Over 50 million people are displaced right now, mostly from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, and Lybia. Most of the talk about how to handle this problem is to increase the number of refugees allowed into western countries. I believe that accepting refugees is the bandage that is applied immediately in emergency triage, but it's not the long-term solution. If crazed gunmen are attacking civilians in America, we do two things. One is, of course, to treat the wounded. The other is to stop the gunmen. We see stopping the gunmen as the most urgent need, and we do it with whatever force is necessary.
I am anti-war, philosophically. I like to sit on my high horse and say that every life is sacred and we don't have the right to judge people by the causes they've been lured into -- there is potential redemption for everyone. I know that in this complicated world and the many fronts of these wars, my idealism doesn't help. The only thing that really helps is learning.
As I read superficial reports on the refugees, my initial reaction was that Assad must be stopped at any cost. The US is supporting the rebellion against him in the Syrian civil war, and it would be nice to think that would solve the problem. Not a chance. Our fight is, in theory, against ISIS, which I also tend to think is the right call. So we're spending $1 million every day to keep ISIS at bay -- not stop them or even slow them down, just keep them from gaining territory, at the cost of thousands of lives. Assad is losing ground and the rebels will probably eventually win the civil war, but that won't really impact ISIS. Russia supports Assad, which lengthens the war and gives the current government a fighting chance. Russia and the US would do well to get on the same page. Russia's stance is that they also feel ISIS should be stopped, but that has nothing to do with Assad's regime.
Enter Turkey, who started bombing ISIS locations this summer, but then also started bombing Kurdish settlements. Huh? Seems to our western minds that Turkey isn't making any sense, but they assert that both groups are threatening Turkish boarders. OR there's some political something-or-other going on in Turkey and these border attacks are an attempt by Turkish president to win back a majority in parliament before November elections there. My head is spinning.
AND on top of all the politics and fronts and allegiances, there are other jihadist groups besides ISIS becoming more and more active. AND there are at least 4,000, maybe more, ISIS soldiers POSING as refugees so they can infiltrate western countries and build support there.
So what can we do? Supply the emergency bandages, sure -- encourage our elected officials to work toward the US accepting more refugees faster, while still screening as thoroughly as possible to limit ISIS operatives. We can also express our views to our representatives about international relationships, especially with Russia. If we could come to an agreement with Russia, perhaps fewer civilians would be at risk while we all try to calm things down in Syria and reach some sort of stability.
Mostly what we can do is continue to educate ourselves, and to make a concerted effort to continue to care. It's difficult -- I want to bury my head in the sand over all this, and I'm an activist! But our strongest weapon is our ability to care, so care we must, no matter how painful. Care enough to read more. Care enough to be moved by the pictures and know that they aren't showing anything new, that these atrocities have been going on for ages. Care enough to communicate with elected officials and write to news agencies. Care enough to think. If we care and learn and think, answers will come. We have to remember that answers don't just present themselves; they have to be sought. Let's all do the work of seeking answers, and a light will come, probably from somewhere that we least expect it.
Please don't under-estimate the power of caring.