In 2014, the United States faced a growing number, tens of thousands, of unaccompanied children who had been sent from Central American countries by their parents to what they hoped was a safe haven in the United States. Believing in our promise of “freedom” and a safer life, most of them immediately turned themselves into INS upon crossing the border.
What they got was political wrangling and some of the most base xenophobic hatred I have ever seen in this country.
And throughout the crisis, there was one word the media studiously avoided: Refugee. They called these children “illegal immigrants,” but they were really refugees fleeing an unsafe environment in their home country. Why do you think so many came without their parents? Why do you think so many turned themselves in as soon as they got here? They were seeking asylum.
We deported them anyway. As we know some of them returned to their country of origin to die.
Again, the world watches a mass migration of people fleeing a dangerous environment: People fleeing the Syrian Civil War. Fortunately, many countries have opened their borders (as much as they are able) or sent assistance to help these people.
Some of whom paid the ultimate price to try to get to safety.
But the western media is studiously avoiding using a certain word:
“At least 12 Syrians, including eight children, drowned early Wednesday off the Turkish coast as they attempted to cross the Aegean to reach Greece, the latest deaths at sea in this year’s migrant crisis in Europe.” Wall Street Journal, September 2nd, 2015.
The picture, released by a Turkish news agency, is trending worldwide on Twitter under the #KiyiyaVuranInsanlik (“humanity washed ashore”) hashtag.
Thousands of migrants have died this year trying to reach Europe by sea. ~ BBC, September 3rd, 2015
“Abdullah Kurdi said Thursday that the boat’s captain panicked due to high waves and jumped into the sea, leaving him in control of the small craft with his family and other migrants aboard.
‘I took over and started steering. The waves were so high and the boat flipped. I took my wife and my kids in my arms and I realized they were all dead,’ he said. The distraught father added: ‘All I want is to be with my children at the moment.’
He said the small boat, headed for the Greek island of Kos, was overloaded with 12 migrants and the captain, described as a Turkish man. It was only at sea for four minutes before the captain abandoned the craft, Kurdi said.
‘My kids were the most beautiful children in the world, wonderful, they wake me up every morning to play with them. They are all gone now,'” he said.
The powerful photographs of Aylan have sparked fresh debate about the deepening migrant crisis.” ~ Associated Press, September 3rd, 2015
The word missing is “refugees.” “Migrants” are people just trying to find a better job. These people are fleeing the horrors of war for their own and their children’s safety. They’re REFUGEES!
Years ago, no one would have called people fleeing the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia “migrants.” They were refugees.
But if the media actually uses that world, suddenly the emotional picture becomes entirely different. It’s become entirely honest. Suddenly these Syrian families are not “invaders” to our, and other countries taking them in, shores. They are not coming here (or other countries) by choice. They are fleeing Syria because they have no choice. They are human beings in desperate need of our help.
They are refugees. And if we are at all human, we should help them