We all know the attacks in Paris were heartbreaking. We all know they were wrong. Evil people do evil things. We must not overreact though. I am seeing people all over demonizing the Syrian refugees and using the attacks on Paris as some sort of way to validate their initial fears about refugees. Refugees are not the problem, and the barbarity of groups like ISIS , to me, is proof that we need to help these refugees find safe havens now more than ever.
Early reports since the Paris attacks are showing the terrorists they have so far identified were French nationals. They are believed to have been radicalized in Belgium . The Syrian and Egyptian passports found next to the dead terrorist bodies French officials have said are believed to be fakes. French President Hollande has said, “these attacks were planned from the outside, with inside complicity.” The refugees are not terrorists.
The refugees are families, and individuals trying to save their lives and escape the barbarism of groups like ISIS. They are trying to save their children and themselves from being blown apart in Syria. The attacks in Paris while a shock to us, are common place in many parts of the world; parts of the world where these refugees are fleeing from. Think of how afraid, sad, confused, angry, or vengeful you felt after Paris, now imagine Paris happens everyday, down the street from your house. We think we might get more than 5 inches of snow and the country goes into panic mode, emptying store shelves of their precious bread, eggs, and bottled water. HOW EVER COULD WE SURVIVE BEING INCONVENIENCED FOR TWO DAYS?! We basically call in the National Guard when our power goes out for more than six hours. Yet, we have the audacity to look at Syrian refugees and tell them, “sorry, you’re on your own. We’re too afraid that out of the hundreds of thousands of you one or two might be bad, so you’re all fucked.”
The terrorists from 9/11 were already living here. Some of them for years. Terrorists don’t need to hide amongst refugees. Most terrorists who commit these acts travel to countries on work or tourist visas and don’t leave. A lot of which are also homegrown terrorists. Terrorist groups like ISIS have the money and resources to get to where they want to go. Shit, they are all rolling around in brand new Toyotas and I can barely afford to put money on my Metro Card to get around NYC. They don’t need to risk their lives traveling across seas in dingys that might flip over.
Also, I know many people are sitting on the edge of their seat, just yearning for Obama or anyone to confirm their beliefs and say we are at war with Islam , but that’s not the case. ISIS itself does not allow religion to be a factor when they are picking their victims. Why do we insist on using religion as a factor in retaliation?
Just a day before Paris, Beirut was hit with a double suicide bombing that killed around 40 people. Many of whom were Muslims . ISIS beheads and kills Muslims on the regular. They are not at war with Christianity and this is not a war against Islam. This is a war against extremism. This is a war against a group of people, who want to turn two countries, into one large religious caliphate. It would be like if the Westboro Baptist Church wanted to turn Kansas into a land that wants American soldiers dead, and where they can throw gays in prison. It’s absurdity. We don’t give the WBC the respect to validate their beliefs as being Christian, nor should we give ISIS the respect to validate their interpretation of Islam.
The other problem with these horrible events is the media. Beirut was ignored just how in April of this year there was an attack at a Kenyan university that killed 147. The Kenyan attack got essentially no news coverage either. Ratings, ratings, ratings.
It’s sad for us when white people die. We all cry, pray, change Facebook photos, and all come together when white people die. It’s easy when the media also only covers events like Paris, to jump onto a bandwagon of support for things that seem to be targeting us. Kenya, who cares, that’s a shitty place in our heads, so who cares if they die. Beirut, that’s in some weird sounding place, who cares if they die. Sure we don’t like the idea of people dying, but we don’t care. I’m not saying we don’t care in a callous way. We aren’t like, “fuck them who cares,” but I didn’t see one profile picture changed to the flag of Lebanon or the flag of Kenya. We saw a two year old boy washed up on the shores of Turkey dead. We were sad, sure; but we forgot about it within days. We don’t rally for it. But when there is an attack on people who look like us, who are living in a country like ours it affects us. It should affect us. We should be sad and outraged. I am not faulting anyone who showed support for Paris, or changed their profile picture, or anyone who hash tagged. Showing support for people struggling is a beautiful thing.
All I am saying is, groups like ISIS are killing people all over the Middle East, Africa, and Europe. We need to stand up in solidarity with all the people from ALL those regions. We need to listen to them when they are crying for help. We need to imagine what it must be like to live in Syria, where everyday you have to wonder whether the government, or terrorists are going to kill your entire family. We need to open our doors to help the people of the world. The same way we would embrace French refugees if Europe broke out in war, we should embrace Syrian refugees. The overwhelming majority of people in this world are good people. The citizenry of all these scary countries are good people. They just have the bad fortune of living in places that have shitty governments. The people of Iran are a wonderful progressive people, who want to listen to music, experience art, laugh, they are good people. We can’t blame them that some Ayatollah shit head came to power and is oppressing them. We can’t turn the Syrian people away. We can’t do it. Bad shit is going to happen, that sucks. It really, really is sad that innocent people are going to die at the hands of lunatics. But, when it happens we can’t allow them to tear us apart. We are one human race, we are overwhelmingly good, and if and only if, we stand together can we destroy the forces of evil. If we allow them to divide us, they win.
The engraving on the Statue of Liberty reads:
“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddle masses, yearning to breathe free. The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”
America, for all its faults, is supposed to be a bastion of freedom. We are supposed to lead by example. The engraving on the Statue that is supposed to represent everything this country believes in, does not have an asterisk that reads, “unless you don’t look like us, because then we get kind of scared.”