By Rayan Saqib
Since 2011, according to an article by New York Times issued in 2015, Syria undergoes the highest per capita ratio of refugees displaced throughout the world.
Within the exception of a of countries that are willing to accept the Syrian refugees such as Sweden and Germany, majority of Europe and the United States have significantly failed to accept the refugees even after seven outstretched years of casualties and disaster.
Our society could vastly benefit if we unite and give each other opportunity. Why not let them practice their talents?
Firaz, 29 almost 30. What do normal men do at this age? They work a job. They support a family. They go hometown to visit the parents. They have a stable income. All of that stripped away from Firaz because of one civil war. All of it gone, faded into sudden dust. Firaz painfully served 5 years of military service. Until the day he heard enough of the gunshots that haunted his ears. His mother left alone with two sisters in Syria in the most dangerous conditions.
Firaz, a capable man with good qualifications, a graduate of a university with a degree in business management. However he took refuge in Malaysia and now Firaz works 10 in the morning till midnight at a shawarma shop. Urging for his pay. Begging for a touch of his mother who lives thousands of miles away from him. Not enough money to send to her.
He’s not the only one.
Bukit Bintang, the light of Malaysia, I met 27 year old Ali who is a bodybuilder. The Syrian war killed all of his family only 5 years ago. However he works at a Syrian restaurant in what he describes “worse than hell of an environment”. He misses everything about Syria. He could work as a personal trainer and he could get a much better pay to survive. Nonetheless he is unable. Most gyms in Malaysia prefer Malaysian nationality trainers rather than trainers who are under refugee status.
However, it is not only men but also women that suffer.
She couldn’t speak English well, however she had the qualifications to be a nurse. Proving nationality doesn’t matter, it is the skill that does. I also asked what her life is like after she came to Malaysia away from the war. Her name was Safira. Away from home. Away from her memories. A simple answer: pain. She said she lost her son, her husband and whatever bits of her wealth that remained.
In Malaysia, there is nationalism as well as throughout the world. Today, I am voicing the issue to you I speak for the people who are denied of their talents. Like an educated Syrian neurosurgeon driving a cab in New York. I can’t witness the hurt of these refugees when they possess the talent and qualifications to work less demoralizing jobs. Can you?
The countries hosting refugees should let themselves benefit from the skills of the new arriving refugees. By letting them practice, we are allowing highly skilled workers to work in full force for the betterment of others such as doctors and businessmen that companies don’t hire because they are deemed “too expensive”. They reside with families too just like you. Support what is right. Seek out immigrant stores, restaurants and stand out from in comparison to the ones that walk past without thinking, if they were granted the opportunity their talents wouldn’t fade like this.