Because we’re still having an issue understanding the magnitude of the Syrian humanitarian crisis, (although I still can’t comprehend where the misunderstandings are — people are dying and need our help, so let’s help them) the beautiful Queen Rania of Jordan had a one-on-one interview with Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts on Oct. 2, 2015, in an effort to further explain why the world needs to speed it up with our “taking action” initiatives.
Her Majesty provided staggering numbers that are difficult to ignore. Since the beginning of the Syrian civil war four years ago, more than 250,000 Syrians have lost their lives. Half of Syria’s population has fled their homes — that’s around 11 million people trying to escape danger. Not to mention, 7 million Syrians are internally displaced and more than 4 million have become refugees.
“…refugees are running for their lives.”
Jordan, one of the smaller countries of the Arab world, has been impacted quite intensely — taking in more than 600,000 Syrian refugees. Refugees from all over the Middle East now make up more than 20 percent of Jordan’s population.
Queen Rania’s message is quite clear: She urges the world to take a “humanitarian approach” when facing this crisis. “I think the first thing we need to do is really put ourselves in their shoes,” she said. “These people are not leaving by choice, and that’s the difference between migrants and refugees.”
“You know, migrants choose to go to another country because they want a better job or they want an education. But refugees are running for their lives,” she said.
“When I look at a country like the United States, it baffles me that people don’t understand it because this a country where immigrants have done so much, and can you imagine what the United States would’ve been like without the contribution of, the valuable contribution, of so many immigrants?” It baffles us too.
The Queen continued to touch on one of the problems in today’s society regarding making real change happen. “Acting doesn’t just mean you just click ‘like’ and move on to the next post because, you know, you assume that somebody else will do something about it,” she said. “You are that somebody else. You’ve got to act on your values, because if you don’t, they just slip away.”
When you see a volunteer page of an organization that is asking for extra hands, don’t just “like” the page and continue to scroll. Sign-up to be a volunteer (CARE). When you see a donation page for an organization that is collecting money to fund medical supplies for life saving operations in refugee camps don’t just “like” the page and continue to scroll. Like it, donate to it and then share it (Syrian American Medial Society).
There is, what seems to be a growing fear of the Arab Muslim world in the west — a fear that Queen Rania places blame on for lack of support in this crisis. “I think it’s kind of to the fact that some of these stereotypes can sneak out of our subconscious without us knowing and make us make grave misjudgments of people and sometimes cause them a great deal of unfairness and injustice,” she said. Like when Donald Trump said in a statement that the “mass migration” of Syrians — in reference to the refugees fleeing for their lives — headed into the western world could quite possibly be an ISIS invasion. It’s this type of false fear and uneducated comments from media harlots like Trump that perpetuate the thoughts of the average American — that these children and their families begging for our help and looking for citizenship elsewhere are the enemy and are undeserving of whatever kindness we think we might have.
“I think it’s kind of to the fact that some of these stereotypes can sneak out of our subconscious without us knowing and make us make grave misjudgments of people and sometimes cause them a great deal of unfairness and injustice.”
We need to do a better job of taking care of our fellow humans. We need to do a better job of spreading awareness and educating others so that this crisis gets the attention it deserves. We need to do a better job of understanding when to put our political opinions aside and recognize that although these refugees may be “different” than you are, it is your obligation as a figure in humanity to do what you can to help them. We need to do a better job at remembering that at some point in our lives we’ve all needed some type of help — and it’s time for all of us to return that favor to someone in need.
For more ways to help Syrian refugees, follow the links below:
- Doctors Without Borders: Doctors Without Borders helps people worldwide where the need is greatest, delivering emergency medical aid to people affected by conflict, epidemics, disasters or excluded from health care.
- Islamic Relief USA: Islamic Relief USA provides relief and development in a dignified manner regardless of gender, race, or religion – and works to empower individuals in their communities and give them a voice in the world.
- International Rescue Committee: The IRC is currently providing support to Syrian refugees in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, Turkey and Greece. They are also helping to resettle Syrians granted refugee status in the United States.
- International Medical Corps: The International Medical Corps assists those in urgent need anywhere, anytime, no matter what the conditions, providing lifesaving health care and health care-related emergency services — often within hours.
Play your part. We all have one.
Image from Good Morning America