After spending time on the ground covering the refugee crisis in Europe, our Fox News team was struck by the desperation of the situation :
- Mothers pushing baby carriages through the mud of a refugee camp.
- Fathers slinging children over their shoulders like sacks of potatoes as they walk along railroad tracks.
We were stunned by the determination and the dignity of the migrants, often after making weeks-long treks amid the most dire circumstances.
- Lines of men and women filing silently onto buses, destination unknown.
But we were also stunned by the determination and the dignity of the migrants, often after making weeks-long treks amid the most dire circumstances.
Like the man we spoke with from Syria. A suicide bomber had struck near his home in Damascus. He took his wife and young daughters to a refugee camp in Lebanon. When aid dwindled to almost nothing he decided they should come to Europe.
“My girls haven’t been in school for two years,” he told me. “They’re 8 and 9 and they can’t even write their names. They’re missing the most important time of their lives.”
Or another man we encountered amid an extended family of a dozen people, men and women, young and old. They had come from war-torn Afghanistan and now were in the custody of Hungarian authorities after illegally crossing the border.
“They were bad times,” the man told me. “We survived the Taliban… …and we survived ISIS.” And then, with two Hungarian policemen standing a few feet away, he looked around and gave me a sign, indicating that they would survive this as well.
Experts we spoke with on the ground told us that European countries and the European Union had to come up with a strong and unified response to the refugee challenge.
We watched as policy among various countries involved shifted seemingly on a daily basis.
Likewise, the U.S. and the West has been called on to better fund the sprawling refugee camps in the countries around Syria. Many of the refugees are not fleeing fighting as much as destitution.
Finally, many we hear from agree that the entire international community has to deal with the ugly war in Syria itself, the main source of the refugee outflow. The victims of those clashes are now impossible to ignore.
Like another man told us as he went on his difficult way:
“We just want a new life. That’s all we’re asking for. A life.”
Greg Palkot currently serves as a London-based senior foreign affairs correspondent for Fox News Channel (FNC). He joined the network in 1998 as a correspondent. Follow him on Twitter@GregPalkot.