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SHOCKING: You will not believe what the Syrian refugees own? How dare they? .....

I am of course being sarcastic just weeks ago the anti-immigration brigade were complaining that migrants are unskilled and just want our benefits. And now they’re arguing that migrants are too wealthy instead, implicitly arguing we should prioritise helping the poor.

Migrants take a selfie while waiting for a bus to Austria

“Hey, those people fleeing war in Syria aren’t poor at all! Look, they all have smartphones!” is one increasingly tedious complaint that has been bubbling away on social media recently. Owning a mobile phone, it seems, should render one ineligible for help when trying to stop themselves and their families from dying in a war.
On the surface this may look like xenophobia searching for something to grab on to following a shift in the public mood towards refugees from the Middle East. But it is actually a fairly progressive stance: just weeks ago the anti-immigration brigade were complaining that migrants are unskilled and just want our benefits. And now they’re arguing that migrants are too wealthy instead, implicitly arguing we should prioritise helping the poor. But in any case, it does raise an interesting question: Exactly how surprised should we be that people from Syria carry smartphones?

Syria is not a rich country, but it is not a poor country either: it ranks as a “lower middle income” according to the World Bank. In 2007 (the last year stats for both were available) Syria had a Gross National Income (GNI) per capita of $1850 which is more than Egypt at the time, which was only at $1620. Mobile phone penetration is similarly high in Syria as Egypt too. According to the CIA World Factbook in 2014 Syria had 87 mobile phones per 100 of the population, compared to Egypt’s 110 per 100 (the UK has 123 per 100 people).
http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/surprised-that-syrian-refugees-have-smartphones-well-sorry-to-break-this-to-you-but-youre-an-idiot-10489719.html?cmpid=facebook-post



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