In a talk given by Luma Mufleh titled, “Don’t feel sorry for refugees-believe in them”, she recalls from her experience as a refugee and her efforts in working with refugees in the United States. Luma Mufleh is an Arab and a Muslim. She founded an all-refugee school where the children refer to her as “coach”. She stated that there are 65.3 million people forcibly removed from their homes due to war persecution. 11 million of these people are from Syria alone. Over 30,000 people flee their homes daily. The rest of the bunch, remain in refugee camps where conditions are far from humane. We have seen the highest number of refugees in the world since World War 2.
Lumah states in her TED Talk, “In the last two years, we have seen an escalating anti-refugee sentiment. It’s global. The numbers continue to grow because we do nothing to prevent it and nothing to stop it.” The issue that we are facing is that it is becoming more and more difficult for refugees to come to the United States. The 0.1 percent that are lucky enough to make it in to the US are still treated as outsiders and misfits. Lumah references several experiences of hers and those that she has worked with to illustrate the brutal circumstances of refugee families all over the world. There is no refuting that there is a global refugee crisis in the world we live in. Thousands of people every day are fighting for a better life. There are some things that we can do to help. First, we can educate ourselves on the issue and be aware of the things that are going on in the world. It might seem like you only hear about this stuff in movies, but this is real life for so many people. Being able to be aware of the problem will help people try to empathize and support those who are actually living this.
The first article that I observed was titled, “The Global Refugee Crisis: Empirical Evidence and Policy Implications for Improving Public Attitudes and Facilitating Refugee Resettlement.” This article discusses the crisis at hand and some possible ways that we are going to help refugees in their effort to create a new life. This article suggests that the process “requires relatively favorable attitudes by members of host societies, protection of the well-being of refugees, and effective integration of refugees into new host countries” (p. 78, Esses, 2017). Coming up with a solution is no easy task. “While for many refugees a preferred solution may be to return to their home country with the restoration of safe conditions, this may not be possible due to continued conflict, political instability, insecurity, loss of livelihood, and difficulty reclaiming land and property” (p. 80, Esses, 2017). It is our job to make sure that these refugees are seen as humans, as Lumah suggests in her TED talk. We need not to feel bad for refugees, we need to believe in them and give them an opportunity to create a life for themselves and their families.
The second article that I found was titled, “Help Refugees Help Themselves, Let Displaced Syrians Join the Labor Market.” There are a lot of components to the refugee crisis. Many things are to be considered when dealing with host lands and their willingness to cooperate. This article states that “An effective refugee policy should improve the lives of the refugees in the short term and the prospects of the region in the long term, and it should also serve the economic and security interests of the host states”(p. 85, Betts, Collier, 2015). One way that we can help the refugees is to allow them to work. Many Syrian refugees already have industrial skills and are well educated. These people have a lot to offer and are chomping at the bit for an opportunity to provide for their families. Lumah recalls her first job after she graduated from college. She was well educated and ready for a managerial position. She ended up working for a restaurant washing dishes, and working the stove. She says in her talk, “I was humbled; I was shown the value of hard work. But most importantly, I felt valued and embraced.” A great way to help is to allow these people to help themselves. They are ready and capable to work and provide.
In conclusion, there are many things that we can do to help refugees. We can help them by being educated on the issue and not ignorant to what is going on in real life. Getting out of your comfort zone and spending real time with people, listening to their stories, can motivate people to want to make a change. Another way that we can help, is the let them help themselves. We do not need to feel bad for them as Lumah says over and over. Our job is to support them and to provide opportunities for them to work hard. There are more refugees in the world today than any other time, but there are also more opportunities for people to reach out and do something to help make a change for the future.
Esses, V. M., Hamilton, L. K., & Gaucher, D. (2017). The Global Refugee Crisis: Empirical Evidence and Policy Implications for Improving Public Attitudes and Facilitating Refugee Resettlement. Social Issues and Policy Review, 11(1), 78-123. doi:10.1111/sipr.12028
Betts, A., & Collier, P. (2017). Refuge: rethinking refugee policy in a changing world. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Lumah Mufleh “Don’t feel sorry for refugees-believe in them”