Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Other People's Mail

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Other People's Mail

Article excerpt

Refugees, Not Migrants

To The Oregonian, Sept. 9, 2015

Regarding "Wave of refugees outpaces measures," (Sept. 8): Words are important. The press has been misusing one word recently to establish an image that minimizes the plight of thousands of families fleeing Syria by referring to them as migrants instead of refugees.

According to Merriam-Webster, the definitions are as follows: A migrant is "a person who goes from one place to another especially to find work." A refugee is "someone who has been forced to leave a country because of war or for religious or political reasons."

I am disappointed that the press continues to report on "migrants" crossing borders when these people are obviously refugees seeking asylum from their broken nation's battling factions that endanger everyone who remains there. They are not following crops or seeking jobs; they are simply trying to stay alive.

Germany has agreed to accept many of these refugees, and I believe that America should step up as a humanitarian nation and accept many of them as well. Portraying them as migrants puts them in the same category as Mexicans for many U.S. citizens and gives the anti-immigrant faction of Americans an excuse to reject them rather than reach out to them.

Words are important. The press knows this. The press' job is to report news, not shape opinion. It should look up the definition of the word "ashamed."

Jack Minor, North Portland, OR

Rest in Peace, Aylan Kurdi

To the Austin American-Statesman, Sept. 16, 2015

Re Sept. 10 article, "McCain displays photo of dead Syrian boy on Senate floor."

The image of the Syrian toddler Aylan Kurdi lying lifelessly on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea has caused the whole world to stir with immense grief and profound anxiety. As a mother of a 3-year-old boy, I usually see my son sleeping snuggled up with his blanket in that pose. The sand touching Aylan's innocent cheeks should have been a comfy blanket. His mother died trying to give him a better life. The pain that his father must bear is excruciating. Even the waves of the colossal sea couldn't bear the burden of swallowing little Aylan; they threw him back to us so we can reflect and see the enormity of the sins we have committed by deserting him. May that little man rest in peace.

Nadia Ahmad, Round Rock, TX

U.S. Must Accept More Syrians

To the San Francisco Chronicle, Sept. 15, 2015

Regarding "Quota plan rebuffed by 4 countries" (Sept. 12): Europe is facing the worst refugee crisis the world has seen since World War II. But recent images in the media repeatedly present the crisis as only a European problem. News coverage of this evolving tragedy needs to focus on the responsibility of the United States to take action. Our responsibility should address the roots of the crisis: providing humanitarian aid and offering people in the Middle East hope and opportunities for a safer, better future in their own countries. Our responsibility also includes showing solidarity to European countries most burdened by the influx of refugees. Finally, our responsibility should begin at home.

While President Obama recently approved acceptance of 10,000 refugees from Syria, this is a paltry figure given the scale of the crisis and the capacity of our nation to help. Many churches, mosques and communities in the U.S. are willing to sponsor and resettle refugees here; local and national governments should do more to make that happen. To fail to take these responsibilities seriously undermines the United States and its global reputation and humanitarian obligations.

Michael Reid, San Francisco, CA

Rewards for Helping Syrians

To The Washington Post, Aug. 30, 2015

Regarding the Aug. 28 front-page article "Decayed bodies found in truck":

As European leaders struggle to deal with the immigrant crisis, why can't the United States step up and lead? This nation was founded by immigrants who had enough of life under a tyrant. …

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