Allie i. Michigan

American Pride

An essay about the Syrian refugee crisis relating it to our responsiblility as American citizens based on American norms.

Dear Future President,

There are 66.3 million displaced people in this world. Six million of these people come from the country of Syria. They flee from oppression and violent terrorism, the same evil forces many Americans seem to be fighting as well. The difference between Americans fighting oppression and Syrians fighting oppression is American’s fight is a moral fight, to define what is right and what is wrong within society. The fight in Syria is not only moral, but a life or death war.

The majority of Syrian refugees reside in Lebanon, Turkey, and Jordan. Technically they’re out of Syria, but they are not out of war. The majority of Syrian refugees are in refugee camps near the border of Syria, which is where most attacks occur. They are not out of harm's way, so while it seems like the world is off of America’s shoulder because so many refugees have found camps, we fail to recognize that these camps are not safe, and not substantial to these human beings needs.

The people who are fleeing from the civil war in Syria are not numbers, yes there are statistics, but they do not serve purpose unless you put it into perspective. These people are women, men, and children. They are human beings with heartbeats,with bones of calcium and marrow, with eyes that have seen harsher sights than many Americans will see even in their darkest nightmare. They are people, and we so often view them as just a number we read in an article, somewhere at some random time. They are people, and America has always done what is right for the people, why stop now because we do not view them as our people. It is our duty to help, after all that is what American culture has been prided on for so long, so it’s time we do something to create substance behind the claims we have made since the beginning.

When we deny these people into our country, we are advocating for the terrorists in Syria. Isis opposes refuge in the west, for fear of the spread of western culture. They believe that it will reduce the people under their rule, which would seem to be a goal of western cultures, but by denying them refuge we rebuttal that idea. So whose side is America on? We practically spend all of our early years in American school being taught of western culture; I can recite the Pledge of Allegiance faster than I will ever be able to tell you a math equation. I can name Abraham Lincoln and George Washington and their significance faster than I can tell you the continents of the world. We have drilled western culture and western superiority into the children of our country, why would we stop the spread of western culture? Is it because we are inadvertently fighting for the same cause as ISIS?

Are we denying people into our country because of their religion? Isn’t that what America has fought against the entirety of it’s existence? We have always fought against the oppression our people have seen for decades, women have sat outside the White House, African Americans have rallied and fought, Martin Luther had a dream, and America has shouted the word freedom from the Statue of Liberty. Americans have always fought for the people, and for freedom. For us to stop now seems to go against everything we have worked towards for so long. It seems to me we have crushed the idea of an American Dream and a better life in America.

The many times I have had a discussion about allowing Syrian refugees, I have often heard the line “it isn’t our problem.” Which in some ways is accurate, we are not in civil war. America hasn’t seen a war on our soil in a long time, my safety in America has been protected for the duration of my life. America works hard in order for the children who live here to be able to say “I am safe and I will remain safe,” it seems contradictory for us to turn our back on the Syrian children unable to say that but instead plead “I want to be safe, and here I am not.” No, the war itself is not our fault, but the aftermath will not just affect Syria but the modern world as we know it. So, it is our problem.

There are 66.3 million displaced people in the world, 6 million of those are Syrian. We have turned our backs on the cruelty that these people, a part of the human race, have seen. We have walked away from children and women, we have closed our borders and closed our minds. We are scared of our safety being infringed upon, we are so scared of what might happen, we have shut our eyes to the tragedy that is happening and will not come to an end in the near future. America has forgotten what it means to be American, what values our country was built on. When we open our minds and then our borders, we will not only gain a moral breath of fresh air but American culture will thrive.


Alexandra I.