The Syrian Refugee Crisis
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Politics and Activism

The Syrian Refugee Crisis

Why we need to help.

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The Syrian Refugee Crisis

Over the past few months, the topic of Syrian refugees has been a major issue, and since the terrorist attacks in Paris on November 13, it has become even more controversial. Now many Americans are voicing their opinion on whether or not to accept these people into our country. Some think that we should put our own security first and not accept any refugees, while others are welcoming them.

Currently, only a handful of governors have stated that their states will accept refugees. Pennsylvania’s governor, Tom Wolf, has recently announced that our state will welcome the refugees. This makes sense as Allentown currently has one of the largest Syrian populations in the United States. But many people still need convincing as to why we should help these people.

This all began four years ago, during the Arab Spring, a time in which a wave of protests, riots, and civil wars spread across the Arab world, including Syria. When the people of Syria rose up against the Assad government, the Assad government fought back. This resulted in an ongoing civil war which has resulted in over 250,000 deaths, 11 million displaced from their homes, and the creation of ISIS. When attacking its own people, the Assad government often targets populated areas with chemical weapons. Many of the victims of these attacks are young children. Much of the Western world was outraged by the attacks, and the United States had threatened military intervention if the use of chemical weapons did not cease. Unfortunately, neither of those happened.

In many arguments people say that the Syrians should just fight back against their government. Many Syrians do, in fact, fight against the Assad government, but the problem is that many of those Syrians are part of ISIS. This leaves many Syrians between a rock and a hard place. ISIS is not any better than the Assad government; they are actually much worse. ISIS targets citizens of both Syria and Iraq who are of different religions or ethnicities. One group who has been particularly harshly targeted are the Yazidis.

The Yazidis often get the worst of ISIS’s wrath. When ISIS comes into their villages, all of the men are killed and the women and children are enslaved. The life of an enslaved woman is utterly horrific; most women and girls between the ages of 8 and 80 are raped regularly. Girls as young as 9 years old can be forced to marry an ISIS fighter. It has been estimated that approximately 5,000 to 7,000 Yazidi women and girls have been sold into sexual slavery by ISIS. This is the future for not only many Yazidis, but also many Christians, Jews, and Muslims in Iraq and Syria.

So far, over 4 million people have fled Syria. Many Syrians have lost their lives trying to flee the conflict in their home country. Many have lost their lives trying to flee to Europe. Things are so bad in Syria that these people will sacrifice anything for the chance at having a better life.

One argument that I often hear from angry Facebookers is that we should focus on fixing our country before we help others. Currently our country has the highest standard of living in the world. Our homeless have better lives than many of these refugees. Another argument is that some of these refugees might be terrorists. Yes, it is possible that some of them might be terrorists, but really anyone could be a terrorist. Why should we let people continue to suffer because there’s a chance that a few may be terrorists? It’s not like we’re just going to let anyone in, either. There will probably many levels of rigorous screenings for these refugees.

The last time that we had a refugee crisis of this size was during WWII. People had the same opinions of taking Jewish children in as they do now with the Syrian refugees.They too wanted to focus on fixing ourselves before we helped others. WWII ended with over 20 million murdered by the Nazi regime, many of them Jews. Do we really want to be on the wrong side of history again?


America has always been filled with immigrants fleeing their home countries for a better life. Most Americans are descendants of someone who was a refugee in their own way. Now it’s our turn to help another round of refugees. Why? Because it’s the American way. Even France is not turning away refugees after the recent terror attacks in Paris. These people are in need, and right thing to do is welcome them into our country.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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