Syrian students seek refuge at Central

Modern America began with immigrants stepping foot on Plymouth rock, and since then, the country has grown immensely because of immigration. The British came in the 1600s and 1700s. Irish Catholics and Eastern Europeans came in the 1800s. In the 1900s came Japanese and Chinese. And recently, America has seen an influx of Latinos.

To quote President Barack Obama, “we are and always will be a nation of immigrants.”

With that said, though, a large portion of those who attend Central were born in the United States. So were their parents and, often, so were their parents’ parents. However, the school does have plenty of minorities. And out of these minorities, there are some immigrants, too.

It has been said thousands of times that life is hard for any immigrant, regardless of where they came from and where they are going. Leaving one’s home and saying goodbye to your culture and family is difficult. It is especially hard when you’re a refugee like Ruba Omira, senior.

“I came here a month ago from Turkey,” Omira said. “Four years ago I moved there from Syria.”

Five years ago, violent protests by terrorist organizations began and called for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s removal. In response to these protests, Assad went on the offensive by violently shutting them down with his army. Eventually, the conflicts escalated into a full-on civil war with innocent civilians in the cross fire.

Omira and her family were caught in the midst of the commotion and had no choice but to leave. And while they’re now in safety, it’s still not easy for them. It’s especially difficult for Omira.

“It feels like you’re walking into a forest full of wolves racing to you eating,” Omira said. “You feel rejected by the whole world because you’re from Syria.”

This adversity that she feels has been heightened in recent times. With the rise of ISIS and an increase in terrorist attacks around the world in recent years, being Muslim is now harder than ever.

“I feel the difficulty of living here on a daily basis,” Omira said.

Getting used to life in the United States comes more easily for some than others. For Amr Kadan, senior, getting used to American life was pretty easy. Like Omira, Kadan came from Syria four years ago at the start of the civil war.

“Coming here was kind of a shock at first,” Kadan said. “But I went to an international school so I had an American education.”

The international school Kadan attended made it easy to assimilate into western culture. Once here, because he already knew English, he started hanging out with new friends and joined as many clubs as possible.

“It made my transition here really smooth,” Kadan said.

The recent presidential election was filled with rhetoric surrounding the refugee crisis. The Left was welcoming to refugees, while the Right was not. They were hesitant considering national security concerns. But what is often overlooked in this discussion is the story behind these refugees. For Omira, it was one of hardship and frustration. For Kadan, it was one of hope and ease. These stories are not only interesting, but inspiring, and are necessary when discussing the topic of immigration and refugees.