How Jordanians feel about Syrian Refugees: A Conversation with André Bank (S. 5, Ep. 10)

pablo-17On this week’s podcast, Marc Lynch speaks with André Bank, a senior research fellow at the German Institute for Global and Area Studies (GIGA), who studies how Jordan is dealing with the influx of Syrian refugees by looking at how Jordanians perceive the Syrian crisis and how it shapes their political economies.

“Jordan is doing a relatively good job with the Syrian refugees when compared to Lebanon or northern Iraq.” However, Banks says, “The Jordanian state still upholds the image that the Syrians ultimately will return….though it seems as though the Syrians will be there for the longterm, so solutions will need to be found.”

“We’ve visited schools and seen some resentment from Jordanians— the school teachers now have to teach double shifts— it’s usually the case that Jordanian kids go in the morning and Syrian kids go in the afternoon for three hours — if the go at all. Roughly half of Syrian kids go to Jordanian schools.”

This resentment has bonded Jordanians of different heritage. “When you look at this historically, in the mid-2000s, with an influx of Iraqis you had similar tendencies [to today, with Syrian refugees]. Palestinian-Jordanians and Jordanian-Jordanians bonded against the Iraqis. It seems whenever a new group of refugees comes to a place like Jordan, you have some of these discourses against them. But, in a country like Jordan, these exclusionary discourses remain verbal and almost never leave to direct violent action.”

Music for this season’s podcast was created by Feras Arrabi. You can find more of his work on his Facebook and Instagram page.

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Read more from Bank:

Auf Dauer in Schwebe? Syrische Flüchtlinge in der Türkei und im Libanon, in: Margret Johannesen / Bruno Schoch / Max M. Mutschler / Corinna Hauswedell / Jochen Hippler (eds.), Friedensgutachten 2016, Münster: Lit, 101-113