The question has not received a satisfactory answer: What has happened to the West’s collective humanity?
Last week, as she spoke to The Washington Center’s Inauguration ’17 seminar, Middle East expert Barbara Slavin noted that close to one-half of all Syrians had been displaced by the country’s civil war. According to the CIA Factbook, Syria’s population was close to 18-million people in 2016.
Cut that number in half and you are close to the population of New York City.
Imagine everyone in that city having to find another place to live…and finding their paths to freedom blocked.
Slavin added that while Germany took in close to one-million Syrians last year, the United States let in only 12,000. By contrast, Canada took in 60,000.
The arguments for closing America’s doors are all too common by now: The refugees might be terrorists. We cannot afford them. We have too many of our own who need food, jobs and housing.
Might the real reason be “they” are really not like “us?”
Would America accept only 12,000 Irish, English, French, Germans or other “people who are like us” if those people were in crisis because of civil war?
You and I know that answer.
Europe continues to have the same conversation.
Europe isn’t in crisis because Syria is burning. Europe is in crisis because right-wing populists are trying to resuscitate the ghosts of the 1930s.
If you do not know what the policies of the 1930s in Europe meant for the remainder of the 20th century, then grab a well-written and -researched history book.
There are legitimate concerns whether President-elect Donald Trump will allow a paltry number of Syrians into the U.S. in 2017. At the same time, Germany’s chancellor Andrea Merkel faces the electorate this year. French voters also will elect a new president this year. The country will tack right no matter who is selected.
This could be an even worse year for Syrians, especially if Trump slams the door on one end and allows Russia and the Syrian government to pound away militarily inside Syria on the other end.