Our obligation as refugees and immigrants in 2016

The year 2015 has passed living in our memory the indelible marks of many good and bad events that have affected us and the world around us in one way or another. However, one of the most memorable events that has affected so many lives has been terrorism. In fact, in Europe and the United States, terrorism has claimed the lives of many innocent people, while leaving so many others maimed and perplex of what human dignity really means. But, what is so sad and chocking for more people in Europe or U.S., as well as many new comers is that many of these terrorist attacks have been carried out by refugees or immigrants.

Although these concepts, refugee and immigrant, may have different interpretations from a legal standpoint, they both share a common denominator when it comes to their motivation. Suffering, human violation and insecurity constitute what prompts both refugees and immigrants to flee their countries in search for survival and security in other countries. Across the world and since historical times, the United States has played a major humanitarian role of welcoming to its land millions of refugees and immigrants from all over the world.

For years, several individuals have escaped persecution, humiliation, injustice, suppression and human violations in order to reach the country of immigrants where many have regained their peace, security, freedom, human dignity and opportunities. It is deeply dishonoring that some the gruesome actions the host country would face came from the very people who were granted peace, liberties and dignity they have never enjoyed in their countries. It is inconceivable that they are the ones who inflict upon the host country’s hospitality the same unhuman and despicable behaviors they have fled from in their countries.

As it is routine, every year after the new comer has acquired his or her U.S. citizenship, the White House through a technical letter signed by the president addresses all new Americans in these profound words: “Our democratic principles and liberties are yours to upload through active and engaged participation. I encourage you to be involved in your community and to promote the values that guide us as Americas: hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism.”

In its last segment, the letter concludes “you are now part of this precious history, and you serve as an inspiration to those who will come after you.”

Besides various challenges that refugees and immigrants face in the host country, the above stated words put every refugee and immigrant to the test. The first test upon which new comers have to demonstrate their responsibility is the ability to realize that the types of inhuman and unjust behaviors they have found intolerable in their countries are not also tolerable in the host country. Rather than becoming the betrayer of a society that has given them life back, refugees and immigrants should commit to promoting peace and security for themselves, their co-citizens and future generations.

Sharing from now on the prestige of American citizenship with those who have come into the U.S. before them, refugees and immigrants should play a major role in promoting peace, human dignity, freedom and patriotism without which their immigration could only be illusory.

As they strive to get themselves an ideal place in the American “melting pot”, refugees and immigrants should understand that the only precious reward they can give to a society that has provided them with peace and happiness is to return the same peace and happiness to the same society.

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