Opinion | Refugees’ Trauma, and Saving Migrant Children

More from our inbox:

To the Editor:

Re “Trading Fear at Home for Misery on America’s Doorstep” (news article, Oct. 24):

I read with interest about the horrific tragedies that caused some Central American refugee families to seek asylum in the United States: For most displaced families, trauma has a long afterlife, creating long-lasting harm for survivors and their offspring. And experiences during their protracted journey for asylum can be more detrimental to refugees’ mental health than the traumatic events that forced their leaving.

Besides the United States’ international legal obligation to adhere to the 1951 Refugee Convention, it needs to be farsighted and informed in its approach to the world’s most vulnerable by doing its utmost to reduce refugee families’ exposure to trauma to enable their integration when they resettle in their future host societies.

Creating safety for refugee families should be both humanitarian and strategic priorities for all societies.

Shaifali Sandhya
Chicago
The writer is a psychologist investigating trauma in refugees from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan who are seeking resettlement in Germany.

To the Editor:

So many people wonder, Who would send a child, unaccompanied, on a journey to another country? Possibly someone who thinks that it’s a chance for a normal life for a child. It happened in World War II.

Many Jewish children were sent to different countries, by their parents, to save them from near-certain death. Yes, it was usually through an agency whose purpose was to install the children in safe places.

So let’s get those kinds of agencies going in the unsafe regions of Central America from which the children are fleeing.

Helene R. Spierman
Valley Stream, N.Y.

Boris Johnson Learned From Covid, Unlike Trump

To the Editor:

Re “Johnson Faces Ire From All Sides on New Limits” (news article, Nov. 3):

Nothing better illustrates the difference between Boris Johnson, prime minister of Britain, and our president, both of whom have recovered from Covid-19. Only one seems to have learned from it and exhibits the responsibility that comes with leadership.

Mr. Johnson is shutting down his country to save his citizens, while President Trump muses about firing Dr. Anthony Fauci, a voice of sanity during this epidemic, while our cases and deaths continue to escalate.

Helene Berinsky
Wakefield, R.I.

Help Your Local Bookstore Survive

To the Editor:

Re “Your Local Bookstore Wants You to Know That It’s Struggling” (Business, Oct. 20):

As we continue to live through the Covid-19 era, each day makes us further realize the extent of the pandemic’s effects. Businesses continue to close, people continue to lose jobs and economies continue to face more financial difficulties. Sadly, the written word is no exception.

With the current business restrictions and customers’ preference for online platforms, independent book sellers are facing their own set of challenges. Each day brings a new wave of uncertainty, and most of these establishments are barely able to keep their heads above water.

With everything that’s happening, we need to remind ourselves that we are not alone in enduring the pandemic. We need to remind ourselves to take a look around our own community and see if maybe, just maybe, there is anything we can do to make a difference.

For instance, consider visiting your local bookstore when you shop for stocking stuffers for the holidays. For an early holiday or birthday present, pick a great page-turner for your mom, your friend or even yourself. As in the words of Jane Goodall, “What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”

Megan Esguerra
Elk Grove, Calif.

The Perils of a Kiss

To the Editor:

Re “Dating Means Fear. Again” (Op-Ed, nytimes.com, Oct. 18):

Kissing in 2020 is what unprotected sex was during the AIDS epidemic — an act of passion that could put one’s life at risk. In Steven Petrow’s moving essay, he superbly illustrates the challenges of dating during a pandemic.

A friend told me about a fun first date she went on recently, and how at the end of the brunch, the man asked if he could kiss her. I said, “So, did you kiss him?” She said: “No! Are you crazy? I’m not risking my life just ’cause he bought me an omelet.”

As I laughed, all I could think about was how lucky I am to be married and have someone to kiss without reservation. And to know that if my wife rejects my advances, it’s because she’s mad at me, my breath stinks or both. But never because she fears for her health.

Andrew Ginsburg
Southport, Conn.

Source: Read Full Article