Have we asked the refugees what it is they need?

I’ve become concerned the last few days over the anger regarding “what to do about the refugee problem.”

What concerns me more is some of the proposals that are being put out there.

And, of most concern, is that people are agreeing with these ideas.

american flagIt seems to me that these solutions are all about what we think is best for us – increased guarantee of protection from terrorism, or patting ourselves on the back for being so magnanimous.

It could certainly be a sign that we may be living more in fear and less in faith, more in pride and less in humility.

I’ve tried studying to gain a better understanding of the situation. The general consensus of the articles that make the most sense to me is that the real solution lies closer to where the refugees actually are, not about where we may or may not want them to be.

The argument shouldn’t be so much about what happens within our own borders, but more of what kind of change we can affect overseas.

I know that I can’t even imagine in the slightest what these refugees are going through, and not just Syrians but the millions who are currently displaced. I can’t understand what it really means to live on less than two dollars a day, which roughly three billion people on the planet are currently attempting to do.

holding handsBut I don’t think it takes a stretch of the imagination to see into their hearts and know what most of them truly desire: safety, security, food on the table, a quiet home surrounded by family, a consistent community compatible with their personal beliefs and practices.

Perhaps most important would be human dignity through the ability to choose their priorities themselves.

I’ve pondered what would scare me the most if I were thrown into a similar circumstance. I could see myself taking it in stride if I needed to move to the East Coast of the U.S., I would have to work at it but I think I could eventually find peace in Canada, and I would even be willing to try south of our border.

But if you uprooted me and sent me to live a completely foreign life in the Middle East, I’m not sure that I’d survive.

Not because I’m too snobby, but because it would just be so alien to everything I’ve ever known.


The turmoil related to being a refugee is topsy-turvy enough. Let’s try to maintain as much consistency as possible through relocation to familiar routines and surroundings.

Actually, isn’t it a bit arrogant to assume that everyone naturally wants to come here because it is just so much better?

Isn’t it also a bit arrogant to feel we have the right to arbitrarily decide what is best for them?

I’m not sure why we place refugees in the same category as uneducated, poor, and destitute people who simply don’t know enough to take care of themselves.

We are facing a people who are trying to figure out how to keep their children alive.


And we are arguing over how this will all impact our lives.

Have we sincerely asked how it is impacting their lives?

Financially, more people can be helped closer to home than if we tried to stretch the already-thin relief aid by transporting individuals across the globe.

Emotionally, people would find more hope in working to return to their homes rather than walking completely away from life as they have known it.


Realistically, terrorist attacks by ISIS are going to result from citizens within a country who have been indoctrinated over the Internet. It is naïve to believe anyone who promises that they can prevent all future assaults by closing our borders.

megaphoneSadly, we are spoiled enough to believe that if we “demand” secure freedom that it will somehow magically happen. We are delusional enough to believe political candidates who make promises they have absolutely no power to fulfill.

However, we can courageously look to ourselves to make what difference we can; actually do something other than complain.

Our best arsenal against at-home terrorism is ourselves. If anonymity breeds apathy, then familiarity breeds feeling.

subgroupGet to know your neighbor, look in on them, take a few minutes to visit and learn what things they care about.

It’s all about removing the stereotype and replacing it with a connection with an actual person.

In the meantime, there are millions fleeing savagery beyond imagination.

So, let’s ask the refugees what they need.objectors

And quit worrying so much about what it is that we think we need.

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