The Syrian Refugee Crisis is all over the news. How can you not be aware of what is going on in Syria, even if you don’t understand what the conflict is all about? I’m sure that you have heard of the attacks that happened in Paris, France last Friday. And no doubt you have drawn your own conclusions about who did it and what must be done to prevent it from happening again, possibly closer to home next time.
Are you one of the people that says we cannot let any Syrian refugees into our country? Are you misinformed as to the vetting process that is required to enter this country if you are a refugee? It takes 18 to 24 months for several government agencies to interview and investigate everyone that has applied? Do you have so little trust in your government to check, cross-check, and check once more that mother with her two small children? (Here is an article of what is involved to enter the United States as a refugee.) This young woman deserves a better life and she knows that the American Dream is something she wants for her children. She is not the monster, neither are her children.
There are two outcomes to this young mother’s plight. Neither path is paved with gold.
Outcome #1: America welcomes a Syrian Refugee with open arms
This young woman steps off the plane. Both of her children are now two years older than when she first approached the embassy to offer her family refuge, but they are still young enough that they can have a happy childhood in the future. They look around them, wide-eyed in wonder at their new homeland. Perhaps the woman is on this journey alone with no family to greet her. She holds her head high, knowing that this will not be easy. But she promised her now dead husband that she would give the children a good future. America is the land of immigrants and she is welcomed. She works as a cleaning lady for a small office while her children attend school. It’s a hard life and sometimes she gets frustrated, but she continues for her children. If she is lucky, she may go to school herself. She has a technical background and only lacks a strong understanding of English. It takes a little bit of time, but she finds a job working for a computer company, allowing her to put money aside for her children’s college fund. She is not alone though. There are others that are also immigrants and they have their own stories. They become her friends, as do other people in her neighborhood. It’s not a perfect life, but it is one that was worth living. Even if her son might get involved in the wrong crowd during high school and he is arrested for shoplifting, she gives him her love and he becomes a better person. And even if he doesn’t, she has done the best she can. But then again, you never know… This young man may become a great asset to the United States and we will be glad to have him.
Outcome #2: America slams its doors in a Syrian Refugee’s face
This young woman is captured and sold into slavery, her two children ripped from her arms as she screams. Or perhaps she dies beside her husband and her children are taken. As they grow up the children hear over and over again that “America hates Muslims. Look what they did to your family.” Can you guess the outcome of this scenario? The son ends up with a gun in one hand and a hardened heart that feels nothing but hatred for the American enemy. He knows that his mother tried to seek refuge but was turned away because she was Muslim and Americans hate Muslims. She died because of the Americans. That is all he knows. He dies on the battlefield, thinking he has earned his place in heaven. Instead, all turns black and he is no more.
Perhaps as a non-Christian who grew up in a Christian family, I see what is happening in a different light. Both the Muslims and the Christians are looking forward to the End Times. Radicals of both religions are using the present situation to promote this apocalypse that both says is victory of their army fighting the Other. It frightens me that people could really want the end of the Earth. I barely understand corporate greed not caring about the environment and willfully tearing up the ground to pull fossil fuels for billions of dollars, causing climate change and earthquake activity. That is all for the all mighty dollar. It lines the coffers of a few while keeping the majority as “indentured servants”. However, the insane desire for the End Times frightens me as neither side cares about anything but a fantasy version of their final heaven. They condemn good people to fear the Other, causing mistrust that fuels hatred and often leads to violence. They are both rooted in the Abrahamic traditions, but neither side sees this is as a common ground to begin speaking to each other. It is easier to hate the Other, than to have an adult conversation to discuss their differences.
What do I want out of the World in regards to this conflict? I want both sides to see that the other is human just like them. They love, they live, just like those they are coming to despise. It won’t happen and I am afraid the outcome may very well be these End Times. This is the concept of “self-fulfilling prophesy” I was taught in my college Psychology class coming to light in the present world. And that scares me more than any radical religious terrorist because I am but a drop of water in the ocean screaming for them to stop fighting.