BY KOBI AZOULAY
A 3-year-old Syrian boy has sparked a global debate.
Aylan Kurdi, along with his mother and brother, drowned as a ferry taking them across the Mediterranean Sea capsized. Like millions of others, Aylan’s family was trying to immigrate into Europe to escape the horrors of war.
This story is waking people up to the reality of what has been happening for awhile now. There’s been a civil war going on in Syria since 2011 And the Islamic State (also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) is beheading anyone who doesn’t live by their way of life.
These refugees remind us how connected the world has become.
If not for the current international outcry to help them, their struggle would likely be ignored. For the most part it was until Aylan’s tragic story was heard. Turkey, Serbia, Bulgaria and Hungary have all built fences or walls to keep immigrants out. Hungary even went as far as saying they don’t want these immigrants because they want to “keep Europe Christian.”
That’s just morally wrong. To allow innocent people to die because of their religion seems comparable to genocide. Pope Francis has called on European Catholics to take the opposite approach.
“Facing the tragedy of tens of thousands of refugees—fleeing death by war and famine, and journeying towards the hope of life—the Gospel calls, asking of us to be close to the smallest and forsaken. To give them a concrete hope,” Francis said.
Some countries are taking this moral responsibility to heart. Vice Chancellor of Germany Sigmar Gabriel says that his country is prepared to bring in 500,000 refugees a year. Sweden has allowed about 50,000 asylum seekers so far this year, and has been outspoken in their support.
Their kindness should be an inspiration to the rest of the world, but especially for the United States. Our country was mostly founded by people trying to escape persecution in England, and many refugees are suffering the same fate today.
This pressure from Europe has led President Obama to recently announce a plan to allow at least 10,000 Syrian refugees into the country next year. Some people are surprised that number is so low. Germany is smaller than California, and yet they plan on letting 50 times more refugees into their country. Obama’s plan also begs the question: what are we going to do about all of the other refugees?
Like the ones from Eritrea, who face indefinite military service or likely imprisonment. Or the ones fleeing Afghanistan, who face violence and poor living conditions.
The Syrian refugees dominate the headlines, but we must remember that they’re only a fraction of displaced people. As the richest, most powerful country in the world, it’s the United States responsibility to help as many people who desperately need it as we can.
There is potential danger to taking in a significant amount of people though. ISIS operatives have said that they are smuggling ISIS fighters into Europe among innocent refugees. They claim to have already smuggles 4,000 fighters who are awaiting orders to attack. Whether these claims are legitimate or not, they should be taken seriously. We should allow as many refugees into America as we can, but not before they have undergone an extensive background check.
This process has proven tedious. Many people are forced to wait years before finally being resettled. More jobs must be created in order to speed this process up.
In the meantime, we should make sure these people are safe while staying in refugee camps. These camps are usually overpopulated, disease-ridden and undersupplied so our help would be extremely beneficial.
We all must remember that refugees are people too. They have been pushed into this situation through no fault of their own.
As human-beings living in a society where necessities for life are plentiful, we have an obligation to help those that don’t even have a country to call their own.