A sad part of our modern day and age is how assimilated we have become to news media stories on international conflict and war. When a conflict takes place over a long duration of time, the casualties become nothing more than figures across a screen. After all, Stalin put the matter best when he proclaimed that “the death of a person is a tragedy… the death of a million is a statistic.”
That is what the Syrian conflict has become to us. Not only that but with the vast number of people fleeing their homes, Syrian refugees have become an “international concern.” The 5.3 million refugees scattered across the globe are deemed a “logistical nightmare” due to the difficulties in setting up refugee camps and a nuisance to Western society’s.
In the middle of all of that, we forgot to listen to the human voices behind those overwhelming statistics…
And that’s what Mohammad JD did in “No Place Like Hope,” a short movie about the lives of Syrian refugees. This moving video reminds us that life in a refugee camp is nothing short of a continuous struggle to survive both the physical and mental anguish that have plagued these communities, who often have to make – do with minimal resources.
The dire situation in refugee camps includes lack of access to basic human needs such as food, water, and proper shelter. Yet, this hardship only cements the strong neighborly, and humanitarian sense Syrian culture is known for. “They would split the apple they have and share it with you,” Mohamed says in his movie, showing how even the hunger-stricken individual understands the hardship incurred by his fellow refugee.
Mohamed Jamal El Din explains in further detail the motivation behind his activism in a TedEx talk titled “What If We Were Friends.” I was moved to tears by the inspiration for his journey when an impoverished woman with two dead kids and a sick child asked: “please make me a promise to help others in need.”
However, western societies view refugees as a burden on their communities. “We are worried if they come here we’ll end up babysitting them,” A New York friend of Mohamed said. People forget that refugees include Syrian citizens with degrees in medicine, engineering, humanities, and arts. They are not a burden, but a people who can effectively contribute to foreign societies and cultures by enriching them. Yes, Syria is a Middle Eastern country that belongs to the developing world, but consider for a second the possibility that a Syrian refugee doctor “could one day save your life.”