Not that I’m not already tired of the idea of Trump as president, I’m also tired of his closed mindedness, along with many other political leaders, but specifically this time it’s about Trump’s stance on the Syrian Refugees. We are a nation of immigrants and refugees, and what people forget is that with each war there has been push back for allowing refugees in, we are lead to believe that we are to learn history in order to learn from it and not to repeat it. For example in WWII the fear of letting Nazi’s in with the refugees led the U.S. to turn away a boat in 1939, with about 900 Jewish refugees from Germany, and about a quarter of them ended up dying during World War II, it also happened with the Irish, Vietnamese, and Cubans. We have to ask ourselves is it humane to turn away these people and repeat our history?
I believe with compassion and love there is always fear and hate, two sides of our human coin. We can never get rid of our fear and because of it we are heading down the path of repeating our history, but can’t we try, try to break that cycle. As George Santayana notably said, “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” One of the my favorite blogs to follow on Facebook is Humans of New York, a man named Brandon who takes portraits of fellow New Yorkers with a caption from his subjects, one from October of a Syrian family:
“I worked as a waiter in Saudi Arabia for seven years to save money so that I could build a house in Syria. It only had two rooms and a bathroom, but for me it was paradise. We lived there for about twenty years. We did not want to leave. We have young children and no money to travel. But it became impossible to live. Our house was situated between the army and the opposition. Every day the army knocked on our door, and said: ‘Help us or we will kill you.’ They came to the restaurant where I worked and accused us of feeding the enemy. We hid in the cellar while they beat the manager. If the opposition managed to capture our village, we would also be killed. They would accuse us of collaborating with the army. We had no options. Minding our own business was not a choice. We left with nothing but our clothes.” (Lesvos, Greece)
Knowledge is power, and we are so much more informed and able to get information as soon as it happens that we can make informed decisions. Trump is just making waves, he’s telling crowds that he’d send those who come as part of the mass migration “back.” He has stated that the refugees have to go because “We’re going to have a country again. We’re going to have borders….right now, we don’t have a country.” Trump has cause so much uproar that the U.K. has started a petition to ban Donald Trump from entering the country because of his speeches violating the nation’s hate-speech laws. It is still shocking that a majority of Americans are descendants of immigrants, and by denying and refusing refugees into the U.S. is not who we are or what we stand for. If we are going to refuse then we might as well scratch the words from the Statue of Liberty: “Give me your, tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free.’
Here are two links to further my debate: