The Bar-On Brief: Raising awareness and insipring action


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By Shauli Bar-On , Columnist

The Bar-On Brief: A weekly column

Disregard political parties. Disregard the debate on United States foreign policy. The only thing that needs to be regarded is humanitarianism. It does not take a particular political affiliation to praise the Red Cross club and Muslim Student Association (MSA) for planning Syrian Refugee Awareness week.

Throughout the week, the two clubs raised awareness about the current catastrophe and human rights violations taking place is Syria. They are urging students to donate household items and first-aid resources to be sent to the refugee camps in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan.

The clubs are additionally calling for students to protest current United States refugee policy, not allowing any refugees to enter the country because of the potential terror threats. The clubs are urging students write to their local representatives and dissent to this policy.

Social studies teachers showed their classes a video about the cause where MSA member Noor Baig interviewed one of the fortunate 10,000 Syrian refugees that was allowed into the country under the Obama administration.

The horror and terror these refugees have faced is indescribable and undebatable. There are essentially three avenues we can take to address the issue: We can protest and ask the government to fix their problems, we can do something about it ourselves or we can do both.

The important and essential part of this awareness campaign is that it gives students a choice. Nobody is forcing you to donate, to write to your representative or even to care.

But we should care. We live in the affluent Silicon Valley between four walls. We do not live in constant fear of gunfire, bombings or inhumane attacks.

It is selfish and uncharitable to ignore the trauma and agony of those caught in the crossfire of the Syrian Civil War. It is egomaniacal to turn away from a people faced with torment and anguish.

What would it take for someone to understand what they face on the other side of the planet? What will it take for someone to understand that donating something as simple of a blanket can save someone’s life?

It all comes down to the choice each individual is faced with: help or ignore. Choose the right one, and help.

And with that, I rest my case.

The Bar-On Brief is a weekly column that runs Thursdays. 

Follow Shauli Bar-On on Twitter @shauli_baron