It’s Christmas time, which for most people means spending time with family — unless you’re a contributor to the New York Times — in which case the holiday season is a perfect time to elicit sympathy for open borders for Middle Eastern refugees.
In “Where Jesus Would Spend Christmas,” Stephanie Saldaña draws comparisons with the plight of displaced families in the Greek refugee camp of Moria to the birth of Jesus Christ.
“As we live through the largest migration in modern history, Christmas invites us to recognize our story in the millions who have been displaced by tyrants, war and poverty and to see their stories in ours,” she writes.
Of course, Christmas is certainly a time to reflect on the most needy in society, but stating that “Moria is Bethlehem” is a bit of a stretch considering millions of Christians are celebrating the birth of Jesus, not just two parents who fell on hard times.
Although Saldaña’s description of the filthy conditions of the camp deserve sympathy, she can’t help but accidently demonstrate just how muddled the refugee situation has become.
For example, she cites one young man (a large majority of asylum seekers from the last two years are men, leading to questions about whether many are simply taking advantage of Europe’s economy and generous welfare benefits, rather than fleeing war) from Gaza.
Unlike Syria or Iraq, Gaza has remained completely untouched from Bashar al-Assad or ISIS’s terror. Many of the hardships experienced by Palestinians can be attributed to their democratically-elected government’s unwillingness to cooperate with Israel in rooting out terrorism. Despite strict monitoring by the Israeli government, Palestinians enjoy a better quality of life on average than most Middle Eastern countries.
While Saldaña tells us that Moria “can also teach us about what Christmas really is” because of the supposed similarities between the conditions of refugees and Mary and Joseph, it’s important to note that the parents of Christ were not asylum seekers. Instead, they were returning home because of a government-mandated census by Caesar Augustus.
Thus, when she writes “if we want to imagine the Nativity, we needn’t go farther than the tent of Alaa Adin from Syria,” Saldaña is doing a disservice to her readers. Comparing the waits in a refugee camp to how Mary and Joseph’s lives were “upended for a census” is fallacious considering Mary and Joseph were returning home, not to a new country.
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