Remembering our privilege: Americans should accept war on terror, refugees

By Jamie Black, Business Editor

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary privilege is “a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group of people,” but it’s more than that.

Privilege is forgetting that there are men and women serving in the armed forces who are putting their lives at risk to stop terrorist organizations. Privilege is forgetting that innocent people are currently dying as a result of oppressive governments and terrorist groups.

On May 5, a Navy SEAL was killed in Somalia during a mission to fight Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants. The SEAL, Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator Kyle Milliken, is obviously not the first person to die to protect our country from terrorism.

The Physicians for Social Responsibility, Physicians for Global Survival and the Nobel Prize-winning International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War found that 1.3 million people have died in the war on terror in a 2015 study.

Two years later, people are on the Internet complaining about and planning how to dodge the draft if a World War III arises all from the comfort of their own homes, while those in the armed forces are suffering.

In addition to those fighting for their country, civilians are losing their lives because of terrorism and cruel governments. For the past seven years, the citizens of Syria have been suffering the repercussions of the civil war between the President Bashar al-Assad and a variety of rebels.

The rebels are fighting against Assad’s repression, and the civilians of Syria are just fighting for another day of life, but that hasn’t mattered too much until recently.

Before Assad ordered the Syrian military to use chemical weapons on his own people, most Americans worried only about if their country was or wasn’t taking in Syrian refugees instead of worrying about the actual refugees themselves.

Despite this worry, the Migration Policy Institute reported that between Oct. 2011 and Dec. 2016, only 18,007 Syrian refugees were let into the United States.

In this span of five years guess how many people in the U. S. died because of refugees being let into the country. The answer, zero. Zero people died from 2011 until 2016 due to Syrian refugees, and yet some Americans still don’t want to let in refugees.

The United Nations estimates that 400,000 people have died because of the Syrian Civil War. That’s about 156 people a day for the past seven years. Meanwhile, nobody is dying in America because of refugees, but our humanity sure is.

How can people look at pictures of innocent children and other human beings dying as a result of conflict and not even consider letting refugees into our country, a country that is meant to welcome the tired and poor who “yearn to breathe free” all on the behalf of Lady Liberty?

Less than a hundred years ago, the U. S. made the mistake of not letting in Jewish refugees, and because of that mistake more Jews died. Are we really going to let that happen again? Are we really going to sit back on our privileged butts and close our shores?

Not everyone in America holds equal privilege, but we must recognize that every U. S. citizen holds privilege over those who are suffering because of war. Because of this privilege, it shouldn’t be a question who we do and don’t help in times of need.

The United States as a whole is privileged. Not all its citizens are, but the country is privileged and we can’t forget that.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s