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writing for godot

There is something positive we can do about Syria

Written by Barbara G. Pickard   
Sunday, 08 September 2013 02:28
September 7, 2013

Dear Bill Simpich

Your RSN article today on the Syrian problem is very much to the point. I would like to chime in by emphasizing that one does not cure an evil by saying no to it, but only by providing a viable positive alternative.

The only obvious alternative that we can undertake immediately is to provide for all Syrian refugees—at least at some level. It is my understanding this amounts to about one third of the Syrian population. It is also widely reported that the refugees are straining the resources of neighboring countries.

We should put forth a serious effort to show our concern in this way: we can provide
1. Food and solar stoves and water and warmth for the huge number of refugees.
2. Rudimentary medical attention.
3. Rudimentary schooling for at least some children in refugee camps.

How to achieve this?
1. Money budgeted from the savings accomplished by not bombing.
2. A national analog to the CCC of Roosevelt, to the Peace Corp, to Teach for America—complete with efforts to teach rudiments of language, with some refugees recruited to help and thus encourage good will.
3. A national “adopt a family” campaign in the US. Families need not be identified by name and address; they can adopt an icon or special Iranian word instead. US Families will learn about specific refugee families and their needs. They will collect materials required and the US armed forces can provide transport.
4. Select one hundred or more qualified fairly young refugees to take an intensive class in English and be transported to the US to live with an American family for a year or two while their education is furthered as appropriate. American public schools or perhaps community colleges might want to participate in this program.
5. As part of the early English training, provide simple computers and training. This could happen at a few centers staffed by someone who could maintain solar cells to sustain the energy needs and offer simple system manager help. Could our army help? What about one of the annual awardees of The Mission Continues ( With translators, “computer pals” analogous to the old-fashioned pen pals – or even pen pals—can be established so that students in the classes can exchange pictures and messages with volunteer classrooms in the United States.

Possibly if the program got underway there would be some sabotage by terrorists. Compared to what they are doing about the current violence in large parts of the globe, perhaps our armed forces could figure out how to deal with it—no policing effort every invented is completely without risk or completely successful, but many efforts achieve their main goals nevertheless.

The job is overwhelming, but surely can be accomplished to some worthwhile extent. In addition to providing substantial ernest direct help, we ought to be able to generate good publicity that would, in turn, create terrific feedbacks.

Sincerely yours,
Barbara Pickard
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