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7 January 2016 / leggypeggy

Nebraska senator disappoints me with her reply on Syrian refugees

Tonight’s news included a report that people in Syria are dying of starvation. With all the carry on by warring factions in that country, food isn’t getting through to people. It probably isn’t even being grown locally.

The video footage was horrifying and heartbreaking. An emaciated young boy said he hadn’t eaten for seven days. A skeletal crying baby hadn’t had milk for seven days and was being fed water mixed with salt. While the news report said the videos couldn’t be confirmed, the heroic Doctors without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières) thought it was genuine.

And this same week, I got a shallow, childish and simpering reply from a Nebraska senator. Deb Fischer was replying to my request that she have more compassion about welcoming Syrian refugees. Nebraska is a welcoming state and should be stepping up to help..

Here’s her mealy-mouthed reply and I’m glad to ‘out’ her for her callousness.

‘Dear Peg

‘Thank you for taking the time to contact me about the admission of refugees displaced by the conflict in Syria. I appreciate receiving your comments.

‘I strongly support our nation’s proud tradition of providing humanitarian assistance and offering a safe haven to those who are fleeing violence and persecution. Indeed, many of those fleeing Syria are doing so to escape the same terrorism that was witnessed on the streets of Paris. The United States has responded and, since the conflict began in 2011, it has donated over $4 billion to assist those suffering as a result of the ongoing violence in the Middle East. As of the end of October 2015, approximately 1,800 refugees from Syria have been permanently resettled in the United States.

‘Nevertheless, I am concerned that the normal screening process that refugees must go through prior to resettlement in the United States may not be adequate. Everyone agrees that the conflict in Syria poses a number of unique challenges to the resettlement of refugees. For this reason, I believe it is appropriate to temporarily pause the resettlement of refugees from Syria. Rather than focusing on resettling an arbitrary number of people, I believe the administration should carefully review and strengthen its vetting process to meet these exigent circumstances. The safety and security of Americans is my top priority.

‘The international community must address this refugee crisis, as well as its causes, and I believe the United States must display the leadership expected of the sole remaining superpower. Please know that I will keep your comments in mind during the weeks and months ahead.

‘Thanks again for contacting me. Please continue to keep me apprised of the issues that are important to you by visiting my website: www.fischer.senate.gov. I look forward to staying in touch.

‘Sincerely,
‘Deb Fischer, United States Senator’

P.S. This woman will never, ever get my vote. Especially because I know how stringent US refugee screening is. Sure, one or two might be missed, but that’s most unlikely.

P.P.S. If you are in the USA (or an ex-pat with voting rights) let your representative or senator know how you feel.

P.P.P.S. Wherever you are, please try to help a Syrian refugee to settle into your community.

P.P.P.P.S. Sorry about no photos. Doesn’t seem right.

 

61 Comments

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  1. lmo58 / Jan 7 2016 9:32 pm

    Thanks for sharing this Peggy. That woman doesn’t deserve to be a senator! I don’t how how tens of thousands of people who can’t even get food could possibly pose any sort of security risk to the United States. Anyone can see on the television that they are so weak that they can hardly stand up. Completely disgusting. Just like the NRA coming out in force to protect Americans’ rights to have guns. It’s obviously right that a five-year-old should have access to a weapon to kill his sister or brother if they’re annoying him. I’m with Hillary: if they’re too dangerous to fly then they’re too dangerous to have a gun. Better go. I’m starting to get more and more angry about the way the world treats refugees. We’re no better.

    Liked by 8 people

    • leggypeggy / Jan 7 2016 9:37 pm

      Oh dear Louise, I might need to throw a bucket of water on you. 🙂 But I agree, the senator’s behaviour is completely disgusting.

      Like

  2. Galavanting Gran / Jan 7 2016 9:34 pm

    Well done for writing. You got a reply more than I have from Malcolm Turnbull on the treatment of those seeking asylum being abused in Australian run detention centres.

    Liked by 4 people

    • leggypeggy / Jan 7 2016 9:36 pm

      Very annoyed to hear you haven’t had a reply. I think they are allowed three weeks to reply, so maybe it’s in the pipeline. Am very interested to know if you do get a response.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Galavanting Gran / Jan 7 2016 9:38 pm

        I got a response to my first letter saying it had been passed on to Peter Dutton. Seems no one, even international agencies do not get a response from Dutton.
        I asked in next letter not to be passed on but as Prime Minister he was in a position to act etc.

        Liked by 1 person

      • leggypeggy / Jan 7 2016 9:50 pm

        Geez, that’s so disheartening. Wonder how long he’ll last after his misguided text? He’s such a disgrace.

        Like

  3. Vicki / Jan 7 2016 10:17 pm

    I saw the same photos (of the child with no food for 7 dys and the baby on salted water). Surely there are many children (and adults) in this situation and its hard to believe that people can be so heartless.

    Regardless of verifying the videos, it doesn’t take much to imagine that this situation is happening on a massive scale. You only have to see the towns reduced to rubble to imagine that there might be no food, water, sanitation or medical assistance.

    I keep imagining how I’d react if we were bombed and lost our way of life and freedom of expression, let alone food, water, utilities, medical support and so on.

    (note: if I didn’t have my heart meds alone, I would deteriorate in 3-4 days. There’s no way I could walk hundreds of miles. We take so much for granted here in modern western society and critics of the refugees and asylum seekers are too busy thinking about themselves and their affluent western lifestyle to have empathy for those in need).

    Liked by 4 people

    • leggypeggy / Jan 8 2016 9:37 am

      Yes, we do take so much for granted and very few try to do what you are doing—imagining how it must be for people experiencing such tragedies.

      Like

  4. Andrew Petcher / Jan 7 2016 10:39 pm

    Personally I wouldn’t relax immigration rules, it will lead to huge problems for the future. I am not Donald Trump of course and I think the west should tackle the issue at source. Regime change and stability in the region even if it means deadly conflict. Syrians deserve to be able to live in Syria and not displaced to the west. We should deal with the regime and then invest in reconstruction.

    Liked by 3 people

    • leggypeggy / Jan 8 2016 9:46 am

      The West doesn’t seem to be able to get on top of the situation in Syria any time soon. In the meantime, people deserve to stay alive, sheltered and fed.

      Like

      • Andrew Petcher / Jan 8 2016 11:43 pm

        The west are very inconsistent but Europe is not the answer to host a clash of cultures!

        Like

      • leggypeggy / Jan 9 2016 10:34 am

        Everyone has to pull together to take this from a disaster to a solution.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. wfdec / Jan 7 2016 11:02 pm

    We should all let them all in on temporary visas and then get the war finished and then let them go back. I know Europe is bearing the brunt but both Australia and America were built using almost totally immigrants (After we effectively killed off the native inhabitants) I understand the problems but I think we are all losing a real sense of compassion and in so doing we are openly giving in to ISIS.

    Liked by 4 people

    • leggypeggy / Jan 8 2016 9:48 am

      A friend who looks after the resettlement of refugees in Barcelona says that, without exception, every Syrian refugee wants to return to Syria as soon as circumstances allow it. He says this is most unusual among refugees, because most want to stay in their new country. Syrians only want to go home.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Zambian Lady / Jan 14 2016 10:00 pm

        Many people I have met who left home, voluntarily or involuntarily, say they eventually want to go back home. I have met countless international people who want to go back home. They have been away for too many years and their children are all grown and made their lives in their adopted countries. The parents have found it difficult to leave their children and move back home. Yes, they visit home regularly but have not moved back. It will be interesting to see what the Syrians do when the war ends and life goes back to normal.

        Liked by 2 people

      • leggypeggy / Jan 16 2016 8:54 pm

        I suppose that what the Syrians will do will depend on how long it takes for life in Syria to go back to some kind of normal.

        Like

  6. pagedogs / Jan 7 2016 11:29 pm

    Unfortunately, fear seems to be the currency of US politicians these days. It’s a powerful motivator for getting out the vote. Some senators and governors have had the courage to buck the anti-immigration frenzy, but they are increasingly rare birds. We do seem to be unable to learn from history.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Fiona / Jan 7 2016 11:31 pm

    I hit the like button. That’s not the right sentiment, though. I agree with you. I could go on and on about elected officials not actually knowing what they talk about, and the even worse bureaucrat-who-thinks-s/he-knows-everything-about-everything and who probably thinks s/he can laud it over she who deigns to write to the official, who prepares the reply, for signature. I shall stop now as I still work, even at an arms length, with government, here. I regularly need buckets of water thrown at me, so I drink wine! What is happening in Syria is too awful.

    Liked by 3 people

    • leggypeggy / Jan 8 2016 9:52 am

      I’ll have a few buckets of water at the ready—as well as a few buckets of wine.

      Like

  8. New England Nomad / Jan 7 2016 11:33 pm

    Good for you for writing your senator (and I agree with you wholeheartedly). I don’t think enough people do that. I have written to my senators. But I agree with most of what they vote for anyways. The problem is no matter how much logic and facts you use, some people will never change their mind. But, good for you for fighting the good fight.

    Like

  9. Michael Andrew Just / Jan 8 2016 2:16 am

    I think the World should be ashamed of its effort to help the helpless. This senator’s response is depressing. Thanks for your efforts Peggy

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Laurie / Jan 8 2016 3:42 am

    Apparently compassion is a dirty word these days. How sad misinformation and fear rule the day.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. panhirsch / Jan 8 2016 7:30 am

    We have to remember all of us were most likely refugees at some point in history. Oh, wait… Lots of us were actually economic immigrants! Who are we to now decline those rights to anyone.
    And what is happening now in Syria is disastrous. We are obliged to help. Thank You Peggy for your voice!

    Liked by 3 people

  12. Carol Ferenc / Jan 8 2016 7:43 am

    Kudos to you, Peggy, for your efforts. What has happened to empathy and compassion these days? The Syrian crisis is heartbreaking.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. Lynz Real Cooking / Jan 8 2016 8:29 am

    Wow Peggy you are a very assertive and active person and to be admired! I can’t believe the response to this! sad!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Sy S. / Jan 8 2016 2:25 pm

    This is a corporation asking for Donations ; http://tinyurl.com/o82xf53

    I am not affiliated with this URL, but it has a lot of facts about Syrian Refugees . Millions have already fled to neighboring countries; Turkey, Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq… and thousands have fled to Europe. It would be humanitarian if the USA took in Syrian refugees, but currently they are talking about small numbers, screening and perhaps a two year waiting period.

    Most Syrians would prefer to go back to their mother country Syria… but with an ongoing civil war,
    Bashar Hafez al-Assad still in power, Russia now involved helping Syria (and a strategic warm water port for their naval fleet)…. and the USA does not want to bring foot soldiers into the conflict and other countries reluctant to move forward in removing Assad… the Syrian civil war can go on for years… and the people of Syria will continue to suffer, sadly. WAR IS HELL!

    Sy S.

    Liked by 3 people

    • leggypeggy / Jan 9 2016 12:21 pm

      Thanks for the link Sy. And you said it all with WAR IS HELL!

      Like

  15. mommermom / Jan 8 2016 2:29 pm

    It was so disheartening to read the response by your senator. How you can lump all people together and not look at these suffering children and families is quite amazing. I used to work in a welfare program. A family from Iraq came into the program. They were refugees. He was a doctor and she was a biologist from their home country which they had to flee. Now I have to ask you why on earth would they have run from wonderful jobs and the life they knew to come to a country to speak a language they didn’t know and immerse themselves in a culture they were not familiar with unless their situation was critical. I worked with this family for a couple of years and they only aspired to improve there status in life and provide a good home for their family. Within a couple of years they were off the welfare system, working, and humble enough to accept whatever work came their way. These people taught me so much about the willingness of the relocated, impoverished, or refugee people to do what needed to be done to the best of their ability and to have a good life. I can’t help but think of these Syrian people in the same way. Perhaps not all professional people but why would anyone want to leave their home country as a refugee unless there situation was desperate? Of course I care about national security. But, we are talking about people though, aren’t we?

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / Jan 9 2016 12:26 pm

      I wish more people had the experiences you’ve had and could realise, like you, that sometimes people are forced to seek a new life, and that they do so with commitment and grace.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Curt Mekemson / Jan 8 2016 3:05 pm

    People are afraid, Peggy. And unfortunately it is a fear aided and abetted by our media and pandered to by ambitious politicians. It takes vision and courage to do the right thing, which is something that so many of our political leaders so sadly/tragically lack. –Curt

    Liked by 3 people

  17. Jen / Jan 10 2016 12:18 am

    I think it’s great you wrote to your senator to talk about helping the Syrian refugees. It’s extremely heart breaking to see people starving and in danger. No human being should suffer as much as they are. I also believe we need to be more welcoming and help the refugees settle in. They are human beings and deserve to be treated as such.

    Liked by 3 people

  18. singhcircle / Jan 10 2016 12:56 am

    Politicians are, of course, very self-centered. But the media is making the situation worse! Sad plight of the refugees, though.

    Liked by 3 people

    • leggypeggy / Jan 10 2016 9:47 am

      So true. Together the politicians and media make a bigger mess of things. Meanwhile, the refugees languish.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. wisreader / Jan 10 2016 7:47 pm

    Thank you, Peggy, for these posts – for the education about the country and your first-hand memories and experiences, and the call to help the Syrian people. These are so good in so many ways! As people learn more, we may all learn of ways we too can do something to help relieve this human tragedy happening right here and now.

    Liked by 3 people

    • leggypeggy / Jan 13 2016 9:19 pm

      Oh wisreader, I’m so grateful that people like you read and appreciate my posts on Syria. The country and it’s people are so misunderstood and feared, and the opinions are not deserved. Sure there are some problematic people, but they aren’t true Syrians but thugs and vandals.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. nimitode / Jan 14 2016 1:17 am

    Thankyou for this!

    Liked by 2 people

  21. s / Jan 14 2016 12:48 pm

    Republican legislators here are required to walk in lockstep with their peers, as long as it is contrary to what our President wants. They hope to induce fear into every citizen, so they will vote for them to keep us safe. It also takes attention away from the real issues.

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / Jan 14 2016 2:08 pm

      They should probably be renamed the contrarians.

      Like

  22. Aquileana / Jan 15 2016 12:27 pm

    I am guessing Donald Trumps’ statements caught more than one soul… Great post and thanks for spreading the word.
    Love and best wishes. Aquileana 🌟💫

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / Jan 15 2016 11:22 pm

      Oh gosh, don’t thank me. So much better to thank everyone who doesn’t vote for Trump!

      Liked by 2 people

  23. Live, Love, Create, Be Happy / Jan 16 2016 5:30 am

    This is a painfully sad situation to watch unfold and see how so many of our United States representatives and citizens are showing so little compassion. It seems logical to me that we are more likely to make friends than foe by providing such needed help.

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / Jan 16 2016 4:30 pm

      The concept is so simple, it’s amazing so few people get it.

      Like

  24. Elouise / Jan 21 2016 8:19 am

    Covering butts. Thinking about votes. Living in lala land if she thinks you fell for it, or believed that she would continue to keep your thoughts in mind in the months ahead! I wonder how she would feel and respond if she were an ordinary citizen like you and I are. Thanks for posting this letter–and for refusing to grace it with a photo. I find it dehumanizing and patronizing in the extreme.
    Elouise

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / Jan 21 2016 11:17 am

      Yep, thinking about votes while living in lala land. I just wish that voters would respond by voting for someone more compassionate.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Elouise / Jan 21 2016 12:21 pm

        Compassion seems to be considered out of style by many today. Even though they, too, have benefited from someone’s compassion for them somewhere along the way….Ironic.

        Liked by 1 person

      • leggypeggy / Jan 21 2016 6:11 pm

        How quickly people forget the kindnesses shown to them.

        Like

  25. Sy S. / Jan 24 2016 2:21 pm

    Googling you can see many photos of Aleppo…

    Like

    • leggypeggy / Jan 27 2016 8:40 pm

      Yes Sy, luckily there are heap of pics of Aleppo. Sorry I can’t figure out how to make the link work.

      Like

  26. chattykerry / Jan 27 2016 9:01 am

    I saw the news report tonight on CNN and it is horrifying. I can’t understand why common sense can’t prevail as far as this situation is concerned. Fear is really not an excuse – we should be ashamed of ourselves as a society for allowing not just this but many genocides to happen. Sometimes our actions have caused them.

    Like

    • leggypeggy / Jan 27 2016 8:43 pm

      It’s all so unbelievable, and you are absolutely right that we should be ashamed.

      Liked by 1 person

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