Monday, April 11, 2016

Meme-ic Monday: When Syrian Refugees Move In

Refugees are big on the political scene and sometimes it's hard to remember that they are not "statistics" or "issues" but mothers, fathers, grandparents, teenagers, infants... people.

Many countries have blocked Syrian refugees or limited the number that can enter the country. They have done this for a number of reasons, but big among them is safety. There is a fear that DAESH members or other terrorists will slip in among them.

This meme captures attention by responding to people's fear... what should you do if Syrian refugees move into the neighborhood? There are those who would expect there then to be advice on how to protect yourself. But this means goes the other way. It calls us to reach out.

Subtly, with a picture of the Statue of Liberty, it reminds us that America has been a welcoming place for immigrants and refugees, whether they are fleeing hunger or hostile political regimes.

It also references a Biblical Parable: "The Good Samaritan," found in Luke 10. The statement is correct that we have the choice to be like the Samaritan or "some other guy." In Jesus's story, there were two other guys, both Jewish religious leaders, who walked on by. The Samaritan was the hero.

He also was unsure of the outcome when he intervened. The man who had been robbed may have been using the 1st century equivalent of ketchup to fake injuries. He may have harmed the one who tried to help. But the Samaritan helped anyway.

Back to those people who want to shut out refugees as a safety measure: that seems to be backfiring on them. DAESH (ISIS) is now taking advantage of the desperate situation of the tefugees and their sense of helplessness. They are recruiting in the refugee camps, promising great rewards. A man who can't feed is family is vulnerable to such advances. So policies that keep people out are leading to a more unsafe situation.

So let's be "Samaritans." For safety... and because we should.


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