Instagram accounts make a mockery of refugee crisis

Instagram accounts make a mockery of refugee crisis
3 min read
15 Mar, 2016
A number of Instagram accounts are taking extreme measures, deemed offensive by many, to shed light on the world's refugee crisis.
The current refugee crisis is the most severe since second world war [Getty] describes itself as a modelling agency scouting "hot Syrians" fleeing war and poverty.

The website is of course an attempt at tongue-in-cheek satire about Europe's refugee crisis.

While tens of thousands of Syrians, Iraqis and Afghanis attempt to reach Europe - and many dying along the way - many social media have been outraged by the idea.

Laughing at the plight of those who have lost everything is of course a privilege for the more fortunate.

Such websites have come under attack from pro-refugee and anti-racism campaigners. But the creator says the website's intention is not to mock the terrible situation refugees attempting to reach Europe face.

"Many people think bad [things] about refugees and are afraid of them," the creator told The New Arab.

"But I want to show the world that there are attractive and sympathetic refugees [...which could] improve the image of refugees."

The website shows a very Orientalist streak in its description, even if not intentional: 

"There's a lot of controversy surrounding these poor Syrian refugees trying to find a new life in Germany. Will they be attacked by right-wing German nationalists? Will they destroy the public system? Will they try to impose their sharia law on Europe and attempt to create an Islamic state?" it asks.

"One thing is certain: things are about to get a lot sexier in Europe, because these Syrians are hot, hot, hot."

Although it is certainly poor taste and misjudged stab at parody, there is at least a more serious element to it.

A link on the website leads to a UNCHR global Kickstarter campaign to raise money for refugees, and could ultimately save lives.

In addition to the website, Hot Refugees also has a popular Instagram account.

This week, another Instagram account called Hot Migrants received widespread lashing when it surfaced on international media outlets.

While some social media users seemed to enjoy the images, others were quick to denounce the page.

One user described the makers as being part of a "sick world", while another said "not sure how I feel about this account. Here comes the day when men are objectified".

"HOW IS THIS FUNNY. DELETE", another angry user commented.

"Ok he is really cute- the bio is hilarious. I do feel bad about their situation tho [sic]"

"I'll give him a passport", another commented. Many believe the campaign has highlighted an Orientalist streak in mainstream European culture - where once women when objectified now it is "outsiders".

"People only care about the refugee crisis when it's reduced to the language of popular culture."

"Very disheartening to see our struggle reduced to this. However now that we're engaged, let's put our frustrations with the exploitation of our brothers and sisters to good use behind some organisations doing the work," @casa_libre commented.