The Big Debate

In most cases, it would be foolish for someone to attribute their success to solely themselves. The human race has persevered the way it has, because of our will to lend a hand, triggered by feelings like sympathy and love. If there is one thing everyone can agree upon, it is that we are in a tricky time in the world. Every country has its own problems. Syria is seeing its worst humanitarian crisis yet. It is imperative help is sent in all or any means possible. Many countries have been taking in Syrian refugees for about two and a half  years now. As 2016 drew to a bloody close in Syria and the government took back control over eastern Aleppo, over 4.95m Syrian refugees continued to seek safety and a means of living a dignified life across the Middle East. There are 2.8m Syrians currently registered in Turkey, over a million in Lebanon, and around 656,000 in Jordan. To put this figure into context, in the so-called European “refugee crisis” a total of 884,461 Syrian refugees applied for asylum in Europe between April 2011 and October 2016.

The terrorist attacks in Paris that took place in November 2015 along with other attacks around the world, have sparked political debate within Europe, naturally, and the United States especially during 2015-16 with the Obama administration’s plan to admit Syrian refugees. Bloomberg Politics poll conducted a survey, just a week after the Paris bombings, and found that 53% said the United States shouldn’t be accepting refugees. Republicans have been very vocal of their disapproval. President-elect Donald Trump is one good example. He has continually expressed in the past his distrust for the people suggesting it could be a way for terrorists to sneak in saying :”This could be one of the great Trojan horses.” He has even gone as far as to say that some mosques should be shut down because he doesn’t trust the teachings of some of them. This has led to the spread of what is known as “Islamophobia.” We can trace its beginnings to September 11, 2001. Many argue that the conditions in the Middle East cannot be taken responsibility for by other countries. Not to mention refugees will consume resources that are already scarce like jobs, housing, etc. and provide no benefits to a host country.

This is how we see it. Passing an executive order to suspend admission of people from countries like Syria (“Muslim Ban”) only gives evidence that the United States is hostile towards Syrian refugees and Muslims. Taking in refugees hurts the Islamic State because they will then have less desperate people they can use and manipulate. Refugees can also contribute to the fight against the Islamic State in highly valuable ways. During the Iraq War, for example, 50,000 Iraqis aided the US by being interpreters or informants. Cutting off refugees would abandon America’s commitment to them. It should also be kept in mind that, women and children, that is, women of all ages and boys under the age of 12, account for about 70% of all Syrian refugees. Children are twice as likely to die of malnutrition and women suffer torture like rape.

Whether you think Muslims are taught to be filled with hatred or not, being aware of Syria’s war should prompt you to feel devastated. Their lives shouldn’t be considered unworthy of your help. The best solution for the victims, is simply having them taken out from Syria into a host country because it completely eliminates the risk of death to the Syrians from bombings, shootings and abuse. But whether you think Syrian refugees pose a threat to others or not, you can still help the ones afflicted in Syria. According to the UN Refugee Agency, 6.5 million people are displaced within Syria (which also happens to be the biggest internally displaced population in the world.) There are many great organisations working to help the ones in Syria who are barely meeting their basic physiological needs and are homeless. After all, donating doesn’t move the Syrians across borders. Quick donate links and blog posts about some of these organisations are available here.