Let's Focus on the Humans Affected by the Syrian Refugee Crisis

Without a doubt, this last presidential race was one for the books. Although it may go down as one of the craziest (and angriest) election seasons in American history, it’s somewhat understandable why it got so intense—after all, there was a lot on the line. Highly debated topics of huge importance included national security, gun control, climate change, the economy, women’s rights, police and minority relations, etc… the list goes on.

One of the topics that made headlines earlier in the campaign season was that of the Syrian refugees, and how many should be allowed to enter into the United States. What really struck me, however, was that the headlines were not centered around the Syrians and their condition, but rather on the candidates’ controversial reactions.

Most people I know were outraged about Trump’s statement that he would instigate a system of “extreme vetting” for all applicants seeking refugee in America, and his likening of refugees to a “Trojan horse.” However, his comments, although crude and unacceptable, have gained so much attention not only because they are so outrageous, but also because it taps into the fears that a lot of Americans have about our national security.

It’s so important to think about our national security, I think we’ve too easily lost sight about why letting refugees in is the more morally sound option. As well, I feel like our country, as a whole, has forgotten that these people are as real as you are or I am or any of us are—and now that this presidential race is finally at a close, it’s time to put the focus back on the Syrians in this crisis, and focus less on the political “he-said-she-said.”

Just for some background, the Syrian Civil War has already been going on for well over five years. There are now several factions fighting one another, and it didn’t begin this way, the war has devolved into both a religious conflict, as well as a political proxy war. Overall, it’s a very confusing situation, and it’s unlikely that it will resolve itself peacefully anytime soon. However, one thing is certain; over a quarter million people have been killed, and more than half of Syria’s population has been displaced. It is the deadliest conflict of the 21st century so far, and has ripped apart countless families and destroyed the homeland of millions.

Therefore, this crisis is so much deeper in significance than considering yourself politically liberal or conservative (neither of which is wrong!), or even about American foreign affairs. This crisis is something happening in real time, and the lives of millions of people being destroyed right before our eyes. It is and always will be debatable how much the U.S should be directly involved in the conflict, and we are all rightly worried about keeping our own homeland secure, I think that we should all also pause for a second and think about the implications of just sitting back and letting millions of human beings suffer. They are children and parents and siblings and friends and deserve to live as privileged a life as any of us do here. The least that we can do is open our arms to those who have suffered more than any of us can understand, and give them a place to call home. The vast majority of people fleeing from Syria and Libya are not radicals, but people of flesh and bone. And "refugee" is not a dirty or scary word. So, let's put the humanity back into the way we talk about the Syrian crisis! With certain security standards in check, which are already in place, of course, America could truly prosper from accepting more rich nationalities into the melting pot we cherish so dearly, and help give the hope of a better life back to thousands. 

Editor's Note: The opinions and views expressed throughout this piece are those of the writers alone. They do not reflect Her Campus at the University of Utah, the University of Utah, or Her Campus as an international magazine.