The Refugee Crisis

Courtesy+of+Google+Images

Courtesy of Google Images

Maura Sheedy ‘16, Staff Writer

For weeks, heartbreaking photos of  weary and hopeless refugees pop up on the screens of TVs and phones alike when one skims the news or social media. It is no secret that events around the world are not as good as they should be, but it is hard to wrap our heads around the terrible conditions today, because America is an entire ocean away from most of the refugee problems. The fact that some conditions are horrible enough for people to flee their country and set forth for someplace better, no matter how uncertain or dangerous the journey, may appear impossible to a member of a country that is generally stable.

     Currently, there are 19 million refugees in the world. The number has increased dramatically over the past year, and it appears that the number of refugees fleeing to Europe has become especially high. Problems in Middle Eastern countries, where most refugees have originated recently, have increased the desire to escape. War, political unrest, slavery, torture, and a lack of safety have forced people to take desperate measures to protect their safety and leave their homes. In Syria, the current tyrannical government and violent protests has sparked the increase of refugees.

     Refugees do not often have a happy ending because travel is expensive and dangerous. Due to the perils of being a refugee, thousands of fleeing people have already died this year. Because so many European countries have strict immigration laws, refugees cannot enter the country, and instead, are forced into labor camps or sent back to their native country. The United States has taken in some refugees and does have plans to shelter more refugees, but the number of refugees the United States plans on housing is miniscule in comparison to the entire population of refugees.

     As an American teenager at Oakland Catholic, this event affects you and me.  As Catholics, we care about the wellbeing of all people, especially when their rights and safety are being abused. It is our responsibility to help them escape the oppression that smothers them enough that they abandon all that they know in hopes of finding safely and a better life. Pope Francis has already asked European families to take in refugee families.  Although this may not be a viable option in America, since most are heading toward Europe, we can petition for the government to take in more refugees here. Simply even tweeting the hashtag #MigrantsContribute can make a difference as you express your belief.

     Lastly, continue to pray for these refugees and for world peace. Refugees are amongst the people in most need of our prayers at this time.