Peralta Community College District's Only Student-Run Publication
Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

    RETHINKING SYRIA?

    Face-Off

    Sarah Carpenter/Tower

    Refugees have needed our help long before Trump

    By Lauri Bloom

    The recent public outpouring of support for immigrants is truly heartwarming.

    Yet I can’t help but ask myself: why now?

    Where was this compassion two months ago, four months ago, one year ago, four years ago, or since the outbreak of the turmoil that now plagues North Africa and the Middle East? While millions of people sought to flee war and destruction in their home countries, the U.S. offered to take in 20,000?

    Turkey alone is coping with numbers of immigrants in the millions; Jordan, Lebanon, and northern Iraq, in the hundreds of thousands, at least.

    Why now?

    There wasn’t much of an outcry then, but when they started desperately making their way to Europe, that’s when it became a “refugee crisis.”
     Enter Trump.

    As we witness growing nationalism, protectionism, and xenophobia in Europe and the U.S., we once again choose to address the symptoms (which often entails vilifying the victims) while turning a blind eye to the cause. 
    Could that be because we may have something to do with “the cause”?

    Even if our interventions were noble and well-intentioned, we cannot deny our role, in producing the chaos that now embroils the Middle East. Was it all our fault? Of course not.

    The bulk of the blame belongs on the people and leaders of the region, and they are paying the price. Nevertheless, our policies haven’t helped.

    We may not be able to solve the problems of the world, but when it has become clear that our policies are not helping, we are morally obligated to change course.

    A change in course is long overdue, just as our compassion for the plight of immigrants was also long overdue

    This brings us to the root cause of the “refugee crisis.”

    The current crisis spiraled out-of-control with the West’s war on the Syrian regime. Remember former President Obama’s declaration that “Assad has lost all legitimacy,” and in essence, must go?

    Clearly that policy hasn’t worked, thanks in no small part to Russia (although Russia’s stance was/is not entirely unjustified).

    Nevertheless, a change in course is long overdue, just as our compassion for the plight of immigrants was also long overdue.

    To end the “refugee crisis,” for starters we need to work with the Syrian regime, rather than against it. The same way we have, and continue to work with other “tyrants” around the world.

    We need to conduct an about-face with regards to our policies vis-à-vis the Assad regime.

    At this point, Assad may be the only one who can help stem the flow of immigrants from and through Syria.

    This will require political savvy and diplomatic skill on the part of our leaders, because if we get it right, who knows, some refugees may even choose to go back.

    Perhaps aid to Syria for rebuilding much of its damaged and destroyed infrastructure could be tied to a reduction in the number of those seeking to leave, and/or the number of refugees who choose to return.

    This might compel the Assad regime to provide them with “safe haven.”

    We need to conduct an about-face with regards to our policies vis-à-vis the Assad regime.

    Otherwise, we can continue to expect the likes of Trump, Marine Le Pen (of France), and Geert Wilders (the Netherlands), to exploit the plight of immigrants, and tap into people’s irrational fears and prejudices (conscious or otherwise), for the purposes of promoting their own self-interests and self-righteous agendas.


    Lauri Bloom is a Tower Staff Writer.

    About the Contributor
    In the fall of 2019, The Laney Tower rebranded as The Citizen and launched a new website. These stories were ported over from the old Laney Tower website, but byline metadata was lost in the port. However, many of these stories credit the authors in the text of the story. Some articles may also suffer from formatting issues. Future archival efforts may fix these issues.  
    Leave a Comment
    Donate to The Citizen
    $0
    $500
    Contributed
    Our Goal

    Comments (0)

    All Sort: Newest

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *