Puma Press

Broadcast veteran Aaron Brown comments on Syrian refugee crisis


"Nothing is more miserable than the existence of a refugee," said Aaron Brown, former CNN newscaster and Walter Cronkite Professor at Arizona State University.

Briefly, Brown spoke about the Middle East situation including Syria's crisis, the refugee problem and his favorite places in the Middle East.

"What happens now in Syria is a tragedy," Brown explained. The regime in Damascus an entrenched dictatorship, and some of the opposition includes al-Qaeda and al-Jihad, which are democrats. They are bound simply by hatred of the regime.

Brown’s career in broadcasting spans 35 years, including anchor spots on ABC and CNN. He has covered important world events, such as the Iraqi and Bosnian wars, Haiti's revolution and Indonesia's Tsunami.

As a political analyst, Brown says the conflict between the regime and the opposition in Syria makes the United State’s involvement difficult. He thinks conflict arises when the U.S. considers sending money and weapons as they did to Afghanistan in the 1980s, which may ultimately be used against Americans.

Brown said refugees' stories have impressed him. "Nothing is more miserable than the existence as a refugee," he said. "I did the refugees’ story in Jordan about the Palestinians. I also did a documentary in Damascus and Amman about the Iraqi refugees, and they didn't have a camp."

For him the story of refugees is not simply about the Middle East, it is also about Africa and a lot of other places over the century. 

From his point of view as a political analyst, the crisis in the Middle East will continue until people there have had enough. Brown said, “It seems pretty clear to me that…the sides don't believe enough people have died. When the sides get to a point where they believe enough people have died, then they will think to find resolution." 

From his experience, Brown proposes his students simply show a bunch of miserable people when reporting on stories like the Syrian refugee crisis. He says that people in the world, have to see why the Syrian people need care. Most people here in this country have trouble finding Syria on the map.

Away from the Middle East conflicts, Brown said Jerusalem is his favorite place to visit as a tourist. He loves to visit Beirut, too. For story assignments, he likes to visit Amman.

"There is no place in the world that I know that has the same historical confluences as Jerusalem,” Brown says. “You can walk around and go matching what it was like 2,000 years ago. It is an amazing confluence of history and modern life.”

Brown’s passion for broadcasting has led to awards for his journalistic achievement, including the Edward R. Murrow Award for his coverage of 9/11, three Emmys, a DuPont, two New York Film Society medals and a George Foster Peabody Award.