Most people have heard of the parable about a truck getting stuck in a tunnel. Adult engineers and transportation specialists looked at it, and offered solutions that simply wouldn’t work – from digging it out, to disassembling it entirely. Finally, a child simply said, “why don’t you let the air out of tires, and drag it out?” The moral of the story is that sometimes adults make things far too complicated, so they need to look at problems like a child.
When it comes to the issue of refugees, Americans certainly do need to look at the issue from the perspective of children. This isn’t about finding a solution to the problem, but it is definitely about seeing the fact that we are part of the problem. During the election, refugees became a hot button issue, and Americans failed miserably at seeing beyond the sound bites. On one side, these people were demonized as potential terrorists, and depicted as the most horrible creatures on the planet. The other side was generally speechless, and could only muster cries of “racism.” Both sides were wrong, for different reasons.
I failed on this one, too. I got at least partly sucked into the hatred.
The fact is that the refugees have been a political and literal football being punted around by world powers. That means they have suffered trauma, are not receiving social services and psychological assistance to deal with that, and are being corralled into small areas around the world. They are financially dependent on whatever nation they land in, don’t have opportunities to get out of the camps they’re dumped in, and are viewed as a threat by locals. Bluntly, the adults are treating them like animals, and are shocked when there are problems.
Guardian decided to ask kids about refugees, and yes, you do need to watch this.
Funny, but those refugees don’t look as dangerous as the politicians claim they are, do they? It’s true, they focused on the children, while there are adult refugees who are committing crimes. But, they are being forced to live in squalor, and no one is making a concerted effort to help them learn how to interact with people outside of the war zone. That’s not taking into account cultural differences between Syria and Europe, either. The solution is the problem, since the solution is to just dump them en masse in small areas, without hope of getting out.
The kids get it, that it’s best to think about each other on the same footing. Those British children hope that the refugee children have at least the basics that they need (they don’t.) When you see a little girl wishing for “warm water,” while standing in front of tent, do you think “she’s a terrible threat to our national security”? If you do, then maybe no one can help you.