Naief’s graffiti has had an effect on our world similar to the assassin’s bullet fired in Sarajevo at the outbreak of the First World War. Without Naief’s act of teenage impetuousness – and the Assad regime’s violent reaction to it – would the extremist caliphate have been declared? Would the refugee crisis be on the scale it is now? Would the United Kingdom – spurred by campaign posters of streams of refugees heading north – have voted to leave the European Union? Would the anti-immigrant message of Donald Trump – who has spoken, without evidence, of possible “Trojan horses” among the Syrian refugees accepted into the United States – have resonated quite so deeply with the American electorate?
The author was not about for that day or the reaction in Sarajevo. So in order to use the words he did correctly much would be required.
I am very much of the opinion that such expositional paragraphs do more harm than good. The reader can (and will) situate the article in their context if you lay things out well.
If they are well read on Brexit, they can make a refugee connection if they will, if they are more well read on the brutish, infantile level of course in the United States, they can relate the information given to them with what they know. Readers know the word and the concept of a refugee crops up in different corners.
This paragraph nearly ruined an otherwise solid narrative. Not everything has to create a hash mark along the arc of history, not everything has to be fitted for the reader into grand global narratives. Really few things should be. If the writing and the journalism is strong, it will justify itself on matters of relevance. And besides, if such grand narratives really need to be regurgitated within a particular one, it can be done more artfully.