Civil war in Syria has contributed to an unprecedented global refugee crisis. The response from varying countries has been inconsistent, calling into question how our world community responds to the most basic human needs for safety, shelter, and security.
According to The Washington Post, roughly 10.5 million people worldwide are being forced to flee their homes due to persecution, war, and other safety issues in their own countries, and children make up a large share—46% in 2012.* But in 2015, the refugee crisis hit extreme proportions, with a million refugees and migrants arriving in the European Union that year alone.
Refugees and migrants are fleeing conflicts in numerous Middle Eastern and African countries, yet it's the civil war in Syria, as well as the ongoing conflicts and instability in Iraq, that is causing the world's current crisis. Without Syrians, the number of refugees would match previous years.**
Individuals and families are traveling across land and sea hoping to reach Northern Europe, but it has been those trying to cross the Mediterranean who have received the most international attention from the media. News channels highlight the increase of tiny boats overladen with desperate passengers and images of children washing ashore. The number of deaths at sea (over 3,329 in 2015*** and 244 in the first month of 2016****) has demanded the world's attention to this humanitarian crisis.
In September 2015, photographer Ciril Jazbec documented the flow of migrants moving from Serbia into Croatia. While he was there, Hungary closed its borders and migrants were forced to travel across Croatia into his home country of Slovenia in order to proceed to various destinations in Northern Europe. Jazbec's documentation is captured in the photo essay, " Crossing Borders," which reflects the intensity, hardship, and the sheer enormity of this displaced population. It shows individuals and families who have fled the devastations of war and hope for a better future.
Connections to National Standards
Common Core English Language Arts. SL.9-10.1 and SL.11-12.1. Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 9-10 [or 11-12] topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
Common Core English Language Arts. SL.11-12.1.c. Propel conversations by posing and responding to questions that probe reasoning and evidence; ensure a hearing for a full range of positions on a topic or issue; clarify, verify, or challenge ideas and conclusions; and promote divergent and creative perspectives.
Common Core English Language Arts. W.9-10.3 and W.11-12.3. Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences.
College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies. D2.Geo.2.9-12. Use maps, satellite images, photographs, and other representations to explain relationships between the locations of places and regions and their political, cultural, and economic dynamics.
College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies. D2.Geo.6.9-12. Evaluate the impact of human settlement activities on the environmental and cultural characteristics of specific places and regions.