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Americans should welcome all refugees

By Arshya Chopra

“The glistening bright sun had just peeped out of the horizon and birds chirped in exuberance when all of a sudden I heard the vociferous piercing sound of bullets. Fear was flashing as fast as lightning in my veins and there was absolutely no time to think about anything but to flee from our hometown Lahore and escape death. We had nowhere to go. As we tried to escape bullets, one fierce pellet came straight toward my uncle and he was shot dead. We came to New Delhi, India to find solace and make a new beginning. The sun set and the night was sad as the eyeball of sorrow behind a shroud.”

These were the stories I grew up hearing from my grandparents, who fled from a city named Lahore in what is currently Pakistan at the time of the Partition of India. They came to New Delhi in the prospect of a peaceful and harmonious life.

This event took place in 1947, but here I stand today in a modern and more developed world where not much has changed. There are more humans now, but, still, where is the humanity?

The U.S.-Mexican refugee crisis is at its pinnacle as news about the crisis fills the media on a daily basis. This has touched many hearts all around the globe and has sparked great concern.

In modern times, as countries are integrating and interconnecting, it is essential for all people to unite to make the world a more congenial place.

Refugees are our collective concern and, in the name of humanity, it is a fundamental duty of all able countries to take in refugees.

Refugees are desperate to break out of apocalyptic conditions and start a harmonious life in which they have a future. Refugees see the light at the end of a dark tunnel full of obstacles and, though they are aware of their slim chances of survival, they still take the risk along with their loved ones. They come together to march toward the spark of light, but often an outraged wave comes and drowns the refugees along with their dreams.

Refugees are innocent and optimistic people who only hope to improve their current undesired situations and futures.

People often have a fear of refugees, and there is resistance to them in society. This fear of taking in refugees has existed even in the deep roots of history. The refugees and the situation may change, but fear of outsiders is a constant factor in most societies.

People often feel that the socio-economic fabric of their countries will shift with the influx of refugees. People draw distinctions between people of different religions, ethnicities and skin colors. Members of society who perform unskilled jobs often fear that refugees will take over their jobs.

There is absolutely no basis for this counterproductive fear, and it needs to be overcome. Influential and enlightened people need to communicate to others why refugees must be absorbed and how, in the long run, they will benefit society both culturally and economically. Charities and political organizations can counter fear by creating positive feelings toward refugees.

Refugees bring with them a plethora of contemporary ideas, energy, drive and hunger to catalyze the cultural and economic growth of the society that welcomes them.

Albert Einstein, whose name often stands synonymous with the word “genius,” made a hasty retreat from Germany where he faced accusations of treason from the Nazi party. His contribution to science has greatly helped the U.S. economy and all of humanity.

There are multitudinous archetypes of Jewish refugees who were being tormented and abused in Germany and who fled from Europe to the U.S. with hopes for an improved future. Among other successes, these refugees have created prodigious world leading banking businesses in New York and movie-making businesses in Hollywood.

The Parsi community in India arrived as refugees from Iran and have made substantial contributions to the Indian industry, economy, science and culture. They are the backbone of India, helping the subcontinent to spread its arms and achieve world-class success on various fronts.

Time and again history has proven that bringing in new ideas and people into a society, though it may cause some conflict in the short term, is very healthy for the recipient society in the long run.

Students share opinions around campus

Should students be concerned about the refugee crisis?

Tomer Aberbach, a junior computer science major. (Clare McGreevy / Opinions Editor)

“They should probably care about what’s going on and care that there are people who need help.”

Nivetha Srinivasan, a junior biology major. (Clare McGreevy / Opinions Editor)

“In the end, humans are humans and if we don’t have compassion for them then who are we?”


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