Final Summary

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness

For the past 4 weeks, Maeline, Melannie, Elijah, and myself have discussed and made arguments in favor of more refugees to be allowed in to the United States.  We had touched on a different topic every week: policy, ethics, economics, and trauma.  Now speaking for myself, I had found every week to be a bit tougher than the last to refute the idea that we should not allow these fellow human beings to find a safe haven in this country.

In terms of policy, Melannie made the argument that President Trumps travel ban might have been effective if it had actually provided the US with more security, instead of focusing on keeping fleeing refugees out of the United States,

The catch with this order is that none of this does anything for the United States’ national security.

There have been zero terrorist attacks by immigrants from any of these countries.

From an ethical standpoint, Elijah had argued that the decision to try and ban refugees from fleeing in to the United States went against our moral and ethical obligations to accept our fellow man in to the country and give them the safety they seek,

Through the years America has reinforced this moral that it must accept people from other places. This can be seen when america accepted millions of Irish during the Irish potato famine, people believed at the time that it would hurt the economy or have other adverse affects but still the refugees were accepted. That is because it is the only logical conclusion, if it is put forth that the core moral of america is that all men are created equal and that because of that they have a right to life liberty and pursuit of happiness.

Economically, Maeline refers to a video which shows a Syrian refugee camp in Jordan where over 3,000 business have sprung up, including super markets and garden shops.  Imagine the possibilities in the United States for this kind of drive and focus.

 

My last post for our topic on trauma focused on PTSD and the innocent children who were witnesses to the war up close and personal.  I read about the wonderful group of people in Lebanon who were using the power of art to rehabilitate and give these kids a chance to be kids again.

And I think that is who we should really think about.  Children who did not ask to be born on this planet but who must deal with the environment and the situations surrounding their environment.  Fleeing war and death is something I can only read and hear about from the comfort of a smart phone or television, let us give these children and their families the opportunity to experience life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

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Miscellaneous

Chopped Heads and Army Tanks

[Some] children who’ve recently arrived in Lebanon from Syria very quickly begin to draw images of chopped heads and the army tanks coming closer – very graphic images for a child to have seen…

Having only witnessed war through the power of the internet, I consider myself quite lucky to be where I sit.  Unfortunately, the luck of the draw was not so kind to the innocent children currently smack dab in the middle of a civil war.

So how are these children dealing with the trauma of witnessing terrible acts of war?  One strategy that has been adopted and carried out by some incredible folks in Lebanon is art therapy.  Art therapists have found an effective tool in their arsenal to help children combat the dramatic after effects that have resulted from witnessing and experiencing these traumatic events.

Art therapist Dania Fawaz tells Al Jazeera,

“A lot of children, especially the younger ones, haven’t developed the verbal skills they need to describe such horrific events, especially if you’re speaking about war. Art is a less directive and more natural tool for children to express themselves.

colorphoto(Dania Fawaz)

One 12 year old boy; who had the horrible luck of living under ISIS, expressed himself by drawing images of the war.  This was normal in the beginning and as the time passed, the drawings had contained much less gore, and more happier memories of friends and family.

Founder and director Myra Saad of Artichoke Studio in Beirut has set her sights on a primary goal:  let the kids be kids again.  Through art therapy, the children can slowly open up to the adults at their own pace, through the power of the pencil.  In this case, the pen(cil) is mightier than the sword.

“No matter how long the treatment, Saad said, it is important to leave patients with a message of hope.

Fawaz sees forward progress being made with her art therapy and the world is that much of a better place to be with these folks here.

“…[Others] have lived through a lot and all they want to draw is rainbows and flowers, and this is what they need.”

Miscellaneous

PTSD and Refugees

According to the National Center for PTSD, refugees suffer from the same ailments our soldiers experience while on active-duty.

“Prior to flight, individuals who become refugees may face a wide variety of traumatic events. They may witness fighting and destruction, observe violent acts perpetrated against loved ones, or be subjected to or witness sexual violence”

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Certainly the travel to a new world is enough for most to be exhausted when that travel could be your least of worries.  For more information on common links between refugees and PTSD, click on this link and come back this week for our final graded submissions to the blog.

Refutation

More Refugees!

Searching online, it is tough to find studies that support the idea that refugees have a negative impact on its host countries’ economy.  On Quora.com; a website which gives a platform for people to come together to ask and answer ‘questions that affect the world’, one user named Yannick Meyer answers the question,

What are the consequences, both negative and positive for Germany of accepting refugees from Syria and other Middle Eastern countries?

lebanon

Looking at his answer, he cites no positive impacts for taking in refugees, makes claims about the negative economic, social, and political impacts but does not refer to any studies or sources to back up his claims.

We’ll stick just to his answer on the economic impacts. Yannick tells us that,

One of the major effects that refugees have on the host country is economic impact.

Yannick is correct.  Lebanon, for example has registered 1.1 million Syrian refugees as of March, 2015, the most refugees anywhere in the region.  It hasn’t seemed to negatively affect their GDP growth, which the World Bank predicted would grow 2.5 percent in 2015.  They also saw an estimated 2.0 percent growth in 2014 which was great compared to the 0.9 percent growth in 2013.

morelebanon

 

Yannick also states,

It is frequently thought that refugees are of little economic value…

Again, we can point to Lebanon, whom has registered the most refugees in the world. I quote,

“In fact, the inflow of refugees has arguably helped the Lebanese economy withstand the negative effect of its neighbor’s civil war.  Refugees have been an important source of demand for locally produced services in Lebanon, funded from own savings and labor income, from remittances of relatives abroad and from international aid.  In a recent World Bank report, we estimate that an additional 1 percent increase in Syrian refugees increases Lebanese service exports by 1.5 percent.

Our friends’ argument about negative economic impacts doesn’t seem to hold in the face of actual studies and numbers.  It is easy to rant and spew rhetoric without having to find actual numbers and studies to back up what you’re saying.  I highly encourage Yannick and anyone else to find any evidence or studies that support his claims and post them on this blog.

Reading and learning about the refugee crisis and how it has affected certain countries whom have given asylum to a large number of them, we should encourage our lawmakers and appointed public servants that the US expedite its admission to those fleeing war and persecution and maybe learn a little compassion from our friends over in Lebanon.

Miscellaneous

More refugees to come?

As many of you all have heard, President Trump had ordered a military strike on a Syrian airfield where it is said missiles filled with sarin gas were launched and used to attack civilians in the city of Idlib.

idlib_attack

(CNN.com)

In the midst of a refugee crisis and an ongoing civil war, could the situation escalate to a point where the president would have a change of heart and now accept refugees fleeing the war torn country of Syria?

I would think we would all not push for more war, as so many innocent civilians have been paying the ultimate price.  But this can put the president in a sticky situation.  If he escalates the crisis in Syria, is he now obligated to help the innocent fleeing the country?

Let us know what you think in the comments section.

Refutation

Safety over Liberty? Let us refute.

According to Foward.com, the author argues that,

“…radical Islamists in the U.S. have primarily targeted Jews, Christians, homosexuals and other minorities, proper immigration precautions benefit every faith – including Muslims. The 3,000 innocent people murdered by radical Islamists on 9-11 included 31 innocent Muslims (and 300-400 innocent Jews).”

It would be more accurate to say that radical Islamists primarily target random civilians with the purpose of causing as much chaos and destruction as possible.

National_Park_Service_9-11_Statue_of_Liberty_and_WTC_fire

“Nearly all of those who perished were civilians with the exceptions of 343 firefighters, 72 law enforcement officers, 55 military personnel, and the 19 terrorists who died in the attacks”

The 19 highjackers who committed the atrocious acts on 9/11 were not refugees and to bring up the events of that fateful day so we can justify a possible unconstitutional travel ban is ludicrous.

“The purpose of Trump’s executive order is to establish a vetting system that protects all Americans from ISIS and other foreign terrorist infiltrators’ attacks. The order explains: “Numerous foreign-born individuals have been convicted or implicated in terrorism-related crimes since September 11, 2001, including foreign nationals who entered the United States after receiving visitor, student, or employment visas, or who entered through the United States refugee resettlement program.”

While the executive order offers good intentions; of course we want to protect all Americans from terrorists attacks, the number of times a foreign national or refugee has executed a successful terrorist attack on US soil can probably be counted on both hands.

The San Bernadino attacks were carried out by US citizens.

The Orlando shooter was a US citizen.

Now one could argue that the Tsarnaev brothers were refugees, but they might have gotten off on a technicality.  Their parents arrived in the US on tourist visas and then later applied for political asylum, where the brothers then entered the US a few years later through the same means.

160301-refugees-calais-terrorists-mdl-904_a417a7420770175b4dc9239cfd90e096.nbcnews-ux-2880-1000

(NBCnews.com)

“(For those curious: Asylum seekers apply for refugee status from within the U.S.; refugees seek it from their home countries.)”

One notorious account of an actual refugee committing acts of violence was the recent story of Abdul Razak Ali Artan, a Somalian refugee who injured 11 people at Ohio State University last November.

Now you maybe thinking, AHA!  There’s one.  Yes, there is that one account.  So should we be shaping US law around the one incident a refugee committed an act of violence?

I don’t believe so.  I think the US is more vigilant than that.  We have a terrible amount of gun deaths in the US and yet we stick to our guns.  I can understand the notion that certain terrorist organizations would take advantage of our vetting process to sneak in perpetrators of violence, but like everything else, there’s risk.  We shorten that risk through a thorough vetting process already in place.

If we want to make America great again, let’s show the world how we treat those who need our greatness the most.

Introduction

Miguel

Hello, my name is Miguel.  I am a student of #DMAD17 and this is our blog.  I am a huge fan of civil discourse and I hope to engage many of you throughout the course of this assignment and perhaps beyond.

What I hope to gain from this blog is further insight and knowledge from stories or experiences that refugees have to endure on their trip to America and I hope the reader achieves the same goals.  America is the bastion of freedom and individuals fleeing from persecution and war should look towards this great country as a chance at redemption and another chance to start again.

I welcome opposing viewpoints, facts, and evidence to any claims and I despise the notion of safe spaces and trigger warnings.  Also, being offended are your subjective feelings and the facts do not care about your feelings.  Talk to you all later.