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While all of Europe digs deep to find homes and food and jobs and new shoes for the thousands of migrants desperately traversing the world today, I would simultaneously like to find an emoji to represent them here in America.  Because these folks need an image makeover perhaps more than anyone in recent history.

I’m hopeful the way to make these mostly educated, hard working, former homeowners seem more like educated, hard working, homeowners is with the right smiley face to represent them. Because showing the destitution these people face and the abuse they are suffering at the hands of human traffickers and the unceasing deaths occurring in their communities both where they are running from and on the road, is just not bringing any compassion.

Of course we could look at where or when exactly over the last year the word “migrant” became a synonym for “pest” or “leech” that must be expunged?  A quick Google search gives me the definition of migrant as “animals that migrate.”  Ah.  Maybe it’s because we are using a word that describes a perpetually homeless beast that keeps these war-worn families sub-human?

I’m aware that the one photograph, of one drowned child and his emotionally arrested father did make a temporary impact.  It’s not clear why this one parent and one child more so than the other two thousand migrants who have died just this year mostly escaping Syria had an effect – for a few days.  Or why it was so short lived.

And now one stolen passport in Paris has given all our Republican presidential candidates and even some of the elected governors in our MELTING POT of country permission to demonize victims of a world war.  Allowing them to refuse access to any refugees seeking asylum here while the rest of the world is taking in thousands.

Surely, an emoji will show our lawmakers that all people have needs.  Even those that can’t pay $500 a plate at a benefit in their homestate.  Because lets face it – Emoji’s are strangely powerful.  A friend of mine recently sent a tweet about how far her car was parked from her office with the Emoji of the dancing lady in red.  Showing me in color and posture – her hellish burden.  I’m sure the lady in this emoji is meant to be dancing – but she could be walking… on a Hungarian freeway if need be.   And then she can be texted again and again until DONALD TRUMP GOES AWAY.  Or at least until the pain of destitute humans sinks in, via smartphone.  I can tell you my friend got HUNDREDS OF LIKES AND RETWEETS about her walk to her car.  From her heated and fully catered office.  Emoji’s work.

Of course changing this animal name these terrified people are called in the press would probably help too.  Refugees still seems vaguely human, if not to be confused as the former friends of Lauren Hill.  Assylum seekers speaks to the fact that their lives are in mortal danger, which might produce a tad more empathy – outside of just Germany. But conflating issues of immigration, race, ethnicity, and asylum is dangerous because it would require policy and legislative change.  When half our American leaders are still unclear on vaccine facts, nine years after the debate broke out.  So there probably isn’t enough time to effect actual political change.

So I’m sticking with my emoji request.  And not a crying face one.  I’m talking about a drawing that portrays these souls as people with possibilities. Because if news images of white people swimming in the middle of the ocean, in all their clothes – with their children – and not a single possession from their former life available to them is not awakening America to this holocaust – it’s time to make an electronic cartoon that might save them.



  1. latenightcommenter on Tuesday 8, 2015

    This is what drives me crazy, if you care about the Syrian Refugees so much (I’m referring to people in general with “you” not Diane specifically) why not pressure your governments (US and Europe) to stop helping and arming the Syrian “moderate” rebels and trying to overthrow Assad?

    Watch this Syrian woman’s excellent videos of the situation.

    https://www.youtube.com/user/SyrianGirlpartisan/videos?&ab_channel=SyrianGirlpartisan

    Its a bit like lighting the neighborhood on fire and then having a debate with your family whether to take in the people whose houses you’ve burned down. How about just not burn down their houses? The whole debate over the refugees is overly focused on the symptoms instead of the root causes which is “Why are the Syrians fleeing their homeland?”

    And I really think the United States suffers from a bias that anywhere not the US or Western Europe is some squalid, third world hellhole and not letting in anyone who wants to come here is akin to condemning people to hell. Syria is a nice place to live from what I hear, its just not very habitable when our government arms ISIS and tries to overthrow the legitimate government of Syria.

    >>>”I’m hopeful the way to make these mostly educated, hard working, former homeowners seem more like educated, hard working, homeowners is with the right smiley face to represent them.”

    But how do you know if they are as you described or they are former al-Nusra fighters? I have no faith the US government can vet them.

    And have you noticed the irony of we as Americans have to constantly give up all our freedoms and liberties, like taking a freaking bag into NFL games or all the hassle we face going through airport security yet apparently the importing a bunch of people from a warzone where ISIS is active is worth the risk? So why does the government force us to take off our shoes in aiport security but so blase about the Syrian refugees? Either we’re in a age where terrorism is such a threat that we need to curtail liberties (in which case immigration should be one of the freedoms curtailed) or the whole threat is overblown and both things should be loosened (airport security and immigration)

    >>>”It’s not clear why this one parent and one child more so than the other two thousand migrants who have died just this year mostly escaping Syria had an effect”

    Because people are dumb. They get more angry about a dead lion with a anthropomorphic name or a vide of a dog that gets kicked than millions of homeless people. A classic example of this is Anne Frank. She humanized the victims of the Holocaust. As Stalin said “one death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic”.

    >>>”Allowing them to refuse access to any refugees seeking asylum here while the rest of the world is taking in thousands.”

    Not Japan, not South Korea. I believe they’ve taken some but a drop in the bucket compared to Europe or the United States. And not Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Nations which is particularly shameless since they fund ISIS/al-Nusra and other groups trying to overthrow Assad and have created the crisis that forced these people to flee in the first place.