TOM DAVIES: The Verdict — Lessons Of The Past Teach Us To Help Syrian Refugees Now

I was pondering what to write for the Thanksgiving when I saw the picture of the little Syrian boy who had drowned when his refugee boat sank. A rubber boat full of refugees trying to escape the horrors of war … and this little fella lost his life.

I then saw a picture of a few bombed-out, literally uninhabitable cities in Syria. It really triggered thoughts of the past — thoughts of the reaction when Pearl Harbor was bombed, when we declared war on Japan and when we put Japanese American citizens in concentration camps because we thought they might cause harm to the homeland.

This was taking place at the same time as many Japanese-Americans were enlisting in the armed services in valiant defense of their country, the United States of America. Just think about it for a moment: Entire families uprooted and treated like criminals … and there were NEVER any threats by them, and NEVER did they pose a threat to their chosen land, and NEVER did they take any anti-American actions by way of sabotage. Yet we prejudged them and incarcerated them.

Then in today’s context, think how this country responded to the plea for help from the German and European Jews who would be murdered by the Nazi regime. Entire families were running for their lives — leaving everything they owned behind as they boarded ships, trains and every mode of transportation just to escape murder. To our eternal shame, we turned away the ships loaded with Jewish families because of wartime hysteria. Once again, we had a chance to assist those who needed help, and we dropped the ball.

Politicians in those days claimed they knew nothing of what was happening to the Jews, ignoring the boatloads of refugees and their cries for help. I can’t imagine how our troops felt when they entered the holocaust area and saw the people who were still alive in Auschwitz and the other death camps. I certainly could imagine our military going on a rampage to make the Nazis pay dearly for what they had done. Yet, at home, we did little to help. Thankfully, there were individuals who did help some escape the killing, but it’s obvious that was not enough.

Back to today’s situation. With Syrian refugees running for their lives, we have politicians who say, “Yes, we should help — but don’t let them into this country. Set up camps where they can live and provide them with some food.”

In the name of all that’s holy, those politicians are either uninformed, heartless or just playing politics. Maybe they pay no attention to the nightly TV news or the daily news, both print and television. If they have the slightest inkling of what the Syrian homeland looks like now, they’ve sure kept their knowledge a secret. The horrible situation on the ground is clear right now and has been for some time.

ISIS does something wrong, and the allied air power, now including Russia, bombs the cities they occupy until all that remains are piles of rubble — rubble that used to be homes, stores, schools, hotels!

We don’t seem to talk much about “collateral damage” when we are involved in these undeclared wars. I, for one, do not consider human beings nothing but “collateral damage.” Try as hard as they might, the military cannot escape the results of their attacks.

I’ll tell you so what!

Imagine that you are in your own home in Moorhead-Fargo. Imagine it’s a holiday — like Thanksgiving. Everyone is around the table enjoying the time and place. Wham! The bombs start falling, and your neighborhood, churches, schools, hospitals and food supplies are blown to smithereens. Imagine further that this is happening all over the country. On top of that, a bunch of ISIS-like murderers are killing men, women and children indiscriminately. And there is no one to protect you.

Now, just for the fun of it, assume that Canada is not under attack. You pack up your family and head for the border. Lo and behold, you are not allowed entry because you are Americans!

Think about that for a moment.

The new thought now is that maybe we need “boots on the ground.” Damn it, I wish someone would get the national media to stop using that cute little catch-phrase. The so-called “boots on the ground” are on the feet of brave men and women in our military. They are human beings. They may be heroes, but to call them “boots on the ground” minimizes their humanity and their duty. Let’s call those who serve in our military what they are — individuals who are given a job to do and are doing it as best they can with the restrictions placed upon them.

We’ve had Syrians in this country forever — good, productive people, like most immigrants. The governor of Minnesota has it right. The governor in North Dakota had it right at first but then fell on his head and changed his mind. ISIS, playing the role of the bogey man, says it will infiltrate this country by joining the refugees. Immediately some of our top leaders bought into that boast.

We don’t have problems with them now, and the last thing ISIS would do is put their empty-headed killers among the immigrants, who would probably rip them limb from limb.

We have to learn from the past. We have to give the refugees a place to live. ISIS is killing them at home; we’re bombing the bejezuz out of their homeland; and we have a duty to assist them.

Some nitwits suggest letting only the Christian Syrians in. I don’t know what those dolts are drinking, but whatever it is, responsible people ought to call them on that stance. Or maybe they might read our Constitution or the quotes on our Statue of Liberty, donated to us by the French for our assistance to them two centuries ago.

The Syrian refugees need help. We should not repeat the mistakes of the past. We must give it to them.

I am so thankful to be living in this country. I’m thankful for the caring of the people in the Moorhead-Fargo area. My own family and siblings are in a good and safe place, and I wish all could be as secure as we are.

Every society has its extremists, as do we, but nevertheless we have given and can continue to give to those in need. My Thanksgiving wish is that we help those in the most desperate need, the boatloads of human beings who flock to the American dream.

The governors who now maintain they will not accept immigrants will, sooner or later, have their heads removed from their behinds by the federal government, which pre-empts the states in the matter.

God bless America and everything it stands for! Now let’s show ISIS we won’t be bullied and scared off by their threats … and help the very people who need us most.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

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