Never before in the history of mankind has the world witnessed such a mass migration of refugees. They come seeking shelter and safe haven from the barbaric onslaught of ISIS and President Assad’s regime. As the world watches in horror the untold sufferings of thousands of refugees in the Middle East and Europe (Hungary and Greece) on TV, one cannot help but empathize with them in their quest for a second chance in life.
The war in Syria that began about 5 years ago as a result of a failed Arab spring has forced about 10 million Syrians out of their homes and nearly half of the displaced population has sought refugee status abroad. The influx of refugees in countries like Turkey and Lebanon has over stretched resources to the limit that tens of thousands of refugees are embarking on the treacherous sea journey to Greece and other European countries. Unfortunately, some of them like a 3-year-old Aylan Kurdi and his family and thousands more have lost their very dear lives that they were trying to protect from bloodthirsty ISIS and the Syrian government.
Whilst the current refugee crisis undoubtedly falls under the prerogative of the federal government, it is our moral responsibility to alleviate the pain and sufferings of genuine refugees fleeing from Syria and other war torn countries. The citizens of Iceland have demonstrated that each one of us can play a vital role in the current refugee crisis by opening up their homes to more refugee intake. Similarly, Germany has become the final destination of many refugees currently in limbo in many Eastern European countries by opening its borders and increasing its refugee quota far more than any other country in the European Union.
These extraordinary humanitarian gestures by Iceland and Germany prove that universal love, brotherhood and the finest traits of humanity, helping those in need are alive despite our cultural, political and religious differences. Here in this country, it is refreshing to note that the federal government has announced the settlement of 100,000 Syrian refugees by 2017. The ocean is filled by little drops of water and thus we could complement the federal government effort by donating to humanitarian agencies such as Humanity First USA and many more organizations out there to make these refugees feel at home upon arrival or to cater for them abroad to alleviate their pain and sufferings.
As the leader of the free world and as home to millions of people fleeing political and religious persecution and ethnic conflicts over the years, we could put our past experiences to the test by welcoming genuine refugees into our community. Many of these refugees have skills that can help the USA economy to grow instead of becoming dependent on our limited welfare scheme. In addition, many of them are able-bodied men and women of young age capable of attending colleges and universities to better their lot and will surely translate into increased productivity for our economy in the future.
Despite our cultural, racial, religious and political differences, one cannot ignore the fact that the world is becoming more and more like one nation or family united by technologies such as the Internet and telecommunications. It is therefore not surprising that the 2008 financial meltdown in the USA affected many countries of the world. Thus the current refugee crisis currently taking place in the Middle East and Europe will undoubtedly have an indirect bearing on us in the future.
Putting aside this very important utilitarian aspect, it is thus our moral duty as pacesetters of championing human rights and standing up against abuses to help innocent refugees caught up the cross fire of the Syrian civil war. Everyone deserves a second chance in life and experiences have shown that an unforeseen suffering of national magnitude could happen to any nation of the world. Let’s put our cultural and religious differences aside and help put a smile on the faces of Syrian refugees who urgently need us to save them from dying.
Seidu Malik is a Molecular microbiologist, with special interest in religious studies and is a member of the Muslim Writers’ Guild, USA.