“Humanize Me

On April 20, there was an event called “Humanize Me: Syrian Refugee Crisis Awareness” on the South Oval. I went to check it out, and ended up learning more than I had anticipated. The event was very well put-together to inform the average uneducated participant (to be honest, I was not especially informed about the Syrian refugee crisis going into the event). After learning about the general situation a little bit, I was invited to walk through a path set up in the grass. ┬áThe path, with signs to guide me along the way, represented a typical journey to safety for a Syrian refugee. It had so many more steps than I thought it would, and passed through 7 or 8 countries. I had no idea that the journey of one refugee was so international.

The pathway was outlined by little plastic flags. Not merely for decoration, these flags helped to provide a visible representation of the scope of the crisis. As the information sheet I was given details, each flag represents 11,500 people that have fled Syria, 1,600 people that are internally displaced, 790 people that have been killed, and 3,700 that have been wounded. And I walked through those flags much in the same way that a lot of the world has been walking through this crisis unaware of how devastatingly impactful it is. It’s so easy to see the crisis as a list of numbers. But walking in the footsteps of one refugee and his family helped me to understand the trauma it really is.

 

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