Weekend Open Thread: Can We Create a Vietnamese Resettlement-Type Program for Syrian Refugees?

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Anaheim,  home to a large middle eastern community known as Little Arabia, last week introduced a resolution on the crisis of the Syrian refugees. We present here the evaluation of the crisis by Amnesty International, a testimony from inside Syria and the view of a Syrian-American activist.refugees

“We are witnessing the worst refugee crisis of our era, with millions of women, men and children struggling to survive amidst brutal wars, networks of people traffickers and governments who pursue selfish political interests instead of showing basic human compassion,” said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General.

Enough death and siege. Enough blood and misery” Testimony by Doctors Without Frontiers.

A medical practitioner that MSF supports in one of the besieged areas in the East Ghouta area near Damascus explains the horror of August’s bombings. Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has supported him over the past two years to adapt to the situation. He is now director of a makeshift hospital, human resources manager for the hospital, surgeon and senior doctor. For his security, he has requested to remain anonymous.

Where the world failed, a sandstorm has temporarily halted the violence

“Everyone should know the humanitarian situation in the East Ghouta besieged areas now. In my community, we’ve been under siege for two years. Prices are increasing. Virtually no goods or medicine are coming in. Health services are deteriorating. In this past month of August we’ve been seeing an increase of violence. Increased terrifying air strikes, massacres after massacres. Every three days it feels like a massacre has happened. We’ve only had a moment’s respite thanks to a recent sandstorm. Imagine, the world hasn’t stopped the violence here, but a sand storm did…”

“What’s been happening is a lot of air strikes, and a lot of ‘double-tapping’, where there is a strike, a moment’s pause, and then another strike in the same place. This has killed our ambulance drivers, people trying to save the injured, and has killed those who were injured in the first strike…

If you’re not injured or dead, you’re one of the lucky ones

“There is much fear and depression in our community. You see it everywhere. Whenever there is a shelling or the sound of a plane, everyone desperately rushes home or to a shelter. The sound of a plane in the sky is terrifying. It is hard to explain how the situation is on the ground. You have to see it with your own eyes to understand, and even then it is unbelievable. We have seen huge numbers of injured over the past month; in these circumstances anyone who isn’t injured or dead can count themselves lucky…”

Enough death and siege – enough

Everyone should know what is happening here. Enough death and siege. Enough blood and misery in East Ghouta and the rest of Syria. Too many people are dying every day, and it seems the world is becoming immune to our suffering. Enough.

 Organizations are requesting that the US increases the number of refugees :

“With the refugee crisis in Europe worsening dramatically, the Obama administration announced on Thursday that it would accept at least 10,000 Syrian refugees in the next year. That’s a significant step: Over the past four years, as millions of Syrians have been displaced by a brutal civil war, the United States has admitted only about 1,500 Syrian refugees. But humanitarian advocates say President Barack Obama’s move doesn’t go nearly far enough.

The US offer “is cold comfort to the victims of the Syrian conflict,” said International Rescue Committee president David Miliband in a press release Friday. “With 4 million living in limbo and tens of thousands making desperate choices to reach safety, the US has a moral responsibility to lead and is fully equipped to respond in a far more robust way.” Part of the solution, experts argue, is for the United States to help organize a program to send refugees to developed countries around the world. After all, they point out, we’ve done it before.

“This is not science fiction,” said Francois Crepeau, the United Nations’s special rapporteur for the human rights of migrants. “We resettled almost 2 million Indochinese 40 years ago. We can do it again.”

Last week the City of Anaheim  presented this resolution:

  1. RESOLUTION NO. A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF ANAHEIM urging the President of the United States and Congress to significantly increase the number of Syrian refugees allowed in the United States of America and to work with other nations to preserve the lives and dignity of Syrian refugees and to take steps to reform Federal Housing Programs to allow refugees to receive priority housing benefits.

According to this Syrian-American activist : “It’s impossible to not see that linkage between what many would see as the war crimes of the Bush era, and the unraveling of Iraq, and what is happening today in Syria. The direct link is ISIS, even in the name. [ISIS is the acronym for Islamic State of Iraq and Syria].”

This is your Weekend Open Thread.  Talk about that, or whatever else you’d like, within reasonable bounds of discretion and decorum.


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"Admin" is just editors Vern Nelson, Greg Diamond, or Ryan Cantor sharing something that they mostly didn't write themselves, but think you should see. Before December 2010, "Admin" may have been former blog owner Art Pedroza.