A 2013 premonitory interview of the anthropologist Susanne Schmelter, founding member of Diversiflora International, about Syrian refugees in Lebanon.
With more than every fifth person in Lebanon being a Syrian refugee as well as a strict non-camp policy, the refugees’ living conditions differ a lot. Moreover Lebanese politics are highly intertwined with the conflict in neighbouring Syria. While the country has a very weak government, it has a strong presence of supra-national organisations and a very diverse scene of non-governmental organisations, reaching from international and local organisations over Syrian grassroots initiatives to mainly Gulf-financed Islamic charities. Initially, the research focused primarily on the interplay of different humanitarian actors in dealing with the Syrian displacement in Lebanon. Though, in this regard, humanitarianism can be reconstructed as a field of social and political struggles, humanitarian approaches focus generally on needs and not on political demands for more rights. Experiences in Beirut suggested that resistance towards the humanitarian regime was rather to be found at its margins, where its rationalities where rejected. In this sense attempts to cross the European border regime can also be read as acts that challenge logics of humanitarian government and regional containment.
2013. Syrian refugees in Lebanon are fighting to survive (in German).
2015. Schmelter, S. Research Report from Lebanon. Perspectives of anthropological research in the area of conflict between humanitarianism, containment and resistance movements. Journal on research for critical migration and border regime. (in German)
Perspektiven anthropologischer Forschung im Spannungsfeld zwischen Humanitarismus, Containment und Widerständigkeit. movements. Journal für kritische Migrations-und Grenzregimeforschung, 1(1) (in German).