*In replacement of Spring GEF meeting
I attended an event on the Syrian Refugee Crisis. The event took place on Wednesday, April 12th and was hosted in Farzaneh Hall 146.
The event began with us watching the Documentary 4.1 Miles. The documentary is a short film that follows one man who lives in Greece. He takes his boat out into the ocean and helps to rescue refugees who are struggling in tiny rafts, and often times helps people who are just swimming and struggling in open water. It was a very difficult film to watch because it documents infants, kids, and adults in the unbelievable, frightening situations of trying to escape from Syria. I would suggest that anyone who has the opportunity to watch the film does. The film is only about 20 minutes, and it is extremely moving and eye-opening. After the film we had a short discussion with a few professors from IAS. We discussed how and why we are so obsessed with security in our own country, but tend to forget/ignore the security of people in other countries, even in our ally countries. We talked about how our opinions are shaped by populist politics. Our president has ridiculed the German Chancellor because of her dedication to standing with the European Union’s values, especially regarding the refugee crisis, but really it is something we should be applauding. Germany and Sweden are two of the countries that have taken the largest number of refugees. We discussed what obligations the United States has to the rest of the world when it comes to accepting refugees, and in my opinion we are not even doing close to what we should be doing and are able to do. We really need a call for leadership and moral courage because right now the current administration is playing on peoples’ fears of foreigners. Currently there are about 21.3 million refugees. Of those refugees 5,2 million are Palestinians and 4.9 million are Syrians. It’s also interesting that most refugees are hosted in very poor countries (Turkey, Pakistan, Lebanon, Iran, Ethiopia, and Jordan) but it seems as though countries like the United States who have many more resources should be the ones hosting refugees.