This refugee crisis substantial impact and devastation can be a little difficult to understand until you start seeing those heartbreaking photographs. What’s even more incomprehensible, is coming to terms with what money can’t solve, but it’s up to us to change that.
You’ve seen the lifeless Turkish baby boy washed up on shore, you’ve seen the hands clenched in prayer, you’ve seen fathers holding their daughters as they make their treacherous but hopeful journey, you’ve seen the hundreds of people on boats literally holding on to dear life, you’ve seen the resistance followed by violence of countries that refuse them and you’ve seen the faces of the few with tears of joy as they are welcomed into a better opportunity for themselves and their families.
Nearly 20 million families, more than half under the age of 17, have fled from the middle east, primarily Syria, some African countries as well, and most have been forced out due to the wars, conflict and hostilities of their home nations. So we have millions of people trying to leave a life unsuitable for any person, and trying to seek the opportunity for a better one in their neighbors. These people, made of the same flesh and bones as us, are fighting for the same freedom and opportunities you and I have.
I wake up in the morning and imagine what it would be like to wake up on the floor, in the dirt, in the mud, apprehensive to start my day not because I don’t want to go to class, but because I’m worried I won’t find enough food to feed my siblings. I look back on my day as I go to sleep when I count my blessings as well and think about how everyone else might have experienced this exact same day but in such a differently profound way. These thoughts keep me humble, and very grateful to live the life that I do. They also encourage me to take part in spreading awareness, becoming informed, and trying to help in any way I can to those less fortunate, to the people that need it most.
These people have been embarking their move for years, but while at first many resided in camps, now those too have become dangerous initiating more of their move to Europe. You’ve seen the news, you’ve seen the movies, read the articles, a life in Syria, Afghanistan, or any other country dealing with their internal wars is not safe or humane for anyone. A fifth of the population of Syria have fled since their war began. I’ll admit to have been blinded for many years because of what the media presents, I never stopped to think about the people living in these countries that we fight and deal with, until I started reading their personal biographies of what life was like for a common individual caught up in their countries conflicts. My father moved my mother, sister and I from Mexico to the United States because things were getting bad, I can only imagine having to leave a country because things were bad.
Why is this large immigration event considered a crisis aside from the crisis they left behind though? Why so much more media attention now? Because many of their neighboring, capable and wealthy countries are not welcoming these people, putting thousands of families in peril. Hundreds stranded in seas because countries refuse to take them in, and many more turned away as walls and fences are built to keep them out. I can’t comprehend how countries forget that we are all human, all people living on the same planet, despite the cultural differences, we should be more than willing to lend a hand to another human when they are in dire need of it. I understand homing thousands of people is challenging, but isn’t that worth the lives of millions?
But how do you come into all of this? How can someone from United States help? Well, here’s one way. The UN estimated that $5.5 billion is needed to aid the refugees in order to not have crowded camps and enough supplies. So of course, donating money is one way of helping. I’ve already shared this link on Facebook but I’ll gladly share it again. However, there’s another if not important way into stepping to help solve the refugee crisis.
Because, money isn’t going to solve everything, money can’t solve everything, even when in numbers it can. Every country the refugees are fleeing to are more than capable of providing that amount of money to take them in. Amanda Taub enlightened me in her article on Tob about countries that refuse refugees due to anxiety about change.
Taking in large numbers of refugees requires accepting that those refugees might bring changes to a nation’s identity or culture. That is of course often a very good thing: Refugees have been enriching their host countries for generations, improving everything from their snack foods to their scientific discoveries. But accepting them means accepting changes that can feel scary. As Max Fisher wrote, taking in large numbers of refugees means having to modify, ever so slightly, your vision of what your town and neighborhood look like, and having to widen the definition of your community’s culture. – Amanda Taub
She argues that overcoming the refugee crisis is going to take a lot more than just sending money to help, but many need to change their hearts. The world has all the money in the world to support these refugees, but it won’t. Which circles back to my disheartening understanding of people failing to recognize others as people. However, we do have reasons to not feel discouraged about the love of mankind because we have countries like Germany. Their generous people have offered their hands and lands to the refugees, they’ve built centers, built apps for refugees to have easier access to register with authorities, universities are offering classes, this country has taken in the most refugees in all of Europe and plan to continue doing so. This love is contagious, and I hope it spreads.
Don’t watch the news, especially this refugee crisis, as just another news topic, these are people, like you and me. These are families walking miles upon miles in hope of a better life compared to the one they’ve lived. These are children who have never gotten to be children before, and are risking their opportunity to just to find a place in order experience it in. People being separated from their loved ones, people being turned away to die, and people being immersed in tears of joy when they do receive the help they deserve. I honestly can’t even hold back my own tears as I type this because this crisis is so tremendously heartbreaking and an unfortunate event to be happening to man kind. These are people just looking for the good in other people to help, so what I’m asking of my friends, of you, aside from donating, is just be informed, spread awareness, and spread love. Support immigration acts, be a part of the change. Love and hope is what keeps these people going, and I pray wherever they go each one of them finds it.
Refugee Crisis, What You Need to Know by Emily Shapiro | ABC News Go | URL: http://abcnews.go.com/International/latest-refugee-crisis/story?id=33600722
Europe’s Refugee Crisis, Explained by Amanda Taub | VOX Explainers | URL: http://www.vox.com/2015/9/5/9265501/refugee-crisis-europe-syria