Every so often – perhaps too often – we are confronted with a situation in which there is no good solution, and we are left to pick the best-worst solution. The refugee situation is a prime example.
Either option – taking them or refusing them – may lead to negative consequences. We are getting all sorts of mixed and contradictory information regarding the demographics of this group of refugees. Are they innocent women and children, or an army of fighting age men? The casual observer cannot be sure.
If it is the former, we run the risk of these innocent people ending up again in hostile and dangerous territory (that is, if they are not taken in by another country) and that would be an injustice. The first possible negative consequence: the loss or suffering of innocent life.
If it is indeed an army of fighting age men, we run the risk of inviting (with fanfare!) terrorists who wish to do us harm (whether this “threat” is manufactured or not) leading to the same consequence: loss of innocent life.
But then again, we must know that no matter what we do – no matter what security we have in place – terrorists are going to find their way in if they are determined enough. They may be fanatics, but we must be sure not to underestimate their abilities. Refusing the refugees, then, may only be a postponement of the inevitable.
What is the answer to this burning question? I can’t say. I don’t know. A sticky situation indeed.
But I can say this: it will never do if we live our lives in fear of this threat (again, no matter if it is manufactured or legitimate) for that is precisely the intent. And whether it is manufactured or legitimate, it is being used as an excuse to further restrict freedoms. We must be careful not to jump to quick solutions in the aftermath of Paris, as that is what we did after 9/11; we went to war in a country we had no business in, and we got stuck with the Patriot act. I fear what may come this time.