Viewpoint: Consider your role in combating ISIL

Rebecca Flannery | Staff Writer
Rebecca Flannery | Staff Writer

cca Flannery, USA, United States, Syria, Iraq, Islamic State, ISIS, IS, ISILBy Rebecca Flannery
Staff Writer

With as much attention as the issue has been receiving lately, the U.S.’s decisions concerning the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and its many threats to national security has the nation wondering what the near future is going to look like.

I’ve recently thought about the potential of putting more “boots on the ground” in Iraq and Syria to stop the reign of the Islamic State militants, and how terrifying and unwanted more war is. I’ve thought about the potential of the threats the group has made against the U.S. with the beheading of American journalists and European captives. I’ve thought about the possibility of more terrorist attacks on American soil, and the utter heartbreak our nation would go through if it were to happen.

And in this process of “what ifs”, I’m wondering through it all: Should I have a role in this?

We as a generation have entered the world in a time of major conflict and chaos. While we see glimpses of it through the news and through family members involved, I think we often lose sight of the fact that we’re in this conflict too. We, as 18-to 20-something-year-old students at a Christian university, are capable of many things. But if that capability doesn’t include military or government involvement, should we completely bow out of the matters of our country?

I believe every American citizen has a duty to uphold for this nation. Considering the amount of money, time and resources being spent on involvement in the Islamic State militant crisis, I think this is a place to start getting involved if we haven’t already.

There are several areas in which we can contribute during this time in our nation’s history. Several millions of people are being displaced because of fighting in Iraq and Syria. According to the Save the Children website, 5 million children in Syria alone are displaced. In Iraq, 1.2 million Iraqis have been displaced in the past two months.

“Aid agencies are working around the clock to cope with the rapid displacement in northern Iraq as tens of thousands of people flee from fighting,” the website states.

This is an area where our resources can help.

Donations, monetary or aid-wise, make a difference in something as devastating as displaced victims of war. There are websites littering the Internet that are responsible for funding international aid, asking for help in some form or fashion. Seek these out.

I recognize that not everyone is in support of what may happen between the U.S. and the Middle East. But knowing how to voice opinions respectfully, taking into consideration that our nation’s leaders are there for a reason and realizing we actually do have a place in this time in history beyond earning a degree are ideas we must keep in mind.

War has a tendency to put short-term goals into perspective. Right now, yes, I’m trying to earn my bachelor’s degree in order to provide for myself when I graduate. I’m trying to enter into a career that I love and am passionate about so that I can wake up excited to go to work. But in the grand scheme of this world, my short-term goals reflect the selfishness of our generation to look out for ourselves and only fight for what we believe we are entitled to. Our portion is not this, but instead to use what we have been given to be a blessing to others, to help those who don’t have a short-term goal outside of finding a place to sleep or food to eat. Don’t let your short-term goals become an excuse to become short-sighted.

I admit, I’m not the most internationally aware student on this campus. But I know my position in humanity isn’t to sit back and listen to the noise of injustice and destruction of nations. By staying informed on the events, I’m able to formulate opinions and seek out places where my resources can help.

Most importantly, I urge you to not diminish the power of prayer to being the “last resort” in helping those in the Middle East or anywhere else there is conflict. Our God is power, and He is love. Peers, it’s time to start praying like we believe that to be true.

Rebecca Flannery is a senior journalism major from Melissa. She is a staff writer for the Lariat.