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What would we do if we were refugees?
May 9th, 2016
By Richard Morasci


I am always struck by how easy it is for us, Americans, to brush aside the plight of the Middle Eastern refugees in Europe when (1) this country meddled in the Middle East, completely destabilizing the area and helping to usher in the present chaotic violence in Iraq and Syria; and when (2) most of us, ourselves, are the descendents of immigrants who fled wars, economic woes or religious persecution. It was suggested in these pages that the refugees seek safety in countries closer to their own homelands.


I am reminded of a ship filled with Jews (the MS St. Louis) that was not allowed to dock in the U.S. in 1939. Perhaps the Jews were supposed to find safety in a country closer to Germany. Let’s look at our own ancestors. How long were the journeys they took? Life in the nearby countries for Syrians and Iraqis amounts to life in poverty, misery and filth. The refugee camps are more like concentration camps than safety zones. Here we sit in the richest country the world has ever experienced, but we are content not to share the great abundance we have. We should ask ourselves what would we do if we were those refugees.


Richard Morasci
San Francisco

 

From May 12, 2016 issue of Catholic San Francisco.

 

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