Syrian Refuges: Everyone Needs to Help

The heart-wrenching photos of decimated villages, streams of refuges flocking in all directions throughout the Middle East and Europe, and the poignant photo of a small boy, face-down, dead on the beach has struck a cord for many people. As they should.

There are consequences for inaction. We live in a global world, each part interlocked and dependent upon the other for a variety of needs whether that be oil, labor, or a myriad of other resources. Geo-politically, both action and inaction on behalf of a government will be met with criticism. When a country, such as Syria, has been hanging in the balance for years, hindsight about whether the world should have acted earlier begins to kick in, and we begin to see that either way there will be consequences. If, for example, the U.S. had decided to take an active role in over-throwing Assad’s Syrian regime during the heady-days of Arab Spring, how would that have changed the outlook for these scared and hopeless refuges of today? Of course, no one knows. That would have created a whole myriad of other issues.

All we know is the now, and the now is riddled with difficult questions. Syria is a divided mess to say the least. The Assad regime has committed horrible atrocities in trying to rid the country of the rebels. And under the nose of the Syrian Civil War, ISIS has emerged as a ruthless and brutal threat to both Syria, Iraq, and Kurdistan.

The blame game is a useless endeavor at this point. Does it really matter which actions or inactions of the past caused this mess? Would things have been different if U.S. troops had remained in Iraq? Would things have been different if the world body had put pressure on Assad’s regime? Would an active role in Syria, such as was accomplished in Libya in removing Qaddafi, had made a difference? Whatever the answer to those questions, this we know: thousands of refugees from Syria need help. Europe and America need to step up and do the right thing (because we all know that Russia and China are not going to help).

Sadly, the plight of refugees is not isolated to that part of the world. The Rohingya people from Myanmar have been being pushed out of their own land for years, some left floating aimlessly in the Andaman Sea. But there are many others: Sudan, Somalia, and other places housing countless refugees from various conflicts and natural disasters.

It’s time to put an end to the refugee crises around the world. The land is there. The resources are there. It’s time for everyone to step up and show the kind of love and helping hand that these people deserve. I hope the world will do the right thing.

Unfortunately, the reality of the situation is grim. Many lives will be lost in Syria and Iraq as long as the civil war continues and ISIS is allowed to expand. The prospect of stopping both of them is not a welcome proposition by any means. Military involvement by any party will mean the loss of life, and that can never be minimized. But it is also painfully obvious by the current situation that there are consequences for inaction and sometimes these may even out-weigh the most hawkish of options.

Our Culture in a Headline: “Beyoncé convinced Jay Z is hiding things from her”

I saw this headline on a news site the other day. I simply have one question: do people really care? I’m serious. Are there people out there who will gladly click on that link to find the latest gossip?

I know the answer to that. I’ve come across Justin Beiber groupies and Miley Cyrus fans who certainly wouldn’t know who the vice president is. We really are entertaining ourselves to death, aren’t we?

I have nothing against entertainment. I’m a writer, after all, and I hope to entertain people with my stories. But when entertainment becomes elevated into the realm of obsession – to the detriment of having well-rounded citizens, then I start to fear for the future of the USA (as my home country) or any other country which follows suite.

The amount of entertainment that we consume is staggering. This is, perhaps, one of the reasons that the quality of the mainstream news has steadily declined – they have to compete with so much superfluous culture. They have to grab attention from a myriad of consumers who have their brains loosely connected to a thousand things at once. Therefore, stories become sensationalized and, perhaps, even embellished. (Brian Williams anyone?)

The frightening part about all of this for me is that there are many who really don’t care what’s going on in the world. They really don’t care about ISIS, or politics, or healthcare, or race issues, or Ukrainian conflicts. Many people are so consumed about their own business that many of us have lost touch with the outside world.

I’ve been recently re-watching Ken Burns’ “The War” and what strikes me the most about the Greatest Generation who watched the war from the home-front is how engaged everyone was in the process of war. It was an entire society that was completely committed, completely enthralled, completely wanting to know every detail. That didn’t make it a homogeneous society – far from it. America was then and is today extremely diverse, but there was a sense of unity, a sense of understanding, a sense of duty, a sense of collectiveness that is lacking in today’s society. There many be many reasons for this – one simply being our pluralistic society (which if you go back a few days and look at my post about pluralism you’ll understand how necessary it is), but one of the main reasons that many in our country don’t care what is going on is because they are wrapped up in the lives of Beyonce and Jay-Z. I hope we can wake up  before it’s too late.