Brian Gray has been a Kauai resident for nearly 20 years. He supervises an adolescent substance abuse treatment program by day and runs an inmate transition / re-integration program called Live Again the Walk Inc. and Gray Hope Productions a local grassroots video production company with his wife Cathy. Other interests include hiking Kauai trails and supporting The City of Refuge, a self sustaining prototype orphanage located in Comayagua Honduras.
There has been a lot of talk recently about the Syrian Refugee Crisis specifically revolving around comments made by Governor Ige's willingness to welcome Syrian refugees. The public is clearly divided on this issue and myths and logical fallacies abound. I thought I’d address a few of the frequently recurring motifs I’ve encountered personally.
1. The Syrian refugee situation is a mirror of what happened to Jews during the Holocaust. The fact that two things share something in common does not make them the same. Elephants have four legs and dogs have four legs. That does not mean that all dogs are elephants. The Jews were a minority persecuted in a foreign land. There were no Jewish countries to which they could flee. The Syrians are predominantly Muslim and there are multiple Islamic nations one of which, namely Saudi Arabia, borders Syria and has somewhere in the neighborhood of 100,000 empty Air-conditioned tents ready to go. In addition there was an unholy alliance between the Third Reich and Radical Jihadists during WWII. Correct me if I am wrong but the majority of people who have and do want the Jews and Israel expunged from the earth are Muslim. I also never heard of a Jewish person threatening to overwhelm western society via mass murder, mass immigration and an exponential birth rate.
2. Steve Jobs's father was Syrian. Barring Syrian refugees could deprive our nation of the next Steve Jobs. There were a lot of factors that culminated in Steve Jobs becoming the founder of Apple. Steve Jobs also did not finish college. According to this line of reasoning quitting school might be a key to success as well. The argument is absurd.
3. The Syrian refugee crisis is the worst crisis since WWII. Really? What about the Genocide in Rawanda, the Congo and Sudan and now Kenya and Nigeria? What about the million plus people we killed in Iraq because 19 Saudi Arabians flew a plane into the World Trade Center? What about the Afghan women, Yazidis, Kurds and Christians? What about the line in the sand when Assad allegedly used nerve gas on his own people. How about the women and girls kidnapped and forced into to sexual slavery on a daily basis by the Boko Haram?
4. The refugees are pre-dominantly Muslim because Muslims are the ones being persecuted.
Christians are by far the most persecuted group of people in the Middle East and the world yet they are given last priority by our president under the guise of avoiding discrimination. Christians are even persecuted within refugee camps provided they are not murdered like the 12 recently thrown overboard and drowned by their Muslim counterparts allegedly because they were not praying to Allah. Are the 15 Muslims involved in this murder representative of all Muslims? Or were there 15 radical Jihadists mixed in with the majority of moderates who apparently did nothing to stop their brethren? Forgive me. That comment was patently sexist. Radical Muslim women kill people too.
5. Our strict immigration laws will protect us and any refugees that come here will be thoroughly vetted. Really? How do you explain what is happening on our southern border? The FBI says it is currently impossible to vet the Syrians since we have no access to records and documents they do have are often forged. “But the president said they are using bio-metrics.” Yippee!. Now we can identify the nut jobs regardless of how many pieces are left after the bomb goes off.
Let’s face it. Daily life is rooted in probabilities not absolutes. This is true whether you are crossing the street, trading a stock or deciding if you should bring a Syrian Refugee into your home. All we can really do is weigh the risks versus the rewards and make decisions based on the highest probability of success.
Here is what we know.
1. We know the refugees need help. We know there are radical jihadists embedded with the refugees. We know they kill people. We know they repeatedly say want to kill us. We don’t know how many there are. Some say it’s probably around 4000. Actually we don’t know how many.
2. We know multiple radical clerics have publicly stated goals to dominate the west via the aforementioned radical means.
3. We know that current and former generals and heads of agencies like the FBI and DHS are saying we are in danger. We don’t know how serious that threat is but if past performance is indicative of future results the risk just might be a little higher than they think.
4. Some statistics show the majority of refugees as being widows and orphans. Others show 80% are men between the ages of 18-25. People argue the point along partisan lines and have faith in corresponding partisan sources. Having faith in a given source is called believing. Believing and knowing are not the same. It is impossible to know which if any statistic is correct.
5. The first responsibility we have as adults making decisions that affect our island(s) is to ask ourselves if those decisions improve, preserve and ensure the safety and well-being of our community. Our elected officials are supposed to make decisions that reflect the sentiments of the communities that elected them to office. Tulsi Gabbard is doing just that. President Obama not so much.
Maybe you think the risk of radical Syrian Jihadists detonating themselves in Kukui Grove on a Friday night is nil. Maybe I think your analysis is jaded by normalcy and confirmation bias. Only an idiot or a truly intellectually dishonest person would say there is no risk at all. To which I say, given the fact that those within and those associated with the Radical Syrian Muslim demographic have killed scores of people in Europe, have plans to kill people now and have threatened to kill us in the future; how exactly do we determine the risk? Assuming we can, then just how much risk is acceptable? Finally what exactly is the payoff that justifies the risk that we as a community agree to assume? Call me crazy but I think we should keep that risk as close to zero as possible then work from a position of strength to help the Syrians where they are. The last time I checked Kauai doesn’t even have a Mosque and Saudi Arabia recently offered to build thousands. The whole situation as it stands makes no sense to me. That's why I ask; Why Syria? Why now?
Check out James "Kimo" Rosen's opinion article (LTE) in today's (12-01-15) 'The Garden Island News;"
"This a different world now..."
Hana Hou, (Encore) Shared From Facebook...
Showing both sides;