From one New Orleans refugee to another: I LOVE YOU

November 8th I wrote about the high terrorist alerts in countries you wouldn’t expect. We are all aware of the events that took place in Paris a few days later. Since then MASS hysteria circulates about refugees in NOLA so the media writes an article stating there are only 14. If you believe that you’re a fool.  Here is the breakdown of alleged refugees by state.  

Syrians have been fleeing for their lives since civil war broke out in 2011. Here are the facts as of September 4th 2015.

  •  7.6 million people are currently displaced internally in the country of Syria. 
  • 2 million refugees have fled to Turkey
  • 250,000 refugees have fled to Iraq.. This one blows my mind.  How many people do you know would prefer to be in Iraq than at home?
  • 1.2 million refugees are displaced in Lebanon 
  • 800,000 refugees have fled to Jordan, and onto Iraq. 
  • More than half of the refugees are under the age of 18… That’s almost 7 million children… What would you do if this was your child?   
  • The lucky ones live inside camps. Tent camps with no electricity, no clean water 
  • The lucky ones make it to places with medical assistance   
  • Over a 1/4 million have already died.
  • Fleeing the country is as dangerous as staying, the only difference is that fleeing has a ray of hope.  That ray of hope is that somewhere out there, there is a world with a heart. 
  • 436,000 refugees have applied for assylum within Europe, according to the United Nations. 

The neighboring countries cannot meet the needs of the masses.  Meeting the basic survival needs of the refugees does not support corporate western countries.  It’s simple mathematics.  Some claim the ISIS beheadings were photoshopped. As a photographer who uses photoshop and Lightroom, I can believe that, and after looking closer at some of the footage, id have to say it was poorly done, but it was convincing enough to stir panic, and if there’s one thing that will cause an American or any person to back its military it’s panic, followed by revenge.  This was clearly demonstrated following the September 11th attacks.  Before the attacks, there was heavy pressure to bring our troops home after years of war in the Middle East.  Immediately following the attacks there was a record number of people enlisting to fight for our country.  Back to the refugees…

It was only ten years ago that New Orleans had 300,000 refugees of its own.  Hurricane Katrina came thru, and survival of the fittest kicked in. Looting occurred.  Food became scarce.  People lined up for hours for a bag of ice, a box of MRE’s, military rations, that gave you the worst stomach aches.  Water was unusable due to the flood and failure of water stations. Electricity was non existent for weeks and months in some cases.  Military moved in and out home looked like a war zone of its own.  People that stayed behind did whatever thy had to do to survive and protect themselves and their families.  Assistance was limited if at all. Help didn’t come for days.  Imagine if 4 years after Katrina, refugees were still walking and riding on top of whatever could float to get to a place of safety.  Imagine if we were turned away because of the select few ignorant people that were looting TVs and non surivaval items.  Imagine if those who made it Houston and acted an ass caused Houston to start bombing us on  top of trying to survive.  

The way I see it, if ISIS was responsible for the recent attacks and we turn on all refugees for it:

  • 8 people continue to terrorize these people on our own soil as well as the countries that are housing them. 
  • They prove that we are heartless western greedy people, as their beliefs teach.. The very reason they believe we should be exterminated
  • We enable their goal or fear and terror by spreading the fear via social media 
  • We ignorantly continue spreading more hate than ISIS ever could
  • there will be an additional 436,000 people willing to fight against us pretty soon.

 If you think your random share of ignorant posts and comments don’t make a difference, they DO!  Think about the ice bucket challenge, and how fast that spread world wide. Fear spreads like wild fire. Fear of the unknown is the worst.  

Smart move ISIS.

Today I change my profile picture to one of the 7 million faces that could’ve been mine.  One of the 7 million faces that is living in worse conditions than any hurricane Katrina victim ever faced, because I remember, and I wanted the world to care about us, the people of New Orleans.  Not just the black people, not just the white people, the PEOPLE, the humans, the beautiful individual lives of each and every one of us because we are one.  I’ve never felt shitty after a random act of kindness, and it’s always come back ten fold. 

How can you help?  Post a comment of an accurate fact about the humans of Syria. Change your profile picture to one of the 7 million faces.  Open your heart and mind.  Pause before mindlessly passing on ignorant social media content.  What would you want if it were your child? Your mom? Or grandma?