Lydia Wilson is a research fellow at the Centre for the Resolution of Intractable Conflict at the University of Oxford and a senior fellow at the Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies, Graduate Center, City University New York. She is also an editor for the Cambridge Literary Review, and is working on a nonfiction book about violent extremism, The Banality of Terror. (January 2020)
Although the part Jordan has played as a war refugee destination has been less publicized, its contribution among Syria’s Arab neighbors has been extremely significant. Some estimates put the number of Syrian refugees there at 1.3 million. Here, then, is the future of Syria: the children in the big refugee camps and in the tented migrant communities, though too many of them are growing up without enough education, support, or even food. Yet in this constrained present, the parents’ hopes are invested in the future of their children. They want their children to study, maybe go to university, get professional qualifications, but there is a haziness about their ambitions for the next generation. It’s like getting to the West: a dream, perhaps a mirage.