Hello World!

E.A Buchianneri said in her book Brushstrokes of a Gadfly, “… how terrible is the pain of the mind and heart when the freedom of mankind is suppressed!” My pain is caused not through suppression by others but suppression from within. Processing out my thoughts has never been a strength. I am starting this blog to help me with processing my thoughts. That being said, this blog is here to talk about facts. Enhancing knowledge of myself as well as others who will be reading this, and most importantly, to make all of us in a process to be global thinkers as we will tackle some of the biggest dilemmas in the world today.

 So who am I you wonder? My name is Tahmid Shantanu. I currently reside in the city of Russellville in Arkansas. I am a junior at Arkansas Tech University studying Sociology. I was born and raised in Bangladesh, a small country in south-east Asia and I live in here in the US with three apartment-mates. I said that I wanted to start blogging to get better at processing my thoughts out. But, I am starting a blog because for years I have just been suppressing myself. I have always had trouble to express myself, doubting that what I may say might be taken out of context or people might think that I might be considered as being dull-witted. Stepping into my third year of college, I have realized that there will always be naysayers, pessimists, doubters and in general people who will make negative notions to everything. As Taylor Swift eloquently says in her hit-song, “And haters gonna hate, hate hate // Baby I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake”. Therefore I am going to break out of the bubble of fear I created for myself and shake it off.

For today, I will talk about the recent developments in the Syrian refugee  crisis. Unless you have lived under a cave with no connection to the outside world, you should be familiar with the refugee crisis in Syria. A country in the middle east, Syria has been in a civil war since 2011. Different ethnicities and religious groups have been fighting each other in changing coalitions ever since and this paved the way for Daesh (ISIS) to enter the chaos to build a totalitarian ‘Islamic’ caliphate. The general populace of Syria was trapped between, the violent regime, rebel groups, and the religious extremists. One third of the Syrian population have been displaced because of this and now reside in camps in the neighboring countries. The Arab states on the gulf have shamelessly accepted ZERO refugees. For this reason many refugee camps are not fully equipped and are over crowded. Because of the inability of the UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner of Refugees), the people then decided to seek asylum in Europe. Since in the European Union a refugee has to stay in the state they arrived in, this put a lot of pressure on the border states, i.e Greece. With its own economic troubles Greece, was not able to take care of so many people at once, which lead to scenes of desperate, hungry people on the islands that are normally reserved for tourists. This was when the world needed to come together and act as a united front, but with the recent developments of Paris, and news of lockdown in Brussels, the world seems more divided than ever. 31 state governors from the US have decided to not accept any Syrian refugees with fear of an Daesh infiltration, whereas France has vowed to accept 30,000 Syrians in the wake of the Paris attacks. There have been calls of presidential candidates to ask for special ID badges for Muslims in the US and Islamic xenophobia has started to creep into the Western powers.

That being said, more and more people in the West have also started taking action. Although most support has come from citizens rather than the politicians. The big fears in the Western world remains the rise of Islam, high birth rates, crime, and the collapse of the social systems. Let’s acknowledge this fears and look at the facts.

It has been estimated that if the EU accepted ALL the four million refugees and 100% were Muslim, the total Muslim population in the EU would have increased from the current 4% to 5%. A Muslim is not new and definitely not a reason to be afraid. Birth rates in some parts of the western civilization are low, so fear that these asylum seekers might overtake the native population in a few decades. However studies have shown that even though birth rates are higher among Muslims in Europe, but they drop and adjust as the standard of living increases. The birthrate in Syria before the civil war was not very high as their population was rather shrinking than growing. The fear that refugees lead to higher crime rates also turns to be false. Refugees, who are immigrants are less likely to commit crime than the native population. They start businesses and integrate themselves to the workforce as soon as possible. Most Syrians come in as potential professional workers, that would help sustain the aging European population. The European Union has a collection of some of the world’s strongest economies with proven social systems, infrastructure, democracy, and huge industries. They will be able to handle the refugee crisis if they want to, and the same can be said for the whole of the Western world. Overall things have started to get better but more work is required everyone.

We are writing history right now. How do we want to be remembered by our future generations? Rich xenophobic cowards? And we have to realize these people who are fleeing from Syria are no different than us. By accepting and integrating them into our societies we have much to gain. It will be a huge loss if we ignore this crisis. More dead children are sure to wash ashore if we ignore this crucial point in our history. Let’s be the best we possibly can.

Write me your thoughts in the comments section and you can also e-mail me on tshantanu@atu.edu. Do you like this format of conversation or do you think some changes can be made? The more input I get from you guys the more it will help me fine tune this blog. This week’s topic was inspired by In a Nutshell, a YouTube channel that talks about different topics and helps break down the facts. Hope you guys have a great rest of the week and my friends in the US, happy thanksgiving. PEACE!

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