Thursday, November 19, 2015

As Human Beings, We Cannot Turn Away Syrian Refugees

In the 1940's when the family of nations turned their backs to refugees, millions of them died. In the 1970's when nations turned their backs to Cambodian refugees, millions of them died. I would like to live in a world that does not do this again.

Taken Without Permission from Facebook - Ralia, 7, and Rahaf, 13, in Beirut, Lebanon
Ralia, 7, and Rahaf, 13, live on the streets of Beirut. They are from Damascus, where a grenade killed their mother and brother. Along with their father they have been sleeping rough for a year. They huddle close together on their cardboard boxes. Rahaf says she is scared of “bad boys,” at which Ralia starts crying.
Copyright - Magnus Wennman / Aftonbladet / REX Shutterstock

I have not had time to write for this blog lately.  I have more I want to say, and this topic requires much more, but this is the essence of what I want to say.

We cannot make the world a better place by allowing millions of people to die for want of a home.  We cannot make the world a better place by closing our hearts and borders to refugees.

In the wake of the Paris attacks, it seems that far too many people want to just let the Aegean Sea swallow the waves of desperate humanity.  Closing our eyes and hearts to the suffering of other humans will not make us safer.  And denying succor to those refugees is a betrayal of fundamental humanity.

On a coldly practical level, one can certainly argue that allowing Muslims to die by the millions will be a great marketing campaign for ISIS.  If one wanted to hurry along a planet razing clash of civilizations that dwarfed any previous conflict in human history, aiding in the dying of helpless Muslims would be a good way to go about it.  So in the interest of the survival of our society, pure self interest should motivate you to support helping the refugees.

But we should not need to look at the political costs of abandoning humanity to understand that we cannot abandon our humanity.

There are 60 million human beings displaced right now.  Our climate is in flux.  War is rendering millions homeless.  At no time since the end of WWII have more people been displaced.  We owe it to the world's refugees to help them.  Not because of what it means for us.  Not because of politics.  But because they are humans.

Turning our backs on the refugees is a way of murdering them.   Turning our backs on millions of Syrians would be an act of negligent genocide.

The Syrian refugees, and all the other people fleeing from horrors, are people.  That should be all the reason you need to know that you cannot abandon them.

1 comment:

  1. The, unfortunate. argument against the coldly practical argument about why it is in most political entities' interest to help the refugees is that the clash of civilizations is more than a generation away. Hastening its coming will not make it happen any sooner than at least a generation away. This temporal problem makes it very difficult for most modern political entities to consider the future costs or benefits of an action today, but those same political entities are very keen on what the present costs or benefits are.