Thursday, September 24, 2015

What kind of a first world country are we?

Not all white people are racists. Not all Latinos are lazy. Not all black people are thugs and not all middle-eastern people are jihadist killers. The Syrian refugees are just that: refugees. They're people who have been robbed of their homes, possessions, country, cultural support, and even some friends and family. If they go back, they'll be killed simply because they disagree with their attackers. They don't want to infiltrate our countries. They never wanted to leave their own. They just need safe a place to stay. They don't want to live in our countries forever. They want to go back to their country, their culture, and their people. They want to go back home, rebuild what was lost, and continue with their lives in peace.

Many have already lost their lives trying to flee. They'll never get to go back home.

His name is Aylan Kurdi. He died while his family was
trying to flee the fighting between the Kurds and ISIS.
That being said, it should come as no surprise that, like many others, I have been deeply disappointed at the way many citizens of our world have reacted to the needs of the refugees in the past couple of months. Even here in the US of A, a post has gone viral on my social media pages saying that refugees should be banned from the US until all of our homeless servicemen are taken care of.

What kind of a first world country are we in which we have to choose between helping homeless servicemen and helping refugees (which, by the way, are also homeless)? Why are we not capable of aiding both?

I really thought I was born into a better country than that.

I also think that most homeless servicemen would disagree with that post, as many have been to the Middle East, seen the destruction, and want those families to be helped. Do you think a homeless serviceman who's seen what's going on over there would ever say "I want nothing to do with them until I'm taken care of"?

My paternal grandparents lived in Germany during WWII. My grandma lost 3 family members in one bombing. My grandpa and his mother had to flee in the middle of the night because the Nazi's found out that she was listening to American radio newsstations. Most of us don't know how that feels. We don't know what it's like to wonder if a bomb's going to be dropped on our homes or if someone's going to break in and kill our loved ones just because we don't agree with them. How would you feel if you were seeking refuge after having everything you've ever known forcibly torn away from you only to be told, "we won't accept you because there are already homeless people here"?

How can we call ourselves a first world country with that attitude? We're having issues living as a first world community.

Then I start to wonder when the last time was that proponents of this idea helped the homeless. When was the last time they actively (as in, consistently and regularly) donated to a shelter--be it money, clothes, time, or food--or to a project to house the homeless? I mean, to be bold enough to share an idea that would ban displaced people from our borders, I would really hope these people are doing everything they can to end the homelessness they speak of.  

How many of us have an extra can of food lying around? An extra dollar or two that would otherwise go to a vending machine? Would it put our budgets in the red to buy and donate a pack of diapers or wipes to help the homeless babies and infants in both our country and abroad?

How many of us know someone with at least one spare room in their home? How many of us are the ones with that spare room? Would it really kill us to put that room to better use for a displaced person or family, be they homeless locals or international refugees? Because I promise that they'd rather all be sleeping in one room in a safe house than wondering how to keep themselves and their children warm during the night.

In communities, people care about each other. They watch out for each other. They talk to each other. They notice when something's wrong and offer to help in any way they can. Sometimes, sacrifice of personal comfort or convenience is required to help, but in a community, they know that when everyone's doing okay, the community thrives. 

Our military men and women actively demonstrate what it means to be part of a global community. Most of us civilians, on the other hand, haven't had a ton of experience or opportunity in that area. But we are part of a global community. We have global responsibilities. We should be keeping track of each other. When something's wrong, we should seek to know how we can help...and then do it, even if it means a little sacrifice on our part.
Anyone on social media remembers the Ice Bucket Challenge. Tons of money was raised for research to help those with ALS. On my end, I'm not the social media creative type, but what if we did something like that to raise money to relieve homelessness in our states and fund projects to help the refugees? I don't have all the answers nor do I have the means/opportunity to make a lot of great things happen. However, I do believe that if "We, the People" stopped waiting for change to just show up and started showing that we care about others, "We, the People" could solve a lot of problems--both local and international--in not a lot of time.


  1. Thank you. I have been fuming over some of these memes going around. You expressed many of my feelings and thoughts.

    1. Thanks, CWardian. It's good to know I'm not the only one!


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