Refugee Fear

Mercy Corps

Back in 2012, when I was still living in the States, I remember listening to the news about the people of Syria. Extremists were slaughtering hundreds of innocent women and children daily. Slaughtering. Innocence. Maybe it was because I had recently lost my mother, but this really upset and bothered me. I mentioned to several people that I didn’t understand why the U.S. or other countries weren’t helping these people. One of my friends asked, “Why should we?” In return, I said, “Because it’s the right thing to do. It isn’t any different from the Holocaust. We’re still talking about the horrors of the Nazi regime, which took place over 70-years ago, yet the horrors are still taking place today. Countries should be in there stopping these mass killings.”

Fast forward to 2015, and people are pissed, and oppose taking in refugees. I say to all citizens in the U.S. and Europe, turn your anger toward your government. If all these governments hadn’t sat on their asses for years now, letting the extremists build in strength and slaughter thousands, the people of Syria wouldn’t have left their homes. Other countries wouldn’t be arguing over taking in refugees. Wouldn’t it be smart to put out the fire instead of people fleeing and other countries feeling an economic strain?

Quick facts about the Syria crisis:

In the U.S.

I have spoken to several people in the U.S. regarding the refugee crisis. They heard how Germany had taken in hundreds of thousands, and could sympathize with Germans who oppose the refugee migration.

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The one thing that really bothers me is when people claim fear as a reason to refuse refugees into the country because some might be terrorists. But terrorists are the least of the U.S. problems. Obama and past presidents keep talking about the horrors of mass shootings yet haven’t taken action. One should think we would have woken up after Columbine and the government should have made it a priority. Sandy Hook. Twenty killed and the others scarred for life. Government should start working on the important issues: gun control, gangs, mental illness, and illegal immigration.

Instead, mass shootings increase each year. Shootings are considered a mass shooting if 4 or more are shot and/or killed, not including the shooter. In 2015, there were over 300 mass shootings in the U.S. 367 killed and 1,317 injured.

Since 9/11, there were nine terrorist attacks in the U.S. 46 killed and 321 injured.

The fear of refugee terrorists doesn’t have much validity when you look at the bigger picture. Just like Donald Trump doesn’t have much validity, but is using fear to gain ground in politics. He is suggesting the outrageous because … well, he is outrageous, just look at his hair. When we give into fear, we will wind up imploding.

The problem isn’t the refugees coming into the country, but militant extremists who had left to fight with ISIS then returned. Those people are a threat to national security, not the ones running for their lives. Make it known to all U.S. citizens and permanent residents that if anyone travels to extremist countries, they will not be allowed into the U.S. for a year and will be monitored. This doesn’t affect their rights because we already do this for diseases. Citizens are tested and quarantined regarding outbreaks, such as Ebola. Terrorism is an outbreak too.

In Germany

Merriam Webster’s definition of refugee

“one that flees; especially :  a person who flees to a foreign country or power to escape danger or persecution ref·u·gee·ism play -ˌi-zəm noun

I have a friend who isn’t happy about the refugee crisis. She doesn’t care for Angela Merkel, especially her decision to open Germany’s borders to the  refugees. My friend and I were discussing the refugees in Germany. She started complaining about Romanians where she lives, who throw their garbage all over the place. I stopped her and said that Romanians are part of the EU. They are allowed to live in Germany as long as they can earn their keep. If not, then the government sends them back. It’s not fair or correct to lump them in with refugees. These people didn’t want to leave their countries, but had to for their own safety. They’d love to go back home. On top of suffering through the elements to get to safer lands, there are anti-refugee groups in Germany wreaking havoc on some refugee camps.

I understand the frustration (U.S. has their own welfare issues) knowing some people migrate to Germany to live off the welfare system, but those are EU migrants taking advantage of the situation. Germany has taken in around 1.1 million refugees (Syrian, Afghanistan, and Iraq). Due to slow processing, others have hopped on the coat tails of the refugees.

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It’s taking so long to process these refugees, but it’s partly the local government’s fault. Where I go for my German Visa, the offices are only opened until noon, except for one day. Maybe if they extended their hours during this crisis, the processing of refugees would move much faster. Plus, tweaking the policies a bit to fit the crisis would help too. While they’re waiting, give these people some community work for a small compensation, so they’re not sitting around day in and day out. It would help them get to know where they’re at and spruce up the city. Trust me, there’s lots of garbage all over the place that could be cleaned up.

On top of slow processing, it’s mandatory for all children and teens to attend school. My husband is teaching German to one refugee class, and the school is receiving two more classes, but other teachers are teaching Physics, Math, etc. Some of my husband’s colleagues can’t believe how clueless the refugees are in their subjects. Really? How the hell is anyone supposed to take different courses when they don’t even understand the language? Concentrate on teaching German, integrate them into society, and then worry about other subjects.

Photo by Alkis Konstantinidis/Reuters

The refugee crisis is frightening because of the sheer numbers pouring in. But governments, who we all vote for, are responsible for keeping us safe, along with taking care of those in desperate need. That’s why we vote for them, so we should also hold them accountable. Don’t point your finger at someone who is struggling, when chaos occurs because of poor government choices, planning, and organization.

Humanity and Understanding,
Baer Necessities