Refugees…Who Are They? Really, Who are They?

You may want to see this video, which I found to be congruent with the situation we encountered and tells about some of the good work being done.  Following the video, I offer some personal insights into the facts about the refugees and some fiction that should be dispelled.

Over the past few days I have encountered people who have asked a simple question, “Are the refugees all ‘very strong, powerful men, and young’?”  This is a quote that they recently heard in a political debate and seems to have been generally accepted as fact.  When I have responded that this characterization is decidedly wrong I have been told by some that: 1) we were only shown what some functionary wanted us to see or 2) I must have been fooled.  This first allegation would be hard to pull off, getting thousands of refugees and hundreds of workers together in some grand conspiracy; working together to put on an elaborate show for us.  Not very likely.  The second allegation about being foolish is also hard to comprehend.  What is more likely to be the truth, the statements of a firsthand eye witness or the statements of a person running for president, who has never been there?  Who has the motivation to be less than truthful?  Who is the real fool?

I believe that there is an irrational fear of refugees in the United States, which is quite strange since we are a nation of refugees and immigrants!  The actual facts are different from what we hear from politicians on both sides of the aisle. Is that hard to believe; that politicians might tells us something that is false or bend the facts for a few votes?  So what are the facts?

The U.S. State Department (who issues asylum status to refugees) has stated that of the Syrians entering the U.S., “only about 2 percent of the Syrian refugees entering the United States have been single men of ‘combat age.’ Roughly half of the Syrian refugees are children, and 2.5 percent are adults over 60.”  The rest of course, are women.  These refugees would hardly be the greatest threat our country faces!

The refugees on the move in Europe are people who had families, jobs, happiness and a decent life prior to the wars in their countries.  Belief that in some way unarmed men and women could in some way ‘fight the regime’ is simply absurd.  The bulk of the population has gone from peace to being in the crossfire in a war.  They are doing what we would all do.  They are getting themselves and their families out of there!

To a person, each refugee we spoke with said that war was the reason for their departure and that when peace arrives, they will migrate home.  They all mentioned a desire to have their children in school, to work and have a place to live.  None were looking to be supported by governmental social services, in fact most expressed surprise that they were even getting help from charitable organizations.

The people we encountered were family members, independent, hardworking, proud of their heritage, peaceful and full of hope for the future.  They were very much like Americans, very much like you and me.




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