World Refugee Day: How You Can Help!

Hey Everyone!

Hope you’re all doing well!

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Today June 20th 2017 is World Refugee Day and this is a topic near and dear to my own heart because my parents immigrated to the United States from Afghanistan and if they had not done so, or rather, if they were not allowed to do so, then I probably wouldn’t be here today.

In order to better shed light on this issue  and present you, my dear readers, with some tangible solutions to this heartbreaking humanitarian issue, in this post I will summarize a recent  TED Talk by David Miliband about this issue.

David Miliband is a British Labour Party politician who has been a member of the British parliament and he is the chief of the International Rescue Committee charity.

Speech Summary

  • The current refugee situation is indeed a humanitarian crisis however, it is manageable.
  • Facts in numbers: In 2016 65 million people were displaced from their homes. Of these 65 million people most of them stayed in their own countries but 25 million of them became refugees. Most of these refugees are currently living in developing nations.

Causes: (as presented by Miliband in this TED Talk)

  • Weak states that cannot support their own people
  • An international system weaker than at any time since 1945.
  • Differences in theology, governance, engagement, with the outside world, in significant parts of the Muslim world.
  • This refugee crisis is a long term problem with deep causes however, it can be solved.

Solutions:

  • The refugees need to get into work in the countries they’re living in and these countries that they’re living in need massive economic support.
  • Education for kids is a lifeline and not a luxury especially since many of these people are going to be displaced for a long time.
  • Most refugees live in cities and so they need cash to pay rent, buy clothes etc. Give refugees cash to boost their economic power and to help the local community.

Controversial Solution:

  • The most vulnerable refugees need to be given a new start and a new life in a new country including in the West. The numbers (of those needing to be admitted into Western nations) are small but the symbolism is huge. Now is not the time to ban refugees but it is the time to embrace victims of terror.
  • It is a good question to ask are they properly vetted? However, the reality is that refugees are among the most properly vetted people that enter our countries.
  • Refugee is not another word for terrorist.
  • If refugees are not given the proper help, they take risky journeys in unstable boats with life jackets that cannot even prevent children from drowning. He describes this as not just a crisis but a test of our humanity.
  • Yes, refugees are often very different from us but this should not prevent us from helping them.
  • Empathy and altruism are two of the foundations of civilization and we should use these beliefs as our motto to help others.
  • In this modern world, thanks to our smartphones and other gadgets  we cannot say that we did not know what was going on.
  • If we fail to help then it shows that we are lacking a moral compass.
  • Saving refugees is a part of Western history, especially after World War II. So if we trash refugees, we trash our own history.

More Solutions:

  • If you’re an employer hire some refugees
  • Take on the myths that friends and family have about refugees.
  • If you have money try to donate some it to charities that make a difference for refugees.
  • If you’re a citizen try to vote for politicians that will implement some of the above mentioned solutions.

Concluding Remarks:

  • He mentions the story of a French man who helped his Jewish grandmother  and aunt during World War II by giving them refuge in his village. When Miliband, as a teen visited this now elderly French man and asked him why he took such a risk the man’s reply was: “one must” meaning that helping others was a natural and innate thing to him as it should be to us too.
  • He concludes by reiterating the point that it is possible to solve this problem and by helping refugees we are upholding our own cherished morals and values.

Here is the link to the TED Talk

Want to know more about the refugee crisis? Check out CNN’s article on this topic. This article also has a how to help section at the very bottom of the page.

if you’re in the U.S. and want to contact your elected official regarding the refugee crisis or any other issue that you’re passionate about? Click here for some tips and pointers.

With Love,

Yasmin

 

 

 

 

Reflections on Orlando

Hey Everyone,

I hope you’re all doing well!

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I want to start this post off by saying that my heart truly goes out to all the victims and  families of the senseless and completely inhumane act of terror that occurred in Orlando, Florida. From the bottom of my heart I hope that those that have passed away rest in peace and I wish a speedy recovery for those that have been injured.

Yesterday, once again, my heart broke when I woke up and read the news of yet another tragic mass shooting right here in the United States.

I was later further shocked to learn that the suspect was an American with Afghan parents. As some of you may know I am also an American whose parents were born in Afghanistan. So this definitely hit me hard to know that someone from my own cultural group would do something so disgusting and inhumane.

The wide majority of Afghan immigrants came to this beautiful country to flee the violence of their own war torn nation so I would have never imagined that anyone within this community would ever even think of inflicting such pain and suffering on others. I guess like they say there are black sheep within each community.

It brings me great sadness to know that because of the actions of this one inhumane individual there are others who will put the blame on Muslims and the religion of Islam. As a Muslim I know for a fact that these are not the teachings of Islam.

The Islam that I know and love has taught me that taking one life is the same as killing all of humanity and saving one life is as if you have saved all of humanity. Here is the exact verse from the Holy Quran:

“…if any one killed a person, it would be as if he killed the whole of mankind; and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole of mankind…” – The Holy Quran (Chapter Five, Verse 32).

Just last week the United States and the entire world was celebrating the life of “The Greatest of All Time” Muhammad Ali who was a proud American Muslim and now some of those people are blaming Muslims and Islam for this recent heinous act.

As The Champ himself eloquently stated: “The word ‘Islam’ means ‘peace.’ The word ‘Muslim’ means ‘one who surrenders to God.’ But the press makes us seem like haters. ”

I sincerely hope that throughout these difficult and trying times we all stay united in our fight against extremism and that we always remember that the actions of one person or a few people are not representative of an entire religious community.

With Love,

Yasmin