U2 frontman Bono has penned a New York Times op-ed to coincide with his visit to Capitol Hill on Tuesday to testify at a Senate hearing on violent extremism. His article, titled “Time to Think Bigger About the Refugee Crisis,” is his reaction to visiting a number of refugee camps across the Middle East and East Africa.
“In most of the places where refugees live, hope has not left the building: hope to go home someday, hope to find work and a better life,” he writes. “I left Kenya, Jordan and Turkey feeling a little hopeful myself. For as hard as it is to truly imagine what life as a refugee is like, we have a chance to reimagine that reality — and reinvent our relationship with the people and countries consumed now by conflict, or hosting those who have fled it.”
The singer-activist notes that stakeholders need to realize that, for starters, the Syrian refugees are not concentrated in camps, rather a majority live in communities within their host countries. Further, many refugee families have been exiled from their homes for years, and often face a second expulsion from the countries that originally hosted them. “You hear the term ‘permanent temporary solution’ thrown around by officials, but not with the irony you’d think it deserves,” he writes.
Bono writes that the U.S. and other developed countries “have a chance to act smarter, think bigger and move faster in addressing this crisis and preventing the next one.” He outlines three ways the world should act: Provide more humanitarian support for refugees and the countries that house them; help host countries develop ways to put idle refugees to work; and finally, provide financial assistance to countries that are in danger of collapsing.
“It is less expensive to invest in stability than to confront instability,” he argues. Read Bono’s piece here.