Back in the 1930s, many members of my family lived in Germany. With the rise of Hitler, some realized something very bad was on the horizon, and they got out of the country. Others thought it was just a minor turn toward nationalism after the embarrassment of Germany after WWI, and decided to ride out what they believed to be a temporary bit of political insanity.
Those who remained disappeared into the Nazi concentration camps, never to be seen again. That is the tragic legacy of my own family which didn’t recognize a genocide on the horizon.
Today we’re faced with yet another turmoil in the Middle East, thanks in part to decades of American foreign policy going back to overthrowing the democratically elected government of Iran all the way back in 1953 – because of oil.
Now the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum has recognized the predicament of Syrian refugees, and issued this statement:
“While recognizing that security concerns must be fully addressed, we should not turn our backs on the thousands of legitimate refugees,” the statement read. “The Museum calls on public figures and citizens to avoid condemning today’s refugees as a group. It is important to remember that many are fleeing because they have been targeted by the Assad regime and ISIS for persecution and in some cases elimination on the basis of their identity.” (Source)
Politicians like Donald Trump and Ben Carson have raised the fear-mongering regarding Syrian refugees to a disgusting level, and the GOP base has lapped it up like a bunch of hungry dogs.
If we want to call ourselves the greatest nation on the planet, then we need to shrug off the paranoia and xenophobia. Back before the Holocaust, America turned away the Jewish refugees on the SS St. Louis, and many of those who sought protection in this country went on to die in Nazi concentration camps.
Telling people who want to escape government oppression and religious extremism to look somewhere else is not America, and it is certainly hypocritical for a country that calls itself a “Christian nation.” We are Americans, we are a sprawling country that has taken in refugees throughout our history, and we have benefited from that tradition.
It is imperative that we reject the xenophobia from the conservative media. Our country was built on immigration and religious diversity, and we need to grow up and stop being selfish.
We’re the most powerful and diverse nation on Earth – it’s time we start acting like it. If we don’t, we’re passive contributors to another Holocaust, and we’re also bunch of fearful hypocrites.
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