i don’t usually talk politics in this space, but i’ve been thinking about it so much lately that it is natural for it to spill over…
the attacks in paris and beirut sicken me. my heart hurts for them. i can’t imagine the fear they must have felt and still feel now. but the way our country (and especially my state) has reacted to the syrian immigrants also sickens me. for months, i have watched and read about the crisis there. it didn’t become real to me until i saw a documentary on netflix called e-team almost a year ago. i knew things were bad, but i didn’t really understand it until i saw it with my own eyes. they are real people. men, women, children. they care about their families and friends just like i do. they want freedom like i have. they want a better life for themselves.
and then i started seeing pictures from national geographic on instagram and facebook. click HERE and HERE and HERE for a few. they posted a photo essay on the people fleeing syria. there was on picture in particular that stuck with me. it was of a little boy who had drowned off the coast of greece. he would have looked almost peaceful, but he was facedown, and his neck and arms were laying at an awkward angle. i couldn’t get it out of my head for days…
america has always been a haven for immigrants. a safe haven. yes, there have been times, recently and in the past, when we have treated immigrants with contempt and hatred. but we have to learn from these mistakes and move forward. we have an opportunity to help these poor, poor people who have suffered through many harsh dictatorships, a terrorist organization destroying their country and its history, famine sweeping through, religious persecution, and more. they deserve better. we have a responsibility to be open to them.
now, some people would say…what about the safety issues? couldn’t one or more of them be a terrorist coming into the country?
of course. but that’s the reality of today’s world. right now, there are terrorists within and outside of the united states borders. they’re just waiting for their chance to do harm to us in one way or another.
in the meantime, there are people just like you and me – mothers, sisters, children – that are hoping, just hoping for a chance at a better life. a life without bombs and religious persecution and dictators. a life that offers freedom and education and opportunity. we can give it to them. we have the power to change their lives and to change the future.
i don’t know what the solution is. i know that settlement programs cost money and time. and i really do understand the safety concerns. maybe i’m naive and too soft-hearted. but the world is changing constantly. and these people need help now.