Empathy for the Stranger

In my second "advanced essay" for Mr.Block's english class I focused on how you should feel towards an immigrant refugee. Readers will notice a link to a video as my works cited. I strongly recommend it to everyone.

Don’t feel obligated to a stranger. It makes you feel you owe someone something who you have no connection to. Why would you allow yourself to be brought down by the thought of some else’s pain? Not to say that the suffering of a stranger is irrelevant but only that one shouldn’t let it get to them if they’re doing alright for themselves. The other side to that coin is having empathy. Being able to understand someone’s pain and sympathize for them is important. That statement can pertain to a beggar or the orphan. In this case though it pertains to the immigrant and refugee. It’s hard enough to carry out your own struggle of a life. Most Americans take things day to day if not week to week. So there isn’t any room for anything but sympathy for a refugee. It’s real easy to be in a position that many Americans are in and say that you don’t owe a stranger anything, but it’s true. With privilege comes responsibilities but not obligations to humans on the other side of the globe. War has ravaged humankind since the very beginning and only the dead see an end to war. Americans are lucky enough to live in such a safe haven where the worst blow was dealt on September 11th. Even emits all the chaos and aftermath of such an event there were no American refugees, no Americans were forced to leave the country because of a fear for their lives. The privilege to live in such a place is undeniable. Especially when on the other side of the planet there are human beings leaving behind everything they’ve ever known in hopes of a better, safer life. It’s probably the scariest and most difficult journey a person can make and yet tens of millions are forced to make it. There are so many people now that the story of the refugee is in fact the story of the modern world. Over the years, the only thing that’s changed is that there are more people to be displaced. Now with modern media and how connected everyone is it’s an issue that is recognized worldwide. The only thing is it’s so very difficult to solve. As much as locking immigrants out is looked down upon, it’s only considered because there is only so much you can do about the issue. There isn’t one definitive answer to the question of where do these people go? The one thing that is known is that they have nowhere to go. For as long as these people have been becoming displaced, where to go has been their biggest question. The ones who make it wind up somewhere but how welcolm they are is what affects their future the most. In many countries, refugees can find asylum but limited embrace from the people already there. After reaching the finish line by getting to the new country refugees are often met with disrespect and snap judgments. People who are set in their ways will create false justifications for such inhumane disrespect but all those people have one thing in common. They have never met a refugee. Never spoken to the people they think they hate so much. Somehow people are able to create such a strong opinion of something they have never experienced, and this plays into many more aspects of life rather than just immigration issues. Although, refugees seem to get the worst of it. People who have already been through so much get thrown aside like nothing.
When people are face to face it’s a whole different story. There must be only a handful of truly awful people who can look refugee in the eye and explain how they feel no different than how they felt before. Most people can empathize and relate with someone who has a drastically different story than your own. That’s why the video by the New York Times was so good. It showed exactly that. In the video refugees got to sit down and speak to native people living on the island they migrated to. The video was sobering in the fact that these people are so similar to everyone else. Their conversations were genuine as were the laughs, these people got along. Possible because of the mentality that the natives went into such a project with. They understood the refugees situations and had empathy for them. Of course there was no obligations, just a genuine conversation. If more people could have this opportunity with migrants things would be much different.

Works cited: “The New York Times.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 29 Feb. 2016, www.nytimes.com/video/multimedia/100000004237409/migrants-stories-from-a-greek-island.html.