Day 29: Learn about the Syrian Refugee Crisis

The Syrians are fleeing violence. Many have lost everything.

DAY 29 ACTION: Learn about the Syrian refugee crisis. Talk about it with your friends. 

Bombed out vehicles Aleppo in the Syrian civil war, October 6 2012. Voice of America News: Scott Bobb.

The scale of the Syrian refugee crisis is immense. It will take the global community – all of us – to make this right.

The news can get overwhelming these days. A virulently anti-labor Labor Department nominee withdrew after allegations about his personal life surfaced; the National Security Advisor resigned amidst reports that the Trump campaign had ‘repeated’ contact with Russian intelligence; and climate change denier Scott Pruitt could be approved by the Senate to run EPA. But it’s important not to forget other crises taking place.

Now in its 6th year, the Syrian civil war has created the worst humanitarian crisis of our time. The war began when President Assad’s forces killed hundreds of Arab Spring demonstrators.

Fierce fighting has left hundreds of thousands dead and displaced 12 million people – half of the country’s pre-war population. Most of the displaced remain inside Syria, or have fled to neighboring countries (Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey). More than half are children. 

Contrary to Trump’s Twitter comment that people are ‘pouring in’, relatively few Syrian refugees have been admitted to the US. After President Obama pledged to ramp up admissions, the US accepted just over 12,000 Syrian refugees in fiscal year 2016. This represents 0.0025% of the 4.9 million Syrian “refugees” – those forced to leave Syria.

Syrian refugees deserve our empathy – and our moral and tangible support. Instead, Trump’s Executive Order on Immigration – in addition to a Muslim Ban and a Refugee Freeze – bans permanently the entry of Syrian refugees. (That E.O. is suspended at the moment, following the great Ninth Circuit decision on February 9).

Syrians are people, just like us. Before the war, they were living their lives, raising families, working, and celebrating births, marriages, and holidays. But bombings and violence have forced families from their homes, prevented children from attending school, and forced people into camps where they’ve been exposed to diseases not seen in the West in decades. Human compassion requires we help them.

** If you have 8 minutes, listen to this NPR story about a German professor who created a job “dating” site for universities and highly educated refugees to connect. **

These people are suffering unimaginable hardships – and they need our compassion!

Today’s Action: Learn more about the Syrian refugee crisis. Tell people about it – and explain these are real people who are fleeing from unimaginable horror and suffering. Tell us how you feel on FB, Twitter (@misciendias) or Instagram (@misciendias)

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