Friday, November 20, 2015

The 10,000

Before my American Landsleute get too bunged up about the possibility of accepting 10,000 refugees next year* and the terrible risks involved with helping people (yes, I agree there is always a risk when helping people), know that Germany, with its population of 81 million and being half the size of Texas, took in over 400,000 refugees between September 1st and mid-October this year. Estimates are that Germany will have taken in 1 million refugees in 2015.

In 2013 about 127,000 asylum seekers came to Germany, and in 2014 there were more than 202,500. Let me repeat: in 2015, we’re talking about 1 million (1,000,000) new refugees in Germany.

*Taking in 10,000 refugees in this crisis is a little bit like going to your neighbor’s house during a flood and offering to help bail out the basement with an eyedropper. Just sayin’.

Fond du Lac, WI flood, 2008
"Anyone got an eyedropper?"

People and politicians are fighting about this all over Germany. Many communities have formed friendship groups to aid the refugees in whatever ways they can, but there are also Pegida groups and individuals filled with hatred and fear who participate in protest marches and rallies, burn down facilities meant for temporary refugee housing, and spread their hatred and fear through social media.

Many people (including Americans) were shocked and saddened for perhaps 48 hours by the photograph of Aylan Kurdi that made headlines around the world not long ago. By now (according to a Bloomberg poll) 53% of Americans don't think the U.S. should accept any Syrian refugees, and the governors of half of the states have said they will refuse to accept refugees. (Uh, sorry guys, apparently you don't actually have the power to decide that.) It's good to know that some Americans recognize the need for humanitarian aid in this crisis.

But lately I’ve read about this grumbling over being forced to accept 10,000 refugees and the risks involved with doing so – some of them might be terrorists!! Yeah, that’s possible. Among the terrorists responsible for the recent Paris attacks, I believe one of them might have entered Europe with the flood of refugees. [UPDATE: No, none of them came to Europe with the refugees. They were all European nationals.] Four of them were French citizens, if I'm not mistaken.

I’ll make this short and go back to writing about nice things as soon as I can. This is the world we live in. Those who need to shout against helping refugees should do as they must. But those who also call themselves Christians – what exactly are they learning in their church? Did Jesus say "Love (and help) your neighbor as long as it poses no risk to you"? Remember “WWJD?” (“What Would Jesus Do?” – a slogan American Christians wore on t-shirts and bracelets several years ago.)? Would Jesus turn the refugees away and say it’s too risky to help them because some among them might be terrorists? I am not claiming to know, because Jesus never spoke in my ear. But then I’m not one of those who display Christian slogans or attend church regularly.

I don't think it's necessary to make such a big fuss about accepting 10,000 refugees in a year. There must be at least 10,000 lunatics with easy access to guns loose in the U.S.. Americans' safety and security are not guaranteed by refusing to offer sanctuary to 10,000 refugees fleeing from the same demons they are afraid of. It seems a wee bit contradictory to shake fists on the one hand shouting "We will not be afraid! If we show we're afraid, then the terrorists win! Show them we're strong! God bless America!" and on the other hand to say the U.S. shouldn't help people who are fleeing from terrorists because of the fear of potential risks.

Help or don't help. Whatever. But all the fuss over whether or not America should bring an eyedropper to a flooded village sounds a little silly to me.

This post was brought to you by Sometimes I Just Can't Keep My Mouth Shut Productions.

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