The Fab Four | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, September 11, 2015 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, September 11, 2015


The Fab Four

If it wasn't for the grey skies and the chilly drizzle, I would have thought I'm somewhere in the Middle East. What I see at Covent Garden, London, is a harem of custom made, left hand driven Lamborghinis, Bugatis, Rolls Royces and Ferraris parked, all sporting custom number plates from the Fab Four – Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE and Qatar (ok, there was a fancy Range Rover too – the automobile equivalent of carrying coal to New Castle). And I thought parking in London was a nightmare. Apparently not for the sand birds. The rich not only fly themselves in to London on private jets, but also have their toys flown in to be flaunted around with us miskeens of all shades (yes, even the pure bred Brits) gathering around with dropped jaws. Finally, I empathise with the excited village kids in Bangladesh running after the reconditioned Toyota Corolla while being covered with dirt.

London is cool with sheikhs carrying their toys to its shores. London is not so cool with Syrian kids carrying their stuffed toys to its shores. Have to say that back in the day, the rest of the world was quite lenient at taking in Britain's imperial refugees on a really long term basis…

And then little Aylan Kurdi, lying face down on a beach in Turkey, melts the hearts of all (I think). David Cameron, the dad, is moved and steps up to take in more of the distressed. He also hopes to win support to launch attacks on [Syrian] people traffickers. Gee! There goes the only exit route from the Syrian conflict… 

Others open up their arms. New Zealand offers to take in 450 Syrian refugees – over three years. Still a handsome number considering it is 450 more than the intake by the Fab Four combined from having been too busy at Covent Garden. Short-sightedness considering the finite life of black gold? Camels to Cadillacs and back to camels, sooner than you think? Quite the contrary. These four countries are far-sighted enough to have not signed the UN's 1951 Refugee Convention, which means a refugee entering these countries would need a visa. Bingo!

But in all fairness, they HAVE contributed to the Syrian cause by heavily financing the war machines there. Well, I did say, a 'cause'…  

Meanwhile, the EU faces its acid test on the question of sharing the burden of hosting the tidal wave of refugees. Well, the richer members have accommodated the work force of the less affluent ones on a walk-in basis. Probably not illogical now for the richer, humanitarian states led by Germany and Sweden to ask the others to share the burden of hosting the refugees. Or did you guys (poorer EU members) think that it was all a one way street? Tut, tut! With greater powers, comes greater bills – don't we in Bangladesh know that from electrical power and our recent price hikes? So, Hungary, be nice. Remember 1956, when the world took in 200,000 of your refugees following the Hungarian Revolution, aka, Soviet crackdown?

We are all struggling refugees on this planet stemming from the Forbidden Apple in the Garden of Eden. And there are a whopping 196 countries on this planet, ok, 193 minus Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, where we all, not just the EU, need to accommodate a 'mere' few million. It is not how much one has, but how much one cares. Let us turn our grief into long term planning to solve the problem.

The writer is an engineer at Ford & Qualcomm USA and CEO of IBM & Nokia Siemens Networks Bangladesh turned comedian (by choice), the host of NTV's The Naveed Mahbub Show and the founder of Naveed's Comedy Club. E-mail:

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