Saturday, April 20, 2024
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Saturday, April 20, 2024

Michael Moore: A champion for Syrian refugees

Michael Moore; Getty Images

It is ironic to think of the point in history almost eight years ago when a strong wind of anti-Syrian sentiment swept across America, as a simpler time. But in light of what has occurred since then, it truly was. In November 2015, Donald Trump was ramping up his campaign for the presidential election that was to be held the following year and none of us were fully prepared for the chaos that would ensue after he won. One of his campaign promises at the time was that he would stop Syrian refugees from coming to the US because he believed they would bring terrorism with them.

Michael Moore set himself up as a champion for refugees who had fled war-torn Syria in the hope of finding a safer place for their children when he offered to house a refugee family in his personal home in Traverse City, Michigan and challenged other Americans to do the same

At the time more than two dozen governors had already vowed to prevent Syrian refugees from coming to their states, including Mike Pence, the Republican governor of Indiana who would become Trump’s running mate and vice president the following year, and Rick Snyder, the Republican governor of Michigan at the time.

In an immediate response to Snyder’s anti-Syrian refugee diatribe, Michael Moore set himself up as a champion for refugees who had fled war-torn Syria in the hope of finding a safer place for their children when he offered to house a refugee family in his personal home in Traverse City, Michigan and challenged other Americans to do the same. By the following week Moore’s campaign, which he promoted on social media with the hashtag #MyHomeIsOpen, had registered approximately 1500 additional households who said they were willing to house refugees from the Middle East.

Never a fan of Trump’s racist hatemongering to begin with, the visa ban only intensified Moore’s efforts to unseat Trump in the last election and hinder his re-election in the next

Moore, who was born and raised in Michigan, is best known as a controversial Academy Award-winning filmmaker, author, and political activist who wrote and produced a series of documentaries addressing major political and social issues in the United States. “We are, indeed, our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers,” Moore had said at the time, calling Governor Snyder’s opposition to the resettlement of refugees from Syria, anti-American. The anti-refugee proclamations of more than half of the country’s governors had come in the aftermath of a terrorist attack in Paris that was believed to have been committed by Syrian refugees at the time. Only one of the 30 governors was a Democrat. President Obama responded to the anti-refugee sentiment by vowing to move forward with plans to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees by the following year.

Unfortunately, the following year also saw the election of Donald Trump and one of his first acts as president was to issue a presidential proclamation banning all Syrians from acquiring visas, whether they were refugees or not. Never a fan of Trump’s racist hatemongering to begin with, the visa ban only intensified Moore’s efforts to unseat Trump in the last election and hinder his re-election in the next.

Ruthanne Sikora
Ruthanne Sikora
Ruthanne Sikora is a full-time caregiver for her differently-abled daughter Lauren, human rights activist, Global Studies student, part-time writer and English editor.

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