Democracy Now! - September 9, 2015

The United Nations is now estimating at least 850,000 people are expected to cross the Mediterranean this year and next, seeking refuge in Europe to escape violence and unrest in Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, sub-Saharan Africa and other regions. Already 366,000 people have arrived in Europe this year. Earlier today, the president of the European Commission called on European Union member states to accept a total of 160,000 asylum seekers from war-torn countries. We speak to Annette Groth, member of the German Parliament and spokeswoman for human rights for the Left Party. She just returned last week from a trip to Hungary, where she saw thousands of migrants stranded at the Budapest train station. "What is the root for this massive migration?" Groth asks. "It is war, it is terror, and it is the former U.S. government who is accountable for it."

Under a new European Commission proposal, quotas would be set for all 22 nations across Europe to take in a total of 160,000 refugees. Germany, which supports quotas, has already said it can accept half a million refugees each year. Many other European nations — including Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland — have opposed a compulsory system. We speak to former European Commission adviser Philippe Legrain, who recently wrote a piece titled "Open Up, Europe! Let Migrants In" on how Europe could benefit from an influx of refugees.

The United Nations has described the Syrian refugee crisis as the "biggest humanitarian emergency of our era." More than 4 million Syrians have fled the country, and millions more are displaced inside the country. We speak to Syrian-American community organizer Sarab Al-Jijakli, who is calling on the United States to accept more Syria refugees. So far only 1,500 Syrian refugees have been resettled in the United States.

The United Nations estimates that 4 million Syrians are displaced outside the country’s borders by the ongoing war. Today, we speak to one of these refugees: 23-year-old Zaher Majzoub, who fled Syria after finishing his degree in business administration at a university in Damascus. His months-long journey included first traveling to Turkey and then traversing the Mediterranean en route to Greece by boat. Along the way, his overcrowded boat took on water, inspiring Zaher to jump overboard because he was one of the few who knew how to swim, and he feared for the lives of the women and children. From Greece, he continued his journey to reach Vienna, hoping eventually to reach England. We speak with Zaher and Erik Leidal, a volunteer with the community-run relief group Train of Hope in Vienna.

On Monday, a single-day record 7,000 Syrian refugees arrived in the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia. We go to the Macedonian-Greek border to speak with Gabriela Andreevska, one of key organizers who has been working on the ground for the last four months to provide food, transportation and medicine to refugees crossing the border.

Full episodes of Democracy Now! can be viewed at the link:

Amy Goodman Democracy Now! Europe Refugee Crisis Refuggee Crisis War

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