How much do you really know about refugees? Do you know who they are? Why they’re in this position? What is being done to help them?
Refugees are people fleeing war and violence in their homeland.
Imagine that you have a family, lets say nine kids and a wife, and you are responsible for their safety and well being. You live in Syria and have a good life, you have a steady job and work hard to provide for your family. Then war breaks out. There are bombings and people you know are dying. Family members, cousins and uncles, dead. Your children are being exposed to horrific violence and chaos. If you and your family don’t leave, you could be next. So what do you do? You have to flee. You make the difficult journey to a refugee camp. A lot of people don’t want you and your family. You have to keep going. Sometimes sex trafficking and abuse is the only way in, some people don’t make the journey or are killed along the way. Once you get to the camp, your voice is gone. You don’t have a say in what happens to you. You can’t leave the camp, you can’t work, you don’t know if your kids are ever going to see outside the camp walls. Can you imagine that future for your children? Never knowing when you will be moved to a better place, just having to wait.
What if I told you this is a true story of a refugee family that fled to the Zaatari refugee camp? And that there are millions of people living out this reality? Would you want to help?
Many people don’t. People are scared of refugees and believe that they pose a threat. They look at the situation as “us” vs “them”. What makes refugees so different from you and I? Is it the country they come from? The violence and hate they have had to endure? These people are not terrorists. They are being forced out of their homeland.
Refugees entering the United States already have to go through an extreme vetting process in which it could take years to be accepted into the country. It is actually harder to be admitted as a refugee then as an immigrant. Trump’s executive order is supposedly to heighten the screening of refugees and protect Americans. However, out of the countries listed in the ban, none of their refugees have produced terrorism on American soil. So what is the purpose of this freeze in immigration and halting of acceptance of refugees? Are we going to start taking less and less refugees? They already have to sit in camps for decades, how long are we going to make them feel like unwanted, undesirable, nuisances?
Last year Obama proposed that 110,000 refugees be resettled in the fiscal year of 2017 (October to September). So far, 30,000 have arrived in the United States. There was an urge to get as many into the country before January (for obvious reasons) and now, because the accepted number has lowered to 50,000, the United States will only be taking 20,000 more for the remainder of the year. That means that 60,000 refugees who were told they were finally going to get their family out of the refugee camp and start a life for themselves, now have to sit and wait until they’re told otherwise. This is unacceptable. There are so many who need help and we should do all that we can to get them out of their current situation of barely surviving. As a country, we need to do more. We need to be empathetic. Try to picture yourself in these families shoes and recognize that they CAN’T go back home and we CAN provide a solution.
Spread the word. Read their stories. Advocate for those without a voice.
As Hannah Arednt stated, “Only fame will eventually answer the repeated complaint of refugees of all social strata that ‘nobody knows who I am’; and it is true that the chances of the famous refugees are improved, just as a dog with a name has a better chance to survive than a stray dog who is just a dog in general”