Target: Barack Obama, President of the United States
Goal: Commend President Obama for offering Lebanon financial support to deal with Syrian refugees
President Obama has made the right decision in helping Lebanon deal with the financial costs of supplying the needs of the refugees fleeing the Syrian civil war. The U.S. offer of $74 million dollars will help Lebanon provide key services for the population including electricity, healthcare, and education. The refugee burden on Lebanon is significant indeed, especially considering that the number of Syrians living within its borders is expected to reach 1.3 million by the end of 2013. It is expected that the refugees will end up costing a total of 2.5 billion dollars to the state of Lebanon. Providing these essential services to the new arrivals will strain Lebanon’s budget at a time when the influx of a new population threatens to decrease government revenues from trade and business.
Helping out Lebanon financially is an important way of rewarding it for welcoming refugees at the cost of taking care of the needs of its own population. The arrival of over a million new people disrupts a country’s equilibrium. Lebanon’s already stagnant economy could only accommodate the cheap labor of refugees at the cost of stable employment for its own native population. Schools forced to welcome about 170,000 new students would be overcrowded. The presence of many more students in classes could bring down the quality of learning for Lebanese children who would get less attention from teachers.
And as cities and towns are flooded by more and more people, the atmosphere becomes less welcoming to tourists. With tourism down and people going out less, the bustling, vibrant city of Beirut has become eerily quiet. But that’s not the worst refugee-related inconvenience that Lebanon has had to deal with. Some of the people crossing the border are combatants who bring war tactics with them — the recent explosions from car bombs in the Lebanese cities of Tripoli and Beirut have been undermining the peace. The combination of decreased consumer spending, an overstrained government budget, and a potentially deteriorating security situation may certainly do much to damper the confidence of investors; it is then no surprise that the flow of foreign capital into the Lebanese economy has slowed down.
With Lebanon overwhelmed by an influx of refugees that have strained the government budget, negatively affected the tourism trade, foreign investment, and even subjected the population to war-related violence from Syrian radicals, the U.S government has reacted with honor and compassion to the plight of the country by offering its financial support. Sign this petition to praise U.S. President Barack Obama for rewarding Lebanon’s self-sacrifice in welcoming the Syrian refugee population.
Dear President Barack Obama,
Lebanon has been exemplary in its generosity by welcoming a refugee population that will reach over a million people by the end of 2013. It has been working to make sure that the Syrians fleeing war have access to schooling, healthcare, and education even though the cost of providing these social services threatens to strain its budget. But the heroic nature of Lebanon’s reception of the refugees is best illustrated by the hidden costs of the unexpected increase in the population — a labor market overwhelmed by a newly arrived cheap workforce; reduced tourism and foreign investment; decreased spending by the native Lebanese who, overwhelmed by the influx of refugees, are less likely to go out and shop.
That is why we want to thank you for helping Lebanon offset some of the burdens it has had to bear by offering it financial assistance to deal with the refugees. While the U.S. cannot relieve the country of all the problems it has had to suffer as a result of the refugee crisis, this gesture of goodwill will hopefully show Lebanon that the international community recognizes and supports its generous humanitarian efforts.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: FreedomHouse via Flickr