Saturday, October 3, 2015

Refugees and human beings

My heart and my head appear to be in conflict when it comes to refugees. Logically, I know that Western nations cannot accept everyone who wants to come in. Logistically, it doesn't work. There are too many people.

Even so, my heart recognizes them all as fellow human beings in distress. I'm an empathetic fellow who believes in the brotherhood of all men. If not for an accident of birth, I could be the one on the wrong side of the border. In fact, some of my ancestors were born on the wrong side of borders. If they hadn't found a way out, I would not be here today.

What responsibilities do Western nations have towards refugees? One one level they have the basic responsibility any one of us has towards our fellow man. That's pretty high minded and all, but we Western nations have stirred up a lot of trouble around the world causing at least some of the problem. It's popular to support rebellion and to bomb other nations -until hordes of people attempt to flee those broken nations.

One common argument is that we can't take care of our own homeless and downtrodden. That is true. Maybe we should question a system that creates enormous wealth but does a poor job of taking care of its less fortunate?

Maybe it's because of an invisible internal border, the border between the very rich and the very poor. Very few can cross from the poor section to the rich section. Upward mobility in the United States is rare these days. We'd like to pretend otherwise but the numbers don't lie. Education was once one way to cross the poverty border but high student debt makes that difficult.

No wonder the system doesn't do that good a job with refugees -they could do better with their own citizens. Of course, the very rich tend to be the people who benefit from a world in conflict so they have little incentive to do something about the problem. To add insult to injury, it's the poor who fight those wars. As the saying goes, “It's a rich man's war and a poor man's fight.”

Right now it's very popular to demonize certain groups of people and to blame them for all the nation's problems. As a political strategy it can be very successful. Just ask the Nazis.

We are better than the Nazis, aren't we?

Of course, the logistical problems are still there. Where are we going to house all these people? Oh wait, let's start with those rich folks. They've got really big houses with lots of room. In fact, they usually have multiple houses. How about everyone who advocated and benefited from these wars take personal responsibility for the refugees those wars create?

When you see a refugee you might see someone who speaks a different language and may have a different religion. Guess what? You have more in common with him than you do with the rich elite who run your country. Don't be fooled into hating your fellow man by those who are trying to stay in power.



  1. You know Sixbears, I'm not sure the US is better than Nazi Germany... there seems to be an uncanny resemblance between one Trump and a Hitler. And look at how the US police in general treat the Black people of your country... and while I'm on the subject, the US under Obama has sold 30 billion dollars worth of arms to others than the Bush administration did... As much as I would like to praise the Obama administration for trying to bring peace to the world, I'm sorry I cant... and the dysfunctional citizen of your keeps killing his fellow American... the world is a mess and America is making it a damn sight worse...

    1. The US is acting like a crazy person. The ideals we hold are in direct conflict with the actions we do.

  2. That should say that the Obama administration has sold arms worth 30 billion dollars more to others than the Bush administration and the dysfunctional citizens of your country thanks to the NRA keeps killing his fellow American at alarming rates... there have been more than 260 incidents this year where multiple killings have occurred, and your government is waging war against terror... ha, tell them to fix the terror from within first... if I was a refugee, the last place in the world I'd head to is the US...

    1. Maybe we aren't asking the right questions. Perhaps the problem isn't things like the easy access to guns.

      What is it about the US that makes us turn those guns against each other? Why is mental health care in the US so bad? What is it about our schools that makes students want to shoot their fellow students?

    2. What is it about other countries (schools) that makes the U.S. gov. (gunmen) want to kill them?

      And who is to blame for the killing?


  3. Six Bears, I saw these people , up close and personal, in Lebanon in 1983 and 1984. I promise you, they will take your offerings with one hand and slap you right in the face with the other.

    As an NRA member, I will pass over Flying Tortoise. I know it's impossible for a European to understand Americans. I never had much luck trying to explain anything to them. He's entitled to his opinion.

    1. Don't worry, I personally regard someone who has personal experience over someone who's lived under a mushroom and been eating manure all his life.

    2. People are smart -if given half a chance. I keep thinking we are trying to solve the wrong problems in the wrong way.

      While I see the world the way it is, in my heart I want a better world.

  4. one big problem in the usa is the lack of sensible governance of the mentally ill.

    it is hard to get treatment for a family member until something bad happens.
    then the mentally ill perpetrator is usually mishandled by police.
    there is no standard method.
    it is too complicated to go into here but canada has much better system for dealing with putting those who need it into a treatment facility.

    1. I've seen a weak and poor mental health system completely fall apart. It's handled poorly most places in the US.