Icelanders school their PM on solidarity with Syrian refugees

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That’s nice.

Check with Sweden first though.


Why should they check with Sweden exactly?

Sweden is the country in Europe with the most Syrian refugees compared to the population. It is difficult for the officials and volunteers to handle them humanely and ordered.
One consequence are rising xenophobic crimes (and probably more crime in general, refugee housings in Germany were vandalized and inhabitants injured because of violence between different groups of asylum-seekers).

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It’s no coincidence that people who are afraid of muslims immigrating/claiming refugee status have a poor grasp of geography and mathematics. One of their biggest fears is that their “way of life” will be irreversibly changed for the worse by the refugees.

There are, give or take, about 4 million refugees from Syria and Iraq outside their borders. Let’s leave aside for a moment that they’re not all muslim, that some are hoping to return home one day, that many will stay in Jordan or Lebanon regardless. Let’s assume they’re all muslim and have no desire to go home. Let’s even assume that they hold fairly conservative values.

The combined population of Europe, Canada and the US, otherwise known as the Western World is about 1.1 billion people. So these refugees represent ~0.4% of the population, give or take. To be fair that would be a substantial, albeit temporary boost to population growth in those countries. But it’s not a radical alteration of those countries demographics. Based on math alone, we can see that fears about losing a so-called way of life are far overblown. To say nothing of the benefits that refugees themselves might bring.


Right. But in this case 10,000 Icelanders are saying they’ll bring people into their own homes. Hardly a comparison to Sweden and Germany which are temporarily housing refugees in mass shelters with less than ideal conditions. Though it should also be said that Germans have turned out in droves to welcome and help the migrants. Every society will have xenophobes, it’s up to everyone else to reject that negativity and do something positive.


The UNHCR counts currently 60 million forcibly displaced persons (afaik the statistic includes only refugees out of their home countries). A often shared image in the German Twittersphere made some exemplary calculations for the number of residence permits that should be granted by Germany:

Germany's share permits for refugees population 1.12 % 0.68 million economy 4.91 % 2.95 million wealth 5.8 % 3.48 million weapon exports 11 % 6.6 million

I’m in the wealth camp, the distribution of assets is imho the most important issue here.

I am pretty sure that very few of the current crop of refugees will want to go to Iceland. Hundreds are now fleeing Finland because of the weather and lack of decent nightclubs. I think it speaks to a fundamental misunderstanding of who the current refugees are, and the incorrect assumption that they are like past refugees. A person who quits their job in Pakistan, and spends 40.000 Euros to get to Europe, does not want to sleep on your couch and wear your cast off clothing.


Both of these strike me as odd. Especially the second one sounds more like an adoption offer than a temporary housing one, to me at least.

Re-reading the first one gives me less angst now. I guess I’m just trying to say that both of these seem oddly conditional.

Iceland’s fertility rate was just under 1.9 live births per woman as of 2014. While I’m sure that the people offering up their homes for refugees have genuinely altruistic goals, the country also desperately needs more young residents to prevent long-term economic collapse.


That’s fascinating. That gives some context, so I revise my opinion now to (some of) their offer(s) being driven largely by self-interest.

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I have no idea whether any of the individuals involved are motivated by self-interest, but accepting more immigrants is certainly in Iceland’s long-term national interest. The same is true for the rest of Europe unless they either get busy making more babies or give up any possibility of retirement.

That’s also one of the reasons I think the anti-immigration crowd in the U.S. is so off base—the U.S. fertility rate isn’t any higher. The only think keeping our population from dropping (and economy from collapsing) is the steady influx of people who want to live here. Luckily for us “California” is an easier sell for most migrants than “Hafnarfjörður.”


So they can tell them how “scary” MOOOSLIMS are? /s


The 60 million number includes internally displaced people (i.e. those within their own country, about 38.2 million according to UNHCR). Granted, many of those people may eventually become refugees if things don’t improve. The strict number of refugees at the end of 2014 was 19.5 million, including the 5.1 million Palestinian refugees. The number is probably substantially larger now though. I was referring to the current migrant crisis (i.e. people who are risking their lives actively trying to get to Europe and beyond).

A real striking UNHCR number for me was that >50% of refugees are under the age of 18.

I see no reason to be suspicious of these offers. I think a barrier to action for many people is the lack of flexibility offered by their governments.

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I might be overly skeptical. No harm intended.

Agreed that these offers seem more friendly than the government’s.

Even if their motives aren’t entirely pure, they would still likely result in a net positive.

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