Friday, March 11, 2016

Friday Favorites: The Refugee Crisis Around the World

We are facing an unprecedented crisis where millions of Syrian refugees are fleeing their war-torn country and trying to find safety, peace, and security for themselves and their families. The American rhetoric about these immigrants is deeply distressing. The bombings in Paris only fueled the increasing hatred and distrust of the refugees.

Sweden, the country I used to live in, has one of the most generous policies in the world welcoming refugees and will provide refugees with generous benefit packages. Sweden is quietly facing its own crisis as they face the reality of being unable to adequately provide for the large numbers of refugees flooding their borders. This article in The Foreign Policy Group is rather thorough in illustrating the situation and the consequences that are bearing down on the country.

My friend, Melissa Dalton-Bradford, currently lives in Germany, and is actively working with refugees at a camp in her town. Her thoughts and words give me hope, but also convey the scope of the crisis that is impacting real people on all sides. I think anyone who really wants to understand the situation from a moral and ethical perspective, should read her article, "Refugees in Germany".

My church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is deeply concerned about this crisis and issued the following statement to its members.  Deiter Uchtdorf, a member of the First Presidency, was a refugee during World War II. His story reminds me that real people are suffering in heartbreaking ways and we have an obligation to alleviate that suffering.

We cannot allow our fear of terrorism and our misunderstanding of Islam to inform our decisions and actions. I lived in the Middle East twice. I have traveled in some countries in the Middle East, like Egypt and Bahrain.  I have Muslim friends. I see the consequences that this fear and hatred has on my friends, as I wrote on my blog about our life in Saudi Arabia.

As a country, we have a history of accepting immigrants from all circumstances. Every citizen in America, with the exception of Native Americans, are products of immigration. We have a mantra on the Statue of Liberty which we are failing to follow. I believe that our failure to help sufficiently in this crisis will bring judgments upon our nation that we will regret deeply. The hateful rhetoric lobbied about by the GOP during this primary election cycle is unacceptable. It is wrong on every level. Remember, we are a nation that has prided itself on accepting people who need our help.

The New Colossus
By Emma Lazarus, 1883
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled 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!"


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