This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

If you are a user of my textbook and would like to suggest a blog post idea, please email me at: john.weeks@sdsu.edu

Thursday, December 26, 2013

2013 Was an Historic Year for Refugees--and That's Not a Good Thing

As 2013 winds down, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has taken stock of the year and concluded--just on the basis of data for the first half of the year!!--that 2013 will likely be the worst on record for refugees and internally displaced persons.
Figures for the first half of the year already show it to be one of the worst periods in decades for people fleeing violence. The biggest cause of new displacement is the fighting in Syria, which shows no sign of abating.
Syrians accounted for eight out of 10 new refugees – people who cross a border to seek safety. Tens of thousands of people also fled violence in Sudan, Central African Republic, Mali, Democratic Republic of Congo and Somalia.
The number of refugees fleeing their countries in 2013 may turn out to be the highest since the Rwandan genocide in 1994, the report says.
As the long and devastating civil war plays out in Syria, I couldn't help but think here at Christmas time about the long and devastating war close by geographically, but separated by two thousand years, as the Jewish population of Judea tried to rid itself of Roman rule. This didn't turn out well, of course, and the Wikepedia entry concludes that "[T]he Jewish–Roman wars had an epic impact on the Jews, turning them from a major population in the Eastern Mediterranean into a scattered and persecuted minority."

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