“One does not ask of one who suffers: What is your country and what is your religion? One merely says: You suffer, that is enough for me.” –Louis Pasteur
I have been appalled by the lack of compassion as our nation has talked about refugees over the last few months through the Presidential debates and in following conversations. As I learn more about these families who are struggling to survive, I can’t help but wonder if our nation will look back with the same regret on this crisis as we did during the Rwandan genocide when we saw mass murders and did nothing.
I’m just in the beginning stages of learning about the crisis myself, but I wanted to share some of the helpful videos and articles that are explaining the situation to me – and giving some great ways to make a difference from right where you are.
How did the Syrian war start?
This video gives a pretty good explanation of how the war got started, although it is clear there are no good or easy solutions to this mess…
And be sure to check out this great article: Quick Facts: What you Need to Know about the Syrian Crisis
Who are these refugees?
Thousands of Syrians are fleeing their homes every day. Because of this constant and brutal fighting, normal families just like ours are facing some of the most appalling questions…
Do we stay in the only home we’ve ever known and risk being killed every day by renegade bombs, ISIS, or rebel armies? Or do we flee, in the hopes that we can find a better life for our families that isn’t wrapped up in constant fear? Perhaps we will die along the way. We have no idea where we will end up or what kind of job, housing or care we will receive when we arrive. But we could survive, and maybe even one day return when our country is at peace.
Things have to be pretty desperate where you are to make that kind of a decision. And it is serious. Nearly 220,000 people have been killed, half of whom were civilians. (source: mercycorps)
See more pictures and get a better understanding of who is fleeing here: Notes on the Syrian Exodus: ‘Epic in scale, inconceivable until you witness it.’
Where will they go?
Refugee camps are flooded to overflowing, and others are establishing makeshift camps or finding whatever shelter they can along the way. Without work visas, they cannot make money to find better housing, and they often lack even basic necessities like clean water and sanitation. And as more EU countries close their borders, these families are stuck with no where to go.
What can we do?
When people in this world suffer, I believe we are called as followers of Jesus to step alongside them in support and compassion. Jesus himself was an alien, foreign and without a home. And by that chosen lifestyle, he demonstrates for us what it means to care for others, join in their suffering, and share a hope that is greater than ourselves.
But even with that knowledge and desire, it’s sometimes hard to know how to get involved. Here are a few ways to get started:
- Donate. Do your research before giving, because it’s best to donate to those who are on the ground and effectively using the money… check out Samaritans Purse , World Relief or World Vision to get started. (And I’d love to know who you’ve connected with.)
- Sign a petition. Let U.S. leaders know you want to help those who are hurting.
- Find a local group that you can get involved with. Local groups are putting together grocery bags of hygiene supplies to ship over. Others are advocating with government, or just creating better awareness.
- Pray for peace. And pray for those who are left most vulnerable along the way.
I hope this is helpful as you learn about the refugee crisis. I’d love to hear what resources and ways you’ve gotten involved too…
Step by Step,