Europe is struggling to deal with a continuing influx of refugees from the Middle East, and Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris has an unique offer: Give him the land, and he’ll invest $100 million to help them.
In his latest offer, made public in a Forbes article yesterday, Sawiris is offering $100 million and other aid to any government that will help him pick out land for a new community for refugees.
“Any government that will give me land, that will allow me to build on this land, I will do it,” he said. “I will spend $100 million.”
It may seem like a bizarre idea to let a businessman build a community for refugees, but it may take a bizarre idea, and the dogged personality behind it, to solve what has become a devastating crisis. Let’s be honest: Governments and other official channels have utterly failed.
The media, the governments, the NGOs, all have different names for them — refugees. Migrants. Illegal immigrants. Let us call it like it is: They’re people. They’re people fleeing unstable and dangerous situations in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, and the world, so far, has failed them.
According to the International Organization for Migration, over 184,000 people have arrived on the shores of Europe. 1,357 have died or are missing.
The governments have tried, but their attempts aren’t working and the influx of people is unlikey to slow until the countries they’re fleeing from have stabilized.
So it may be a harebrained idea, but maybe someone should take Sawiris up on it, or at least consider it. After all, he seems to be dead serious: This isn’t the first time he’s offered to take responsibility for some portion of the masses searching for a safe haven. Back in September, he offered to buy an island – or islands – from either Italy or Greece and build a community for refugees. Neither country took him up on the offer.
It remains to be seen whether anyone will take him up on this one. Seems like a pretty good use of $100 million if you ask us.
By Sallie Pisch
Its frustrating to see the Syrian refugees stranded and freezing in Greece while the Greek government doesn't respond to my island proposal!— Naguib Sawiris (@NaguibSawiris) March 7, 2016
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