We need to assist, not dismiss Syrian refugee crisis victims

By Angela Stevens

Syria is more than 6,000 miles away from the United States. To many Americans, this is a signal that we should not care about the Syrian refugee crisis, that it has nothing to do with us.

Many people may not even know what the Syrian refugee crisis is. If they do have opinions, they are often biased, filled with misinformation or ignorant.

Sadly, some may even believe the crisis is that Syrians are coming into our country ” holding a “not in my backyard” mentality.

A Bloomberg Politics poll found that 53 percent of Americans do not want Syrian refugees to come to America.

The truth is that Syrians are normal people who have been displaced and are looking to get out of a war zone.

Dana Nemo, a third-year biology student who is also a refugee from Syria, said that Syria used to be a wonderful place she called home. She loved spending time with her friends whom she had known since she was a little girl and walking late at night with them to go to stores and have ice cream.

This sadly changed when the people of Syria decided to have a revolution in the name of democracy. This led to a great conflict between the citizens and the government. Soon the country that she loved dearly became a scary place to live in.

Nemo recalled shots outside of her home and her mother screaming for her to hide in the closet. That led to her family’s relocation to America in 2012. They brought only clothing and a few essential items from home with them.

One of her cousins immigrated to Germany after a bomb was dropped on a street that he and his friends were playing on. His friends died and he had to undergo several surgeries on his foot. Nemo stated that her extended family members who are still in Syria have decided to stay there because the immigration process is so strenuous.

Nemo’s home is now in America, at Cal Poly Pomona and at the Muslim Student Alliance.

Nemo stated, “I’m normal. We’re normal. We just want to live a normal life.”

Over 50 percent of refugees are under 18 years old. These people are not terrorists. Most of them are children and the rest are people who are fighting for their families to survive. They want to take care of their children and want to live without fearing for their lives.

These people are not abnormal, but their circumstances are extraordinary. No one chooses what country they are going to be born into or what may happen to that country when they are children. It is humanity’s duty to take care of its most vulnerable members.

If something similar were to happen in America, most countries would help us out, just like the world did with 9/11. It is a duty as a citizen of this world to open one’s heart and hand for those who need it.

California has already made a big step to help refugees. According to CBS, California has taken in more refugees than any state in the country, with most refugees living in the San Diego area.

For all Americans to care, it starts with us. We as students and members of CPP are so close to this issue.

We know these refugees.

Students of CPP clearly do care about this issue, because in one week’s time over $500 was collected by MSA for Syrian refugee orphans. What is important is that CPP continues to build on this sentiment to ultimately bring more unity and peace for the CPP community.

Nishat Anzum, a fourth-year electrical engineering student and president of CPP’s MSA, said that the alliance had a competition online for posting the cutest baby photos. Anzum said that she was looking at all of the photos and thought of refugee children. “We could have been them,” said Anzum.

Anzum stated that even though charity week has ended, MSA will continue to collect donations indefinitely. For readers who want to get involved, please stop by MSA’s table with a donation (money, clothes, diapers, etc.), visit Islamic Relief USA online or contact the Facebook group Cal Poly Pomona MSA.

Angela Stevens has family members who have been impacted by the war in Syria.

Dana Nemo is a third-year biology student who is also a refugee from Syria

Angela Stevens / The Poly Post

Dana Nemo is a third-year biology student who is also a refugee from Syria

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