General Question

ibstubro's avatar

Would you be willing to help a Syrian family re-settle in your locality if your aid was non-financial?

Asked by ibstubro (18804points) September 4th, 2015
52 responses
“Great Question” (4points)

Help them find affordable housing and assist them with Western life-skills like utilities, transportation, shopping etc? Basically be the bridge from their old life to a new one in a Western nation?

I would be very interested, but would require my family (or someone in it) to have rudimentary English skills. I live in a largely rural area, but I’d even be willing to drive to a major metropolitan area to meet some families and pick some that I felt a rapport with. They could do the same and we’d find a match.

The US has only taken in 1500 Syrian refugees since the beginning of the war. Another huge failing for our first minority POTUS, in my opinion. With 381 metropolitan areas in the US, that’s a little over 4 Syrians for each city.

Some of the refugees have been in camps for years. Can you honestly argue that hot-blooded terrorists have been idling in refugee camps for years on the off-chance that they’ll be able to immigrate to the West?

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Coloma's avatar

I’d love to help someone in need but I, myself, am in need these last few years after decades of solvency and contentment. Besides, as much as I’d love to be benefactor to a family torn asunder from this situation I cannot claim I’d be proud to introduce them to America. I think there are much better places they could find refuge than the land of the greed and the home of the slave.

Judi's avatar

I’d help the f I could. I remember when I was a little girl our church sponsored a Vietnamese refugees family. I wonder if progressive churches will do that again?

zenvelo's avatar

Yes, I would help in a non financial way.

longgone's avatar

Yes. If I get to choose, I’d like to help the kids – I’m good with kids. Just today, a girl (about ten) used sign language to ask whether she was allowed to accompany me when I walked my dog past the local center. She got to hold the leash for a while, and she was extremely proud of herself.

jca's avatar

I wish I could but as a single mother with a two hour per day commute on top of an 8 hour work day, I barely have time for myself and my little one.

jca (36059points)“Great Answer” (2points)
elbanditoroso's avatar

No interest at all. I have the money, but I am not willing, as an Israel-supporting Jew (most of the time) to help resettle people that,if they had their way, would have wiped my family members out of where they live in Israel.

I know it’s harsh and I am quite possibly being irrational about this. And it is definitely not politically correct to say no to a sympathetic cause. But too bad. I just don’t see need to assist people who would just as soon kill me.

BlackSwanEffect's avatar

No. If I were to give my time to people in need, I would start with fellow citizens such as the homeless of my city.

JeSuisRickSpringfield's avatar

Absolutely. There is a local refugee center in my city and I volunteer there a few times a year. I also send them money when I can.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I am willing to help anyone for a short time in limited ways. If you are stuck on the side of the road. I am the guy who pulls over to help. However, in this, more rural area, a Syrian family would be a bottomless pit – there is so much to maintain just to survive the winter.
And they would be adding to the community’s financial burden. Syrian families tend to be very large. Who pays the additional costs for school? Will teachers need to teach non-English speaking children the same syllabus? Will the teachers be docked for having lower Common Core class scores? How will behvior problems . How would the children affect the schools

Now let’s brainstorm and see if we can come up with a solution. Hmmm… What did the adults do before the crisis? Are they educated? Do they have a skill?
If I bought one of the many derelict houses in the city (for $1) and allowed a family to live there as long as they were working to bring it up to code and eventual resale within one year. I would supply the tools and supplies. They would supply the sweat equity. equivalent to 20 hours of labor per week I can see how they would be helping the community, making housing, and becoming productive members of society .

What would happen if they did not hold up their part of the bargain? What if the kids break into neighborhood homes?

For the same amount of resources I can help far more people who are already here.

reijinni's avatar

Can’t afford to and I would not let them settle them here per @Coloma. I would put them in Argentina or Morocco.

janbb's avatar

@elbanditoroso I feel totally differently from you. I feel that as a Jew, whose people were persecuted and murdered, it is my duty to help families who are fleeing their countries because they fear for there lives.

Whether I am more comfortable offering financial aid, aid through a community organization or personal aid is a separate issue.

cazzie's avatar

My new neighbours were refugees from the old Yukoslavia. They fled to England and now live here.

ragingloli's avatar

how is that attitude any different from people who think that jews poison wells?

Judi's avatar

My daughter just told me that she’s connecting with an organization and may be taking a family into her home

JLeslie's avatar

I’ve always wanted to do something like this, but it hasn’t happened yet. I hope one day I can. At times when I have had major donations to make like furniture in good condition, that sort of thing, I have contacted the Jewish federation or local JCC to see if there was a new Jewish family I could help in that way. It wouldn’t have to be a Jewish family, it’s just what I think of first.

I hope the US does allow more Syrians in. I don’t exactly know what is going on that all of those refugees are leaving Syria, but I’m just horrified for those people. It’s just awful.

@elbanditorosa It might show that Jews and Arabs in America get along all the time and we are all part of the melting pot and don’t hate each other. A Lebanese man once said to me,“every Arab should live in America for 5 years.” I’m not trying to convince you, I understand your position, and I don’t hold any judgment against you for saying what you did. However, a nice gesture here could start something great, you never know.

trailsillustrated's avatar

The picture of the little boy dead on the beach. I will do anything I can to help.

Coloma's avatar

@JLeslie and @trailsillustrated Yes, agreed,
True altruism is not about imposing all sorts of judgements and conditions on what one is willing to do to help our fellow humans, short of not allowing drug abuse or other highly dysfunctional behaviors from those you are helping.
You either give freely from the heart or you give nothing at all. Anything less is not altruism it is taking a controlling one up position from a place of superiority.

If I was able and had the financial resources I would freaking buy an apartment building and set up multiple families for a year while they acclimated to their new country and found ways to earn money, learn the language etc. There are plenty of billionaires out there that could do just that.

janbb's avatar

Edit: “their” not “there” in my post. Quel horreur!

Coloma's avatar

@janbb haha…don’t you hate that and then the compulsion to explain, that really, you knew better?

janbb's avatar

I always feel that @gailcalled’s eagle eyes are on me.

ibstubro's avatar

I feel like I have to repeat that the investment with a Syrian family would be time, not money.

Can you think of a better way to challenge the animosity of a Syrian family, @elbanditoroso?

Admirable, @BlackSwanEffect, but the epidemic of homelessness stems largely from mainstreaming the mentally ill. I’d prefer the social progress of assisting a refugee family trying to assimilate over taking responsibility for someone with a mental problem.

Limited nuclear family, @LuckyGuy. A household, is what I’m talking about.

I think you’d be a great host for a Syrian family, if you chose to do so, @janbb.

I hope she does, and it’s mutually rewarding, @Judi!

If you want to donate to the cause, @JLeslie, all you have to do is ask for the link?

Dive in, @trailsillustrated. Anything you do should be a help, if that’s the way you feel.

But others have fallen for those penguin eyes, @janbb, and just gave it a pass. You’re Your meaning and intent were obvious.

elbanditoroso's avatar

@ibstubro – I have not it made it my job to change their animosity. You and some of the other answerers seem to think that I have an interest to change how they think. I really don’t care what they think of me. First, they’re escaping Syria, so their influence on the Syrian government (such as it is) is less than nil. Second, it’s naive to think that one person being nice to them is going to have an effect on beliefs inculcated in them by their government and their religion for decades.

I hear and read what others write – that I should be a complete altruist, turn the other cheek, be holier than the pope. That’s wishful thinking.

I’d much rather give money and my time to causes where I care about the outcome.

cazzie's avatar

I had a friend who worked with kids that were here on their own. Minors who managed to get asylum here in Norway. Challenging work. My city is full of foreigners. Some are tourists, some are students and others are asylum seekers, or like me, they got married to a Norwegian and suddenly found themselves down the rabbit hole. I know what it is like trying to find your way around as a newbie here. I do often help people and I certainly would if the county called me and asked.

JLeslie's avatar

@ibstubro It is impossible for me to offer my home to someone right now.

BlackSwanEffect's avatar

@ibstubro I wouldn’t be comfortable being responsible for a homeless person either. I’m likely not equipped to deal with their underlying issues. But the principle remains, that I will help a fellow citizen in need before I will help a migrant. And while the homeless often have mental health issues, I think it is very likely that people coming from a war zone have mental health issues of their own. Either way, as selfish as it may sound, I’m too busy with my own pursuits to volunteer for such a cause.

jca's avatar

A friend of mine wanted me to sponsor an immigrant once, as a favor. I looked at the forms for sponsoring from Immigration. You have to fill out forms and have them notarized – forms specify that you are ultimately responsible financially for the person, will pay for their return to their homeland if necessary, etc. A big thing to say you’ll be responsible for! I wasn’t even a parent then but it was intimidating and I ultimately said no, after researching what it would entail.

As far as having a stranger in my house, hell no. Even if my house was big enough, which it’s barely big enough for us two, not knowing anything about the person is a risk. No thank you. I help out how I can where I can (locally).

jca (36059points)“Great Answer” (1points)
cazzie's avatar

I just found out my city has a free kitchen. Anyone hungry can show up and be fed. It is in a neighborhood well known for its communist inhabitants. It is very hippy and bohemian. I think most of who they feed are their neighbors. But still, nice to know it is there.

JeSuisRickSpringfield's avatar

@elbanditoroso You know what else is naive? Thinking that all Syrians are out to get you just because some are. The average Syrian, like the average Palestinian, has no interest in eliminating the Jews. They just want to live in peace. I mean, by your logic, I should think that all Israeli Jews are genocidal hypocrites just because their government is.

elbanditoroso's avatar

@JeSuisRickSpringfield wrote: The average Syrian, like the average Palestinian, has no interest in eliminating the Jews

You know this how?

JeSuisRickSpringfield's avatar

@elbanditoroso I have met hundreds of Palestinian refugees. I have performed their entrance interviews, and even helped a few of them set up businesses in the US. One of my mentors at the refugee center is a political scientist who specializes in the Middle East. He visits and interviews Middle Easterners, including many Syrians, with regularity. When you actually take the time to get to know these people, it turns out that they’re not really all that different after all. Every country has its radical fringe. But in the end, most people around the world just want to live their lives.

Patton's avatar

@elbanditoroso And before the bigot parade gets much farther, I’ll put in my two cents. I am from Iran. Before the revolution, Tehran was one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the entire world. Do you really think that a change in government can undo all of that overnight? No. It’s a population held hostage by its government. If the population had been ready to fall in line, the government wouldn’t have felt such a need to spread the fear of Gharbzadegi and hire so many people for its morality police. Even in the rural areas, where the Ayatollah has the most support, they are not all religious extremists. They are mostly religious conservatives, yes. And a lot of what they believe is oppressive by more than just American standards. But even out in those areas there are pockets of resistance from people who long for the days of a more open Iran. Always remember that the revolution was fought by three groups: the Islamists, the Marxists, and the Constitutionalists. It is a fact of history that the Islamists won the post-revolution power struggle, but the revolutionary fighters were never united behind a single picture of Iran as an Islamic state. So to sum up, the average Iranian doesn’t want to eliminate the Jews or bring death to America, either. They also just want to live their lives.

travelbabe24's avatar

Yes, I would. I think often times people get so caught up in the Westernized world that they forget that there is a whole new world out there, with people with similar needs and wants. If everyone could just reach out and do something kind everyday, this world would be a much better place.

JLeslie's avatar

To defend @elbanditoroso, how many Arab families do you think would open their home to Israeli refugees? How many Arabs would open their homes to Jewish refugees? We can’t ignore the tension that exists, and tension is putting it lightly, in regards to the Middle East.

And, where are the oil rich Arab countries? Are they taking them in?

@jca Well, that’s a deterrent.

ibstubro's avatar

What did your friend do for the minors, @cazzie?

You’re responding to…what? @JLeslie. There’s no way I could or would open my house to a family of strangers, nor would I suggest or advise anyone else to. You derailed @jca as well.

I’d be wiling to do the same for a recently homeless person, @BlackSwanEffect, but I’m in the rural Midwest and the only homeless people that we have locally are homeless as a lifestyle. It appears we have more charity than we have demand.

I didn’t use the word “sponsor” for that very reason, @jca. The question is not about legally sponsoring or adopting a family but more like mentoring. The government screens a family, accepts them for refugee status, and places them in your area. You would be in daily contact with them, helping whatever charities are involved get them up and running.

I didn’t know you worked in a refugee center, @JeSuisRickSpringfield. Very cool. Thanks for what you do, if no one has told you that recently.

Wow, @Patton. Thanks to you, too. Excellent perspective. I wish you had a louder voice in both the US and Iran. Where do you live currently?

Good things happen @travelbabe24. Share.

@JLeslie perpetuates the open your home myth, then responds to @jca‘s “sponsor” redefinition of this question. Just sayin.

JLeslie's avatar

@ibstubro The jellies giving @elbanditoroso a really hard time like @JeSuisRickSpringfield and @Patton. I don’t think @elbanditoroso thinks all Arabs or Persians want all Israelis or all Jews dead. He simply doesn’t want to open his home to the Syrian refugees, because of statements that have been said by Arab countries about destroying Israel. People are getting too defensive about it I think.

So, I posed what if there were a bunch of Israeli or Jewish refugees? Are the neighboring Arab countries going to take them in? Is an American, French, or Dutch Arab family going to help the Israelis who just lost everything? Invite them in their home? Let’s be fair. Some probably would, but plenty wouldn’t, and some if them would cite because they are pro a Palestinian state, or say they can’t do it after everything Israel has done.

I personally have very good experience with Arabs and Iranians. I grew up having them as friends, have had good experiences in general. If the news could not report about the Middle East and all I knew was what I know from what I experience and observe in America, I would not have any negativity towards them at all. In America I simply think of them as my friends, it’s a complete non-issue.

ibstubro's avatar

I have no idea what you’re going on about here, @JLeslie. I made no comment to or about @elbanditoroso following his last post.

@JeSuisRickSpringfield and @Patton did not give anyone a hard time. They recited life experiences that contradicted @elbanditoroso‘s opinions or perceptions.
I’ll take trustworthy life experience over opinion, any day.

“Take them in” was not part of the OP. Take them on, perhaps, but I never suggested sharing your house, because I would not.

JLeslie's avatar

@ibstubro My mistake. For some reason I got it in my head about letting a family stay with us. However, my statement still stands that I don’t think Arabs would be necessarily so quick to volunteer to help Jewish refugees. Some would of course, but many would feel like @elbanditoroso. Ever see the documentary Precious Life? It’s pretty obvious plenty of Palestinians wouldn’t be fast to lift a finger to help a Jew in Israel. Even in America where Jews and Arabs and Persians, get along just fine, to the point that when America media went on and on about that Iranian President who was a Holocaust denier, I just thought that was ridiculous to portray Iran like that over and over again, because the Iranians I know escaped Iran, and would think that President an idiot. I still think a lot of Arabs would not be fast to help Jewish refugees from any part of the world. At the same time, like I said, the Arabs I know, including Palestinians, I have always had a great experience. I said above that showing kindness to people who would not expect it from us (Jews) could build a bridge. That’s exactly what the Jews in the movie Precious Life hope. A refugee situation is an extreme situation. Even in less extreme situations I think it isn’t uncommon for people to reach out to those they identify with whether it be the same nationality, religion, race, etc.

cazzie's avatar

Strictly speaking, Syrians are not Arabs. While most modern-day Syrians are commonly described as Arabs by virtue of their modern-day language and bonds to Arab culture and history, they are, in fact, largely a blend of the various Semitic-speaking groups indigenous to the region.

@JLeslie where do you think most of the refugees are going to end up? Without looking it up, can you tell me what the Lebanese people are? Are they hateful Arabs, too?

My friend helped look after them in the hostel they lived in. She made sure they were able to look after their finances and cook for themselves with a bit of help. She brought them to appointments and interviews with government agencies that helped them apply for financial aid and get them enrolled in higher education, or education programs suited to their level of past education. She brought them to a restaurant/cafe that is set up primarily for them to meet once a week and eat together as a group and find friends. That cafe is linked to a culture centre were the kids can express their art and music and theatre interests.

Right now, I have a friend who went with a group of vacationers (he’s a travel agent/guide) to Budapest and they’ve inadvertently come face to face with the goings on in Hungary. I talked to him last night and he said they are staying a block away from the train station, but things had gotten quieter. This problem is on our doorstep. Any over-generalisation and bigotry from Americans just sounds.. pathetic.

Saying, ‘I’m not racist, I have black friends’ doesn’t mean you aren’t racist. You know that right?

JLeslie's avatar

@cazzie Without looking it up I can tell you all the Lebanese people I know are Christian or Catholic, many of them speak at least some French, besides their native tongue, and they spoke English.

This next question is asked out of genuine curiosity and ignorance, not because I’m being argumentative. Just last week I saw a report (on an American news station) that the UK will be taking in more Syrian refugees. Why do the Syrians want to go there over neighboring Arab countries? Maybe they already have family in the UK, I don’t know. I’m sure the Arab countries in the area must be helping the refugees to some extent. Remember, I want the US to offer more visas to the refugees to help them.

Many Jews didn’t get to go where they would have preferred or even to safety during the war or even after. Roosevelt refused a ship full of Jews, I believe the UK took that ship in.

Someone saying they wouldn’t be so quick to help refugees from a country that has declared practically death to all doesn’t make that person racist in my book. It’s an extreme circumstance. Jews in Denmark escaped to Sweden. The two countries, believe me, are heralded by Jewish people as going down in history for their protection and empathy. But, the Jews were never talking about death to the Swedes or Danish.

jca's avatar

Maybe the Syrians prefer the UK over neighboring Arab countries because many of the countries in the Middle East are full of strife and unrest whereas the UK is not?

jca (36059points)“Great Answer” (4points)
Judi's avatar

@JLeslie, the neighboring Arab countries aren’t willing to take them.
Jordan has already taken so many though. Since we’re FB friends, look on my page and see the picture of refugee camp in Jordan. It is so big it’s incomprehendable to me how many people can be running and living in tents like that.

cazzie's avatar

@JLeslie Who have you heard say ‘Death to Europe’? or ‘Death to America?’

cazzie's avatar

I think you’ll find that the refugees are running from the extremists who chant Death to Non.Believers and they aren’t joining them. They are fleeing because they don’t want to live under that mantra and they don’t want their children to either. Look at the hundreds of millions of dollars currently being used by Iraq, Lebanon and Jordan.

And to understand that scale of the problem, because I don’t think some of you know what 3 million people look like…and that there are another 3.5 who are displaced, but have yet to get out of the border of Syria. Here is one of my favorite professors, Hans Rosling to explain the numbers a bit better.

JLeslie's avatar

@cazzie I will read over your links when I get a chance. Thanks. I want the people to be helped.

cazzie's avatar

Why refugees pay 1000Euro for a pass on a dangerous over crowded boat and don’t buy a 400Euro ticket to fly and end up drowning:

janbb's avatar

We can debate this endlessly but I wonder if any of you who say they are willing to help would donate some money to a reliable organization that is working hard on the refugee crisis. The International Rescue Committee is a relief organziation focused solely on the plight of endangered peoples and refugees. The head was the former foreign minister of the United Kingdom and his parents were refugees from the Nazis.

There are other organizations such as Doctors without Borders or Mercy Corps that are also well worth supporting for their attention to the crisis and other humanitarian causes.

This is a personal decision, but I’ve decided not to give money to any Presidential candidates this year but to donate to organizations that directly help people.

If everyone on here donated just a little bit, it would be very useful.

JLeslie's avatar

@cazzie Seems like the European Union could help take that burden off of the airlines and have representatives from immigration help Syrian refugees get on planes. Even if they paid 500euro instead of 400euro (100 for tax to pay for the government representatives) the government would come out ahead and people would be safer. One plane full of people could easily add up to 10.000Euro and any extra over paying the salary, hotel, etc., could be used to help shelter and feed refugees upon arrival.

cazzie's avatar

@JLeslie I know. It is a complete cop-out right now, but the 1000euros is paid by the refugee to take their chances and the EU doesn’t seem to care enough to come up with some sort of system to allow some of them, through their embassies, to get visas. That is why they are being allowed onto trains only in Hungary to move further, but even that the Hungarians completely screwed up and lied and tried to cheat. And there are millions of them and the task seems daunting right now.

janbb's avatar

@cazzie FWIW, there does seem to be finally more focus on it in the American media right now and more drive for action. We do know how short the attention span is. I am trying to get a fundraiser going at my Unitarian congregation.

JennY1's avatar

Yes, I would help them if they did not break the law.

JLeslie's avatar

Break what law?

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