Giving truth to Memphis youth
By Hira Qureshi (Germantown High School)
With the Syrian crisis at extreme heights there is an increasing number of refugees are surging into countries seeking relief all across the world.
On July 9, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, a United Nations agency, reported that the number of refugees had increased to four million people. They resided in countries of Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq. However, halfway through 2015, they crossed over to the European Union, reaching 313,000 UNHCR applications for Europe by August 2015 with the largest numbers being reported in Germany and Sweden.
Although some of Europe has opened their borders to the refugees in a welcoming fashion, the rest of the world has yet to be as sympathetic. However, on September 10, the New York Times reported that the White House press secretary, Josh Earnest, spoke of President Obama’s plan “to accept at least 10,000 Syrian refugees in the next fiscal year.”
With President Obama’s plan to shelter the refugees, the American public has intensified their opinions about the President’s decisions. In terms of political and global policies, the American stance predominantly comes from the adult population. However, what many do not realize is that the majority of the American public consists of the youth.
Bearing that in mind, Teen Appeal asked seniors at Germantown High School for their perspective of the refugees coming specifically to Memphis.
Many of the students at Germantown are routinely updated on national and local news. With Germantown High School TV, they are informed of much of what goes on. When the news of Syrian refugees was announced, many of the students had an opinion to share.
Laura Blockman said, “I think we should weigh the pros and cons in this situation. They have the right to flee to a safe haven. If we are to bring them in we have to set up programs that can help [the refugees] integrate into Memphis.”
Walid Hairan, a Syrian himself, reflected on his family’s situation.
“My grandparents had to flee to Turkey and are now staying with my uncle,” he said. “My dad went to Turkey to try and get them to come the U.S, but they’re still in the process of coming. I think it’s a great idea for [the refugees] to come, especially because of the incredible amount of Syrians already within Memphis. It is even better for them to come to Memphis because there is no other city that has such a big group of Syrians – with countless mosques throughout the city”.
The collective view among students interviewed at Germantown is that the refugees should be permitted to enter without a question. However, there should be a system set up to accommodate the increasing population and to help them integrate into society.
One big issue that President Obama has been trying to deal with in his two terms is immigration, which is a hotly-contested topic, especially during this current Presidential campaigning period. Whomever is selected as the next President will have some tough decisions to make on immigrants and refugees.
Many Americans feel a duty and responsibility to help others in need. These refugees are most definitely in need. They are growing in numbers day by day. If others are not willing to help then, many Americans feel that they should step up and help to fulfill their duty.