Circumvent the unfolding humanitarian horror entirely by imagining these 100 percent hypothetical scenarios!
1. They could return to Aleppo and win a raffle there: If the thought of a displaced Syrian mother and her child being denied entry to the United States after waiting on a list for years is too depressing to bear, you can always consider how it’s entirely possible that once they are forced to return to the nightmare of Aleppo, she will enter her name into a raffle and win big! The prize could be anything! It could be a free gallon of orange juice, or it could be a motorcycle! Winning a raffle is an amazing feeling, and it’s a good thing to imagine happening to a Syrian refugee instead of dwelling on how she is stuck in a place where the government has used chemical weapons on its own citizens.
2. They could go to the beach and learn to surf: No need to overthink this one. This is exactly the sort of sheer feel-good fantasy you can delude yourself into thinking is likely for the hundreds of thousands of refugees denied entry to the U.S. during Trump’s term in office. The refugees could go to the beach, have a fun day in the surf, and by dusk, they could be hanging ten like pros. Best part? You didn’t think of Russian planes targeting civilians in Syria even once.
3. They could find a duffel bag full of cash and strike it rich: Look, nobody likes staring down the grimmest realities of man’s inhumanity. It’s perfectly understandable you’d want to console yourself by imagining a refugee coming back to the store he was forced to shutter to pay his way out of his country, only to discover that some big-time bank robbers stashed a duffel overflowing with ill-gotten gains in his vacant storefront. Let the image of a man who has seen his brother and father executed in front of his eyes being barred from his U.S.-bound flight at Baghdad International fade from your mind, and focus on that life-changing cash he could find! That won’t happen, obviously, but at least you don’t have to reckon with how your government condemned him in your name!
4. They could double down on their dreams of pursuing Olympic glory: Everyone loves it when underdogs from a nation with an ongoing genocide overcome their hardships to win gold on the global stage—and maybe that’s a thing that will happen to all the refugees we’re turning away instead of them dying! Don’t get us wrong, there is a very high chance they will be killed, and their blood will be on the hands of voters and elected politicians. But don’t let that eat at your conscience. Just imagine these determined refugees doing pull-ups on the cannons of burned-out tanks, getting in tip-top shape for the 2020 Tokyo games!
5. Maybe the country they’re being sent back to will sort of figure all its shit out by the time they land: Hey, the flight’s long. Long enough for the decades-long conflict that displaced these refugees in the first place to get sorted out by the time they land? No fucking way! They’ll definitely be returning to an active war zone with brutal sectarian violence. It’s nice to imagine though! Definitely makes it easier to stomach.