Nations watched in horror as events unfolded in Paris, France, on November 13, 2015. Six separate attacks left 129 dead and 352 wounded. Acts of terror claimed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Equally horrific was the bombing of a Russian airliner on October 31st that killed 224 people, as well as the suicide bombings in Beirut that killed 43 and injured 239. Understandably, the world is on edge. As a result, the knee jerk reaction of many is to "seal off our borders from the refugees fleeing the violence in Syria." A cold-hearted, iron-fisted assessment in an attempt to guarantee the security of U.S. citizens.
"Syria has become the great tragedy of this century -- a disgraceful humanitarian calamity with suffering and displacement unparalleled in recent history," said Antonio Guterres, the United Nations' high commissioner for refugees.Tonight, I watched a news report of a man with his wife and three children, refugees, currently living in Ohio. (Video courtesy of CNN)
Watching this man with his family struggling just to live, reminds me that these people are no different from you or me. If I were in a war torn country full of violence, I would take my three young children and flee. Praying for the compassion of the good people of the world to intervene against the horrors of the worst of mankind. Trusting in the goodness of humanity. What would you do?
I've also been watching news coverage of many of the states' governors refusal to accept Syrian refugees. No doubt, these are troubled times with no easy answers. However, for a nation built on the ideals of fairness, compassion, and justice for all to turn our backs on these refugees is to turn our backs on our principles. If fear causes us to abandon our values and ideals, that's granting the terrorists an enormous victory that will embolden them. Innocent blood will have bought the indifference of a nation to the plight of the suffering of others if we do nothing. The truest test of a nation is what it will do to honor its ideals when the risk is great. Anyone can be brave and compassionate during times of peace. What about in times of unrest? Are we the same country? Do we only espouse our principles when there is no possible cost to us?
If you vilify a religion or a people, you lay the groundwork for atrocities of the past to be repeated in our future. May our ideals as a compassionate nation be stronger than our fears.