An Open Letter to a Syrian Refugee by Ryan Ashdown ’16

Dear Syrian Refugee,

This letter won’t be able to come close to how much sympathy I have for you, but I’m going to try and express it. I’m sorry. I’m sorry that your President, Bashar al-Assad, is killing your own people in a civil war. I’m sorry that your President has gone against his word and dropped chlorine gas on your uncle’s town, killing your cousin. I’m sorry that Daesh* (ISIS), the main source of fear for everyone in this world, is your second fear. I’m sorry that when you run and hide from your leader, the fastest growing terrorist organization is there to scare you and your innocent family. These many things are out of my control right now as a high school student, but I’m sorry for them anyway. These many things going on in your country are out of your control, just as I feel in my own country right now..and for that, I apologize too. I apologize for the millions of Americans who racially profile you, too obsessed with your image and religion to hear your blood curdling cry for help. I’m sorry that as you pray that you can escape the terrorists, citizens of the U.S. mistake you for one. Please don’t misunderstand me, I’m concerned for my safety as well. But still I’m sorry that the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave is acting like cowards, turning you down and doing what that evil terrorist organization wants. I’m sorry that we don’t realize that 750,000 people like you have been let into the country since September 11th, and only two have been arrested on domestic terror charges. I’m sorry U.S. citizens don’t realize a tourist/student visa is an easier way to enter the country for terrorists, and that the two year background check you long for is an idiotic way for Daesh to do what they do. Why would a robber enter through the front door when they could sneak through the back window? I’m not exactly sure, but the men and women with big desks and secretaries seem too. I’m sorry we are going against what our Statue of Liberty stands for. The Statue calls us Americans to bring in our “tired, poor and huddled masses yearning to breathe free…” One day we’ll realize that we are all a result of immigrants. We will take the time to realize why all fifty states should be your home. I realize that now, yet unfortunately we don’t as a collective whole. Those people will come to their senses. But for now, all I can say is I’m sorry.

Your brother,

Ryan Ashdown

 

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