I haven’t written on this blog in a while. Nearly a year, actually. The last 11 months have been a whirlwind and, against all reason, I’m now living in West Texas and attending graduate school. I actually only have a couple weeks left in my first semester and really should be working on the three papers and two projects I have due soon. However, I’m sick and goddamn tired of seeing islamophobic, xenophobic, and hateful talk springing out of fear, and now you’re going to hear me rant about it.
The Paris attacks happened one week ago. And within that week, more than half of U.S. governors have decided that they won’t be accepting any Syrian refugees. Chris Christie, the governor of New Jersey, has said that he will not accept a single refugee, “not even orphans under the age of five.” I don’t know if he thinks his threatening of parentless children makes him sound tough, but to me he sounds like a bit of an enormous asshole. The governor of my home state, one tough nerd, stated that he wanted the procedures for processing refugees to be reviewed. All of this despite the fact that not a single Paris attacker has been proven to be a real Syrian refugee. All of this because a fake Syrian passport was found next to the body of the one of the terrorists.
Let me tell you a little something about the process for refugees entering the U.S. IT’S FUCKING SUPER GODDAMN HARD. It’s not the same as in the E.U. where refugees are able to cross from Turkey into Greece for $1000. We have this little thing called the Atlantic Ocean separating us from them. The fake passport would have been discovered before they even completed the first hurdle of the entry process. Not to mention that this is the hardest way for a potential terrorist to enter the country. It’s much easier to enter as a student or on a tourist visa. Yet we don’t see governors asking for the processes for these programs to be reviewed and tightened. And that’s because this is all reactionary bullshit and there isn’t a shred of reason behind it, only fear.
And those spreading the fear, mainly the Republican presidential hopefuls, have just gone too far. What fucking world is this where Germany has welcomed Syrian refugees with open arms while serious U.S. presidential candidates are suggesting religious tests for refugees, spying on & shutting down mosques, and forcing Muslims to register & carry special I.D. badges? What a change 70 years makes.
And all of this has lead to a rise in hate crimes against Muslims-Americans who have been living in this country peacefully. BuzzFeed has been keeping a list of all the Islamophobic actions since the Paris attacks. This is not the America I love. The fight that we are in is not Christianity versus Islam, despite what some would have you believe. This is a battle against hate and we need to beat it with compassion. That is not done by shutting out refugees, who are fleeing the selfsame violence which we fear.
What happened to being the shining beacon on the hill? What happened to, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free”? What happened to just simple, goddamn empathy?
And the Statue of Liberty wept.