state often air xenophobic content thus making people think
    that having people from different cultures is a bad thing (let me remind
    you that for over 500 years, Hungary was a country of many nationalities).
    I hate that representatives of other parties are mostly silent, they should
    really do something to stop the current government’s policy on refugees.

  10. HD says:

    Not one Muslim country took in these Muslim refugees. Pathetic.

  11. Andrew Bulman says:

    I disagree with that statement. All refugees are migrants, but not all
    migrants are refugees.

  12. chiara mirelle says:

    thanks for making this video john! I understand a lot more about this issue
    than I did and I can definitely form more of an opinion. what’s going on
    surrounding this issue is horrific and I really hope the world is able to
    come to its sense and do more to save innocent lives.

  13. tobeleast says:

    The climax of every video is when John almost pulls his hair out. Thanks
    for this video!!

  14. ughitsme says:


  15. Ahmed Nero says:

    good God world, there were another two Iraqi children also on that boat,
    show some respect by mentioning them

  16. Lord Lucifer says:

    After WWII Lebanon was a prosperous and predominantly Christian country. It
    was a popular vacation spot, commercial and banking center often compared
    to Switzerland. Beruit was called the Paris of the Mideast.
    Circa 1950 Lebanon generously took in Islamic refugees from Syria,
    Palestine and other war-torn middle eastern areas. The refugees were very
    grateful for asylum. However their next generation considered themselves
    native Lebanese and they had no gratitude whatsoever. All they knew was the
    ingrained hatred of jihad Islam and loathing for all infidels.
    Now Lebanon is hell on earth. A multifaceted civil war among Christians,
    Sunnis, Shiites and other sects from 1975 to 1990 simmers to this day. It
    will never end.
    Europe is making the same grave mistake accepting these Islamic migrants.

  17. B19350 says:

    refugees are disgusting fucks that would rather let their families drown
    than fix their own country.

  18. guitarslf132 says:

    6:50 – Why does seemingly nobody in the world get this?!?! Thank you John.
    One world, one race- the Human Race.
    Here in England public, government, and world responses are equally
    inhumane, hypocritical and ridiculous.

  19. natasha275 says:

    I wonder how Jordan is handling the 1 million Syrian refugees. Also I
    should not be surprised that the Arab Gulf States don’t want to take any
    refugees. This is expected of the Arab Gulf States

  20. Daniel Jones says:

    Care to provide proof that Assad gassed his own people? And you hold Assad
    to a higher standard than Lincoln, who also put down a rebellion, with