Arab refugees should NOT be discouraged to start a new life in a new country.
My name is George Ohan and I was born in Aleppo, Syria. I am also a U.S. Army veteran; eight years active duty.
This message is for the Arabs and many other people around the world that are forced to become refugees in this time of turmoil and conflict. Do not be discouraged to live the life that you imagine for yourself. You CAN make your desired life your reality; just like I did.
In 1981 my family had to leave Syria and ended up in Los Angeles, CA. My parents didn’t speak any English, and Hollywood was much different than anything they had seen.
My suggestion to refugees is to avoid watching mainstream news outlets and avoid reading anything published by mainstream news outlets. News in America and around the world is BIG business. The more drama and negativity that a story has, the more viewers a news company can possibly get to watch that story. Viewers = Money. Right now “refugees and war” is their main business model. The news companies report the stories that they want to tell and sell. They scare the people in foreign countries to think that a “refugee” is a terrorist. What’s your story as a refugee? Have you seen that version on the news?
Do not be discouraged by tactics of hate. Do not react with hate and anger. Do not lose focus on the perfect life that you imagine for yourself. If you are reading this, then you still have a chance to become anything that you want to become in your life. You still have the chance to do the things that you have always wanted to do with your life. Plan it, and do it.
Honestly, I do not believe that people in America are afraid of terrorists moving into their neighborhoods. Maybe they are afraid to see hard working Arabs or “refugees” coming into their neighborhoods because refugees might start to be successful in the same places that the locals have been struggling?
Take me for example:
- I had 3 jobs in high school (age 14 - 17)
- I joined the U.S. Army at 17 years old
- I was promoted to Sergeant by 20 years old
- I was promoted to Staff Sergeant by 23 years old
- I graduated with 2 U.S. college degrees
- I was voted as alumni President for Veterans of my college
- I was voted as the Student Veterans of America, chapter President
- I have started 5 businesses on my own, and 2 with partners
- I have helped Americans start over 100 businesses
- I was voted as Chapter Captain of Team Red, White & Blue
The list of success can go on, but I hope that you get my point…. I didn't take those positions from anyone. I EARNED everything by working harder than those people around me. Usually when people don't like me, it's because their laziness is exposed when they are compared to me. The work ethic of a motivated and hungry immigrant is hard to match by average locals in any country. It's called a sense of "urgency", but media will try to call it an "insurgency."
I’m happy that my parents did not take the advice of many Americans when they were told things like, “Go back to your country.”
When I was selected, voted, or promoted to positions of higher authority and responsibility nobody ever said, “Hey! That guy is a Syrian immigrant! Send him back to his country!” People were happy that I was the right person for the job. I, George Ohan, a Syrian immigrant have been beating Americans in competition my whole life. I didn’t have any special advantage to be set up for success over any other people. The only thing that I had control over was my attitude and perspective about my situation. I keep my mind focused on my ultimate desires, and my chances of success seem to be increasing significantly.
Refugees will have to work much harder than anyone else to prove who you are, but that’s ok. Proving WHO you are (your character) only shows with time and consistency of your actions. Keep doing the right thing in your new community, do it for the right reasons, do it for a long time, and good results will come from it.
As a refugee, you will identify “friendly” people along your journey. Build on relationships with tolerant people and create lasting friendships with locals. Everybody does not hate refugees. From my experience, I have found that people are very similar around the world. They show love and respect, when love and respect are shown to them and their home.
(Mirza, Muslim and Bosnian Refugee living in USA)
Seek a mentor in your new community. Figure out how things are done in the new region that you live in, and add value to your new community. Home is where you make it. You have a huge opportunity to show the world about the love and caring that your culture offers.
May God be with you.
If someone can translate this blog to Arabic and re-post, that would be great!