Politics Magazine

Syria, The Next Crisis

By Andrew Furst @a_furst

The Next Crisis

It just occurred to me a little while ago how much the Syrian refugee crisis reminds me of the 2014 Ebola Outbreak.  Remember that?  Social media lit up like a Christmas tree.  There were folks who sought out the facts and concluded that while, yes, this is serious business, there are things in place to address the concerns.  Let’s not panic, there are protocols to follow, let’s get to work.

In contrast, another other group of Social media friends, fearing the worst (and the worst was not trivial – Ebola is a big deal), started calling to close the borders to all Africans, complaining about how the CDC wasn’t prepared and how the administration failed this and failed that.

As it played out, the US and other nations intervened, and eventually the problem was brought under control. As of this month there have been no Ebola transmissions in the countries affected by the original outbreak. 11,299 people died of the virus in Western Africa.  There was one death in the United States.  Every death is a tragedy, but it is also true that death is a part of living.

I am proud to say a friend was part of the effort to establish the control measures that ended the crisis.  A mother of two, she got on a plane and helped.  She didn’t freak out; she used her training and made a difference.

Fast Forward to November 2015

The Syrian crisis has created a monumental refugee crisis. Over four million people have lost their homes and livelihoods since the beginning of the Syrian Civil War.

I have social media friends who are seeking out the facts.  I hear them say, yes, this is serious business. What we can put in place to address the concerns? Maybe it’s a good idea to pause, but we should also remember to bring our best to the table.  Can we balance our natural instincts as a compassionate people with maintaining safety?  Can we find ways to isolate people who are a threat using criteria a little more precise than nationality and religion?

Other social media friends are calling to close the borders to all Syrian refugees.  Some are calling for a religious and nationality test for asylum. And there is no shortage of blame and insults for the administration.

I look at social media and can’t help but notice – it’s the same story, same players, same game, just a different venue.

Looking For The Helpers

Mr. Rogers said, “Look for the helpers, there are always helpers.”

I see the helpers, I’m with them.

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