Blueprint: How Syrian Refugees Are Taking the Power Back
In the wake of the truly baffling results of the November 8th U.S. presidential elections, I, and many others, have on one hand taken great pleasure in poking fun at a country that many despise, and at sticking it to a people that are often perceived as obnoxious and ignorant. Pure schadenfreude, and boy does it feels good. We do that, mostly with tongue planted firmly in cheek of course, because, on the other hand, those of us who actually understand economics, the wildly corrupt nature of mainstream political factions, human frailties, and most importantly of all, empathy, realise that it is not just America that will become severely affected by this wholesale tragedy, but that the trickle down effect of capitalist greed, religious hatred, marginalisation, bigotry, and a general closed-mindedness, could eventually be detrimental to all. The greatest country on Earth. Isn't that a bold statement of showboating absurdity in this day and age? The greatest country on Earth. Think about that.
But the truth of the matter is, that while it may not seem that way to many Americans, no one wants to see the pure of heart in that country suffer at the hands of a tyrannical government. The good in us, the humanitarian in us, don't want to see anyone suffer, even, I guess, Donald Trump; like the fifth grade bully in school, we would just like him to go away and leave us all alone. But sadly, there seems to be an inordinate amount of human beings in that country, and many other countries the world over, mine included, who really would prefer to see the obliteration of humanity. I just don't get it.
My homeland for instance, Australia, a wide brown land with coastal cities packed to the rim with haters and bigots, could very well be one of the most intolerant countries in the western world. Gay marriage is still well and truly off the table, and for that fact alone, shows the sunburnt country up as the prejudiced and unequal society that it really is. That nation, is led by a right-wing, conservative government that wholeheartedly pretends to be central. It kind of reminds me of that badly dressed arsehole kid at school who comes roaring back from the summer holidays all super cool and emo, and is now so hot and sensitive because he looks like Robert fucking Smith. The reality is, he's still a freakish monster. The thinly veiled disguise doesn't fly. Let's call Malcolm Turnbull and his hypocritical parade of pasty, right-wing religious zealots with not-so-hidden agendas and nazi bondage fetish fantasies what they really are... oh, I just did.
Turnbull's government, and now Trump's, are run by the sort of guys who dress up in nappies on weekends and pay very tall and aggressive women to punch them in the face because baby made a poopy in his pants. These men run our lives, and ultimately, are all responsible for our collective well-being. And time and time again, we vote them in. Do we not learn?
The American election just gone, the one that we're all trying to forget, had an overall voting participation rate of 55%. Fifty-five percent. That means that 45% of people in the entirety of the United States of America that are eligible to vote, chose not to. Couldn't be bothered. Let the others deal with it. Not my problem.
Of that 45%, early statistics show that 33% of those were either African American or Hispanic. These are the very people that Trump blatantly insisted on marginalising and figuratively beating up on, over the entire length of his campaign. These are the very people that I, and many, many others, have dedicated portions of our lives to stand up for. To fight for, and to fight along side of. But they couldn't be bothered. Too hard.
As the vote count was extremely tight, Hillary received more by the way, that means that essentially 27.5% of the greatest country on Earth voted for Donald J. Trump. *Palm smashes forehead* Now, despite my pretty well researched understanding of the U.S. election process, there are things here that I really don't understand; so I'll just give you the figures:
- Of white women voters, President Trump received 53% of the vote, to Hillary Clinton's 43%.
- Of white people without a college degree, Trump killed it: 73% to 23%.
- 51% of college educated white women voted for Hillary. That means that 45% of educated women voted for Donald Trump.
- Thankfully, Hillary won the black vote hands down: 88% to 8% in total, with 93% of the African American female vote and 80% of the male vote. Hispanics too voted for the Democrats in record numbers.
That final statistic is damning. It's grown hoarse from its constant yelling in plain, decipherable language; African Americans and Hispanics are scared. And we're talking about legitimate U.S. citizens. Legal and supposedly free, with the same god-given rights as any white folk. But they're running scared.
Because Donald Trump is an enabler. He's an enabler of hate, but we already know that. Let's be more specific. Donald Trump is an enabler of revival; the revival of white supremacist groups like the KKK and certain Neo-Nazi factions. He's a revivalist of the good old days, where men were men, women were woman, and innocent black citizens were tortured, raped, dragged behind good ol' boy pick-up trucks and hung from trees and beaten. He's an enabler of religious hatred. Of right-wing fundamental Christianity, the kind that prospered under the regimes of Nixon, Reagan, and both Bush's. The kind that murder women simply for having an abortion. The kind that set up conversion camps for homosexuals. The kind that burn books like the Qu'ran, (I urge you to click on that link; sex is banned from YouTube but this douchebag isn't), the Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, books by great civil rights leaders like Malcom X, Martin Luther King Jr., George Jackson and Angela Davis. Even books for the blind containing braille. White supremacist texts and essays were left well alone. Whose content is the most offensive, Judas Priest's or S.O.D.'s (Speak English or Die)? Guess whose album was ransacked from the shelves and burnt?
Worst of all, Trump is an enabler of police brutality. He may not have officially sanctioned any form of atrocity, wait until January for that, but mark my words, his putrid vitriol directed at minority groups has all but sanctioned every single unwarranted police bust, bashing, or murder of a black man. He's green-lighted the ill treatment of any Hispanic, Muslim, homosexual, transgender, political activist or anyone who doesn't quite fit within the confines of conformity. This is not Syria. It's not Iraq, Libya or Afghanistan. This, is the United States. The country that many of our western governments bow down to and aspire to imitate. It's scary. I'm scared to my very core.
The refugee situation in Syria is beyond the point of crisis. So far, over three million proud Syrians, hard working, honest and generous people turned fleeing refugee almost overnight, have fled their besieged country. Neighbouring nations Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, and even Iraq, have absorbed the brunt of it. Tiny Jordan itself, with a population of just 7 million people, had happily accepted over one million of those desperate refugees. King Abdullah II, that country's leader, has financially assisted the United Nations with the construction of tent cities, medical and food aid, and outside of the UN's jurisdiction, he has allowed many of Jordan's schools to stay open so that Syrian children can still receive an education once the Jordanian children finish class. The education is free, and existing teachers have been provided adequate pay rises and benefits. Reports show that most teachers are happy to help regardless. Just who is the more civilised nation again?
During the five years of this world crisis, while European countries such as France and Germany do all they possibly can to aid and accommodate Syrian refugees, the United States has accepted just 12,000. Australia's attitude and unwillingness to assist isn't any better; despite ample room, we've accepted 2,000. Regardless of the fact that many good, ordinary citizens are more than willing to provide food, beds and clothing, within the walls of their own homes, conservative governments just don't seem to want to do a damn thing about it.
Syrians have undergone a generation of crisis that more resembles some sort of hell than our planet Earth. Many, so many, have lost family members, seen their children or parents executed in front of their eyes, have starved, gone without clothes, education and basic hygiene, and have been forced, against their patriotic wishes, to exit their beloved homeland. Under the opaque of night, in the chilling freeze of the desert, carrying their meagre belongings on their heads, while being shot at, diverted, detained, raped and robbed, they continue to flee in search of a better life. And for that, many have spent their life savings for the privilege, just to give their family the lives that they so very deserve. How dare they?
For the 14,000 refugees that have relocated to America and Australia, I worry. I worry that their persecution has only just begun. I worry that nobody will give them work, that they won't be served in grocery stores because they are perceived as terrorists, and that the children will be trounced upon and downtrodden at school, by young kids who don't know any better, because their parents are god-fearing Trump voters who voted to make America white again. Have these refugees not gone through enough?
It's a scary world, but their are positives. And it is to those that we must occasionally look to, to realise that perhaps hope does exist.
The largest refugee camp in the world, lies in the Jordanian desert just 7 miles from the Syrian border. The United Nations operated tent city goes by the name of Za'atari. This bleak, windswept and dangerously vulnerable place is home to 83,000 Syrian refugees. The fantastic thing is this: Syrians are an amazing, resilient, hard-working and very kind race of people. The men feel nothing if they are unable to provide for their families, and in these modern times, the woman are strong, independent and free-spirited, and are the backbone for the family unit. This defies mainstream perception. The media would have you believe that Syrian women are oppressed by their husbands, stoned for sinning, and forced to live a life of family domestication and servitude. Not so.
Miraculously, Za'atari is now home to a fully functioning city. The United Nations, bound by law, were unable to back this phenomenal project with funding, but were more than eager to oversee and assist with operations by other means. The city was built entirely by Syrian refugees with the assistance of many Jordanians. Syrian men would barter with Jordanian suppliers to bring in surplus fruit and vegetables, meat, rice and other staples, plus clothes and handicrafts to sell in makeshift market stalls. On a zero interest loan system, several Jordanian companies helped fund the ambitious set up, and now, three years later, Za'atari runs on its own micro-economy, and has helped many families in the camp to develop their tents into solid, furnished homes, and even to grow their own produce. Family location has shifted among the camp, shuffling tents, and now portable homes, to be closer to loved ones. A group of women have built their own women's centre, where they discuss and resolve pressing matters, educate children, and make their own handicrafts to sell at their own market stalls. Most importantly, crime and hunger in the camp is at an all time low, and self-worth and esteem is at an all time high. Za'atari is not a utopia, by any stretch, but it's a blueprint; of tolerance, of care for others, of resourcefulness, and industrious adjustment and improvisation.
Now, the United Nations are looking to update their guidelines, in order to utilise this method of evolution in all refugee camps across the world.
Maybe this is why the American mainstream media, and to a broader extent, the American mainstream, are so prejudiced against the Arab nations. Maybe, they are the ones who are scared? Maybe, the media realises that the general population of the Middle East are decent, honest, hard-working people who display a resilience and strength ten times that of most of us in the cushiony fluff of the western world. There is no apathy amongst Syrians. There can't afford to be. To the smallest child, people are aware and attuned to life's realities. Because they've seen it. Yet we still shun them like feral dogs.
Conservative America is scared. The most paranoid nation on Earth refuses to concede that perhaps their attitudes, their ways of life are antiquated, obsolete, and above all else, barbaric. Fundamental Christian beliefs do not belong in today's world. The fundamental belief of any religion must be deemed as draconic and inappropriate.
Who are the real terrorists? The angry, young Iraqi whose family were murdered by George W. Bush's illegal war, or the fundamental Christian who harasses an already traumatised woman for having an abortion? Who are the real terrorists? Someone like Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning or Ed Snowden for revealing to the world the potentially catastrophic secrets of a corrupt government, or the white supremacist who remains anonymous under his scared, little pointed hood while preaching hate speech to the twisted, psychotic and already converted?
This, by the way, is not an America bash. What it is, is a slap to the face of corrupt government and media organisations worldwide. America, Australia, Britain, China, Israel, South Africa, North Korea, Mexico, Guatemala, and more... you're all on notice. The people that matter are wide awake. The smart people, the compassionate, wise and fed up people. The downtrodden, stigmatised, crestfallen, marginalised people. The people who care not for financial gains, but for the good of the planet, of the human race and every single one of Earth's creatures who are unable to defend themselves or their rights.
You call us bleeding hearts, I call us soldiers. Soldiers in an upcoming revolution that will not only save us, but the ignorant's sorry asses as well. We are the ones with the guts to fight, and to be outwardly angry at the world's present state. We are the brave ones who will stand up to your guns, unarmed and free, who will drive a wedge through your hate groups and will return the poor and huddled masses to the country that once so openly invited them. This is not McCarthyism 1953. This is 2016. We are no longer scared. And despite what certain people may think, we are not tolerant. We don't tolerate racism, discrimination of any minority group, sexism, war, greed, corruption and the current evils of capitalism. Not by any means, now, or ever.
The voting in of that psychotic Trump is a veiled blessing. It's prodded us into action. If action is not taken over the next four years, then nothing will ever be done. We will NEVER let that happen. And to those who have sinned, not in God's eyes, but in the eyes of common decency, will pay. Not with your lives, we are not so sadistic and cruel, but with your rights and individuality. Then we'll see who the whingers and whiners really are.
I'm frustrated. Frustrated and scared.
No longer can we use something like a lack of education as an excuse. We all know by now what's right and what's wrong. From the Rhodes scholar to the peasant in the street, we all know. Some of the greatest, most noble of people have come from backgrounds with little education, little hope or welfare. But they're here. Now. Along side me. Along side you. Ready to fight. To be as one and to shut down this rampaging snowball of murderous greed, biblical fulfilment, and unwarranted hatred.
In this case, there is no shame to work outside the system. It's perfectly reasonable and fair.
So, to the KKK, the Neo-Nazis, mainstream media and censors, to Donald Trump's Republican Party and its blind mass of drooling voters, to the central fence-sitters who dust their hands at the issues and do nothing, to the jock flag fliers and the thug dog fighters, to the street gangs, gun enthusiasts, evidence planters and politicians, to the overpopulated private prisons, land stealers and climate change deniers, the irresponsible multinationals and CEOs, to the racists, sexists, bigots and religious right, to the corrupt police, perpetrators of hate and destruction, and above all else, to the brutal system that we all seem to be living under, I'm coming for you. We're coming for you. And believe me, we're militant as all hell. Peace rallies and love-ins mean nothing anymore. We're taking the planet, our planet, back by force. Take it as a threat if you wish, but you'd be wrong.
It's a fucking promise.
*The pen, always before the sword. If you want to fight, then write! For us, or for yourselves. Join the revolution by subscribing for free to The Low Road and fire up your own revolt!