An Indian proverb from the 4th century BC says, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” No one who has been awake for the last 15 years would consider ISIS, AL-Qaeda or the Taliban friends of the United States. In fact, the evidence is overwhelming that these groups and the U.S. are enemies. It is strange therefore, that refugees (people like you and me) who are in a desperate flight from war and persecution by these groups, are not generally seen as our friends. The refugees we encountered during our Catholic Relief Services trip to the Balkans opposed the civil war between the Assad regime and the rebels, and they were terrified of ISIS, the Taliban and similar groups. They are enemies of our enemies, but not considered friends by most Americans. This thinking simply isn’t rational.
If we think rationally, shouldn’t we provide as much aid and assistance as we can to refugees who are fleeing Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan because they fear they will be killed by these terrorist groups? CRS, Caritas and other agencies are working hard but the flow of people escaping ISIS is overwhelming. More support, prayers, and resources are needed in this vast humanitarian crisis.
Caritas has posted several stories about what is happening at the Greece/Macedonia border, who some of these refugees are and why they have come. It is worth reading. I believe it is much easier to see these refugees as friends in need when we understand that they are doing exactly what we would do if confronted and outgunned by so brutal an enemy, run to safety and hopefully toward friends. Here is the Caritas story: Refugees and migrants on the Greek Border with Macedonia
The #RefugeeCrisis must be addressed. Peace!