Just existing is a daily struggle and for the young - unable to work, marry or leave the squalid refugee camps and half-built apartments they now call home - their lives are in limbo. People feel trapped, caged in by a situation that is not of their making with no end in sight.
Assad is not only an individual who can be replaced by someone else, but he is an indispensable part of the Syrian state; he embodies the domination of Alawite in the political establishment. The removal of Assad from power will be a strong blow to the Syrian government, and a moral boost to the oppositional and rebel groups.
Perhaps what feeds this genius, this champion of communication and understanding among us, is that he comprehends the power of one. It is a power we often forget -- I know I do -- the ability to change the world, one small, tiny, at times seemingly insignificant action at a time.
Bashar al-Assad is responsible for some of the most heinous war crimes of recent times, including the use of chemical weapons, the mass imprisonment and torture of political opponents, and the indiscriminate bombing of civilian areas causing massive casualties. Yet the unpalatable reality must surely be that, despite his grim record, he remains indispensable in the search for an end to the conflict.
America was once regarded as a welcoming immigrant nation where races and religions mingle freely, a geo-cultural therapy for history's wounded masses who could leave their woes behind once they arrived on its shores. It is thus a jarring twist to witness the nativist rants of Donald Trump boosting his political fortunes at the same moment when Germany, where the ideology of racial purity reached its apogee, extends a tolerant embrace to refugees and redefines its identity as a multicultural state. The scope of this shift will surely generate its own backlash in the times to come. Writing from Berlin, Alex Gorlach sees "a reversal of history" as Germany becomes "nation of immigrants" and suggests America should "dedicate a new Statue of Liberty to the [European] continent." From Stockholm, Göran Rosenberg explains why Sweden takes in more asylum seekers per capita than any other European country. Embedded in his piece is the orientation video for asylum applicants provided by the Swedish Migration Agency. Writing from Budapest, Miklós Haraszti sees political cynicism driving the anti-immigrant policies of Hungary's nationalist prime minister, Viktor Orbán. (continued)
What is happening in Europe makes me think about our own country's hopelessly broken immigration system. There are uncomfortable parallels in the two situations.
Continued warfare in Syria, and violence in places like Iraq and Afghanistan, has contributed to the surge of refugees from those countries, while deteriorating economic conditions in places like Sub-Saharan Africa has led people to Europe in search of a better life.
STOCKHOLM -- Although not every nation might share the peculiar "moral" self-image of Sweden, every nation ought to remember that a Europe that was once unable or unwilling to shoulder and share its human responsibilities and legal obligations towards those seeking its protection, soon became a Europe unable to prevent its own moral and political self-degradation and self-destruction.
The current question before the political leaders of the USA's allies such as the UK is 'how can we address the refugee problem at source, and how far should our escalating military efforts against ISIS and the Syrian regime go ?'.
This week, my social media feed has been dominated by two images; four-year-old children on the doorstep - ready for their first day at school, and a three-year-old's body on a beach. The same images shared by the same people on consecutive days. Parents posting their ultimate image of hope and pride alongside fear and shame.
Channel 4's Krishnan Guru-Murthy stopped reporting on the refugee crisis this week, and actually got involved to help. And I'm so glad he did... The argument made by one commenter on the Channel 4 News Facebook page, that "Krishnan needs to remember that he is a journalist and stop his personal crusade" is rubbish.
In an era when there has been failure aplenty for the U.S. military, disappointing results have become the new norm across the Greater Middle East and Africa, which undoubtedly breeds frustration in Washington.
If GCC officials slowly pivot toward the perception that their long-term interests reside in an improved relationship toward Iran, such a strategic shift would be seen in Riyadh as an erosion of GCC unity against an emboldened Iran.
It's time for leaders to put the burden of migration in its full context and take on the opportunity to provide hope and opportunity before families are without options and forced into dangerous and desperate attempts to migrate.
Hillary's move to the right on Iran creates an opening for pro-diplomacy Democrats to insist that the Democratic presidential nominee remain true to Obama's policy of keeping the door open to deeper U.S.-Iran cooperation. Calling for direct U.S.-Iran talks to help end the Syrian civil war would be a great place to start.
Europe will need to do far more to provide for asylum seekers within our borders. But while Europe copes with tens of thousands, Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey urgently need more aid to cope with millions.