In the past few weeks, the eyes of the world have turned to the millions of refugees flooding out of Syria, a country torn apart by a brutal civil war. The Syrian Civil War began as a rebellion against the Shiite Muslim government by Syrian Sunni Muslims. However, the rebels quickly attracted the radical Sunni group ISIS, whose as shown they are willing to kill civilians to meet their goals. The civil war in Syria has caused a massive amount of civilian deaths and suffering.
As Syria’s refugee problems become more pronounced, the fingers pointing started; people start blaming others, and no one wanted to take responsibility for Syrian lives while refugees were begging countries to take them in. Currently, the United States has promised to take in 10,000 refugees over the course of the next year. Leaders of many European countries think the United States should take in more refugees because of our size, and how active our involvements have been in the Middle East, including our invasion of Iraq. This also includes, to no small part, that there are American troops stationed in Syria, fighting against ISIS. These arguments and more are why I agree with European leaders. The United States should be accepting more Syrian refugees.
Whether or not the invasion of Iraq directly affected the Syrian Civil War is not the question at hand, nor should it be why the United States should take in refugees. America is one of the most powerful countries in the world and a major global influence and military power. With this power, the US has a responsibility to take in these refugees because innocent people are in despair. America can offer refugees a safe haven away from warfare, and help improve the quality of our world. This is not to say that other countries should not be doing their part – they too have their share of the collective responsibility to work towards increasing the global quality of life.
But I am not European. I am American and as such I feel some level of responsibility for my country’s actions. While I understand the possible threat of terrorism the United States faces, (ISIS has its base in Syria, and could potentially join the throngs of Syrians leaving trying to enter the United State) more effort must be put into ensuring the refugees are accepted to America as quickly as possible. The number of rescued Syrians must increase from the meager amount of 10,000, and the United States must prove to the world that the morals we stand for are not only talk, but also translate into action.
For more information on the Syrian Refugee Crisis check out this month’s Features Section.
Illustration by Jessica Chang