"Basel" told us he is an amateur rapper, working on his physical therapy degree by day. He looked nothing like what you imagine when you think "refugee." He was not impoverished or racked with disease -- he was just a middle-class kid, like a whole bunch of you who are reading this right now. And then, this happened:
"It was almost 9 p.m. in the evening, and Assad [Syrian government forces] launched a Scud missile in the area. A lot of people in my town died; a lot of kids died. It was more than you can imagine. Blood everywhere. You can see hands over there, leg over there. You can see people cut in half. That's what happens in Syria."
Above: Basel didn't rap for us, but whatever he may lack in rhymes he makes up for in street cred.
There is currently backlash across Europe against taking in these refugees, because everyone imagines huddled masses of filthy people in rags, draining the system. And while there's no doubt that war hits those at the bottom the hardest, anyone can get hit. Many of the refugees we spoke to had college degrees, and some were working on PhDs. "I finished my baccalaureate in medicine, and I will study more in Germany," said a refugee named Ahmed. "I brought my documents with me -- I will translate all of them."
We spent most of our two days at the border buying water, fruit, food, toothpaste, etc. for anyone who'd take it. There were a ton of poor and very desperate people there who needed that kind of stuff. But our offers were turned down as often as not. All of the refugees we spoke with were desperate people, but many of them had plenty of cash: Their problems had everything to do with being forced to flee their homes and nothing to do with a lack of money.