Everyone is aware of the massive number of refugees arriving in Europe. These people have left their countries, families and homes. They come only with what they can carry. Many traveled great distances and sometimes in very dangerous circumstances. Many have died trying to reach Europe. Once in Europe, they are still encountering tremendous obstacles. Some countries are not accepting any refugees or will not even allow them to travel through. A few countries are welcoming them.

Many European countries are in great financial difficulty and are having trouble taking care of their own citizens. Their reluctance is understandable. But this humanitarian crisis is not only a problem for the countries of Europe, but for the entire world.

It is every person’s responsibility to help in this crisis. Some people are volunteering to go there and help. Others are sending money to the charities there, but everyone must do something. We must not say that this is a problem for governments. This is our problem.

In fact, I do not believe this a problem at all but a great opportunity to help those in need. The places where these people are welcomed will have loyal citizens and people willing to work. The United States has spent millions of dollars to train Syrian fighters and so far very few have been trained. How many refugees could have been resettled with that money? How many friends to the United States would we have made?

What better way to fight the Islamic State group than to show the world that we take care of the poor and displaced? If we take care of these people, who is the better choice for people in the Middle East, us or Islamic State? If we do what we preach, there would be no choice.

I live in New Orleans. My family was here for Katrina. We were taken in by a family in Houston, and I will be forever grateful to the people of Houston.

This will be true of the refugees, as well. I understand what it means to rely on the kindness of others. I hope no one has to experience that, but I think our response to this crisis would be better if more of my countrymen had. We are a country of immigrants. We should understand the refugees’ plight better than the people of Europe.

This is not to say that this can be done without sacrifice. But a little sacrifice from everyone can make a big difference.

Wallace Jeanfreau

physician

New Orleans