A Humanitarian Approach

War cannot be brought about without its inevitable consequences. We’ve witnessed this since the dawn of time. One must accept this when entering into war. Unfortunately, many people do not get a say in the war brought about all around them. The people of such circumstances try to escape. Correct me if I’m wrong, but anyone would, if in their power, escape from unfavorable circumstances that threaten to hurt them or the ones they love. One would then believe that we would sympathize with people of such situations, knowing we would do the same. Yet, the people of the world have seen the United States openly spew a message of denial toward the Syrian refugees. While they suffer on, we look on past them to the fear in our hearts, rather than accepting the chance to welcome those weary and huddled masses that we so promised to take in. I digress, because in this approach to the Syrian refugee crisis, I will not require you to stick to the initial poem and foundations of this country so thoughtfully etched into our symbol of liberty.

Only humanity is required to understand my argument for the acceptance, of not only the Syrians, but also the other immigrants, refugees, and migrants seeking to escape their current dispositions. So, as you read, pay no attention to the fight or flight, or your base instincts. Instead, remember your humanity, the very things that bind us together as a race against the innumerable odds. Morals. Emotion. Reasoning. Remember these, and pay close attention to how your moral compass guides you along these thought experiments. I am confident it will lead you to the same conclusions I draw.

First, I wish to address the place at which I believe the problem roots itself. Most people in the United States so frequently have been physically and mentally distanced from the problems of our country that we have become desensitized. The frequent blur of world news became indiscernible when it became constant and unending. However, this distance has made us numb to the personal aspects of these incidents. So much of the news of people dying isn’t surprising anymore, it can’t be for us; too many people are dying.  If we paid attention to all of the horrid news, we’d go crazy. I understand the numbness. We’ve become numb to survive, so that somewhere in the world we can still find hope. This is good, not the numbness, but the hope. Hope is what keeps us alive. Unfortunately, I believe that this hope no longer goes out to the world. It goes into ourselves, and we become self-centered because we don’t want to have to face the horror outside our doors, across our country, and throughout the world. It’s too much.

We must face these things though. The horror doesn’t go away because we don’t look at it. Here, discernment is required. Much of the news on the TV is centered around things we can’t do anything about. It’s sad, but irrefutably true. The rest though, you can do something about. Donation is the most obvious, and easiest. Many of us have more than enough money to supply us comfortably, why not donate to make others comfortable? And donation isn’t the only means. Many efforts have been made to aid in other ways; food collections; housing; mission trips. However, I’m not trying to convince you what to do in this article. You can pick up some Peter Singer and his discussions on morality if you want to know how you should help. But first, we should simply recognize that we need to help, because it is morally irresponsible not to help

For a moment, imagine yourself in the following situation: out on the street in your town or city. It’s a nice day outside. You’re enjoying yourself. Someone comes up to you and says someone is chasing them and without reason trying to kill them. They need to be sheltered. Would you take this person in? Of course you would. It would be the morally correct thing to do, not only by your own standards, but also the worldly standards. In simple moral terms: it would be wrong to allow them harm.

Now, what if you had suspicion that this person would do you harm? Now, you may consider the possibilities and decide against them coming into your home. Here, we enter a gray zone: it is neither wrong nor right to allow this person to be killed, because you have suspicion that the person may inflict harm upon you. This suspicion could warrant the moral gray area if correctly appropriated, however, what happens if this suspicion is unreasonable, do we still reserve the right to act on fight or flight instinct? No. If we have no reasonable proof for this suspicion we infringe upon the person’s rights. We are willfully letting them die. Additionally, imagine it was a group of people all trying to escape from this killer. They ask you for help. You can’t reasonably turn away all of them because of unreasonable suspicion of one. Unfortunately, you don’t reserve the right to allow people to die, if you can help it. Especially, due to the small likelihood for someone killing you.

The people of Syria need our help. There is suspicion that they could be terrorist. Aside from the obvious bigotry, racism, and bias against foreigners we Americans hold so dear, we do not reserve the right in this circumstance to allow them to be inflicted with pain. These people deserve our help, not because we ought to, but because we are morally obligated to help those in need.


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