Photo: The Star
By We’Ced Youth Media
Ed Note: Last Friday, a series of premeditated attacks in Paris, France killed over 120 people. The extremist group ISIS has claimed to be behind these crimes that have shocked the world. Despite the fact that ISIS has also been linked to the bombing of a Russian passenger plane in Egypt that killed 224 people just weeks ago, and an attack in Beirut, Lebanon that killed 41 people a day before the Paris attacks, the international media and political community has by and large fixed its gaze on Paris.
Though US leaders like President Obama have cautioned against giving into fear-based responses in the midst of tragedy, many others popular leaders have responded to the attacks with harsh anti-immigrant and Islamophobic reactions, including turning away Syrian refugees that are fleeing ISIS, reminiscent of America’s anti-Muslim hysteria immediately after 9/11.
We’Ced reporters dialogued about the Paris attacks and their aftermath. Below, they consider the consequences of a knee-jerk anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim reaction and wonder if, in the wake of the attacks, America should continue it’s plan to provide refuge for 10,000 Syrian refugees over the next year.
Gabriel Vazquez, 18
My reactions to the Paris attack that took place were heavy sympathies for the lost ones. I feel that this will either unify or break us as a nation. Which ties into the matter of the Islamophobic comments made by some of our leaders. I believe that we shouldn’t let the leaders speak these kinds of messages for us because the leaders don’t speak for me as an individual, with their racist and stereotypical opinions. It shows that our leaders aren’t striving to be better people. It just proves a man in a suit is no better than an ignorant man on the street. The leaders of the U.S have the power to bring closure and healing in times like these but instead they fuel the fire with the baseless judgement toward Muslims.
I believe that the U.S should continue to let Syrian refugees in but only when it’s the right time. I feel like right now, with all these attacks happening it wouldn’t be appropriate to let refugees in right now. I feel like once the situation cools then would be the time to continue to let refugees in.
Natalie Wight, 18
Any news about terrorism or violence upsets me. The magnitude of the situation in Paris didn’t hit me until the third or fourth time hearing about it. The hateful responses of American leaders towards Muslims mirrors the hatred that ISIS inflicts upon countries and people. These reactions fuel the destructive fire of xenophobia, which will only worsen the climate of fear and terror. I still think the US should accept Syrian refugees after these attacks.
Jesus Dominguez, 17
My reaction was astonishment because Paris is one the most popular cities in the world. I Think that U.S. anti-Muslim responses are uneducated and a reaction that hides the fact that they do not know how to build up a strategy that could fix this complex problem.
Yes, the US should accept Syrian refugees at this time. When Barack Obama pledged to take in 10,000 Syrians in the next year, his word represents all Americans and from there that becomes a promise that has to be fulfilled and we have to accept the consequences.
Cassandra Avitia, 17
It saddens me that human beings are attacking and killing each other as if they didn’t care what happens and what it could lead to. So many innocent people died.
I think some of the responses by American conservative leaders are some of the most absurd things I’ve ever heard. People will do horrible things no matter people’s race or ethnicity or religion. If someone wants to hurt others, whether they are Muslim or Christian, they will.
I think the U.S. should accept Syrian refugees because we’re all supposed to help each other out, in good times and in bad times. Ignoring their situation just seems inhumane.
David Macias, 17
I think it’s sad that the attacks happened. So many people died for no reason. I think this should be taken as a warning to the world. I don’t think the negative responses from US leaders are necessary because it’s adding hate to the fire.
I think the U.S. should accept refugees from abroad. Everyone deserves to be saved. At the same time, by doing this we may be putting ourselves at risk. People are saying that terrorists could sneak in as refugees and cause trouble here. Also ISIS may make us a bigger target for aiding people who are against them.
Victor Seguin, 17
The attacks were horrible. The people of France did not in any way deserve that. however, saying that this will not be tolerated and condemning these acts all over the world is in my opinion a late reaction. This same thing happens all over Syria and the Middle East, yet we do nothing. Now that it’s happened in a first world country, we act as if this is the worst thing to happen since 9/11. why is it any less urgent when it happens in a place like Syria or Iraq or Lebanon?
Our nation is filled with bigots. We need to be showing the people of the Middle East that we care for them and know they’re victims too. When we show we’re racist and hate filled people, we help feed the kind of world ISIS and other groups need to support their cause. We absolutely should accept Syrian refugees, if for no other reason than to help our own standing in the world. Syrians need to know we care and aren’t all bigots.
Alice Herrera, 17
I personally think the attacks were crazy. I didn’t expect ISIS to go for Paris. I thought they were going to attack the US first honestly. I think the anti-Muslim backlash is wrong because that is telling all the Muslims that we don’t want nor like them so some of them might want to get back for that and join ISIS to attack us.
I’m conflicted on whether the US should take in Syrian refugees or not after this. We don’t want to reject them because they are people who need “help”, but on the other hand some of them or even people in general can be real terrorist.
I honestly don’t know how I feel about the Paris attacks yet. If something like that can happen in Paris then what can happen to us? I don’t think we should take in Syrian refugees. We’ve taken in enough people as it is and taking more will only make us lose more jobs.
Chris Rodriguez-Lomeli, 18
My reaction to the Paris attacks is that I want justice for the lives lost in the attacks. I know that’s easier said than done. I think if we do accept Syrian refugees we should keep a close eye on them. It is a good idea to let them seek refuge in the US and it’s probably the right thing to do morally. However, when I think of Syrian refugees coming to America, I think of how I read somewhere that Fidel Castro sent some criminals into the U.S. as Cuban refugees and how that created violence in places like Florida years ago.
Stephanie Mancilla, 16
I was very surprised when I heard about the Paris attacks. I did not expect anything like this to happen so soon after 9/11. I think the US should allow a certain number of Muslim refugees into the US, because if we alienate other victims of terror we might see them at some point joining these extremist groups and attacking us. Also, most of these refugees are families trying to stay safe and stay alive.