Refugee Referee: A crisis with no end in sight

Syrian refugees are a part of the 10.6 million refugees worldwide forced to flee their homes as a result of conditions in their country. The current number of Syrian refugees who have sought asylum in other countries totals 4.3 million (UNDP). This movement has been the greatest migration of people on the European continent since World War II.

Following the 2011 Arab Spring protests and the resulting violent civil war that followed, there has been an estimated 9 million Syrians who have been forced to flee their dwellings. Nearly half of these displaced civilians are still stuck inside the country, while the other half have been able to relocate to different nations. However, even those who have successfully made it into other countries are not guaranteed favorable conditions. For instance, those migrants who have been found attempting to enter nations without allowance are often placed in refugee camps that consist of mere tents and sparse food and water.

The cooperation of everyone in the international community to  accept and assist refugees can help to reduce the number of people living in these conditions. However, the economic and increasingly political repercussions of accepting Syrian refugees has recently made this conflict incredibly polarizing. The expected economic burden of taking in thousands of refugees is overwhelming and the recent terror attacks in Paris that were carried out by the Islamic extremist group ISIS have made the Syrian refugee crisis even more controversial.

Using the hashtag refugee crisis (#refugeecrisis) to filter through Twitter posts on the subject, I was able to pull some examples of just how divided the international community is on the topic of whether to accept Syrian refugees into their nations or not.

Mr. Tsipras (above) advocates for the acceptance of Syrian refugees from all nations, especially those in the EU because of the international ramifications if the refugees are turned away. While Dr. Bloem (below) suggests that the economic burden involved with accepting refugees will derail international development aids like eradicating extreme poverty by 2030.

Mr. Singh (below) touches on the same humanitarian beliefs as Tsipras in his rebuttal of the opposition’s suggestion that Syrians should not come to their countries.


The tweet from Mr. Bear (above) shows a response to the Paris attacks that lacks the fear of expected terrorist attacks from refugees that a lot of U.S. citizens had. This response directly opposes that of Mr. Gowdy and Mr. Rath whose tweets are displayed below. They make the claim that refugees will bring more harm and death to domestic civilians. They suggest that it is not worth it to invite these people into their country if there is even the slightest chance of danger.

Mr. Ferencz’ tweet below opposes the view of Rath and Gowdy, as he believes that one cannot equate being a Muslim to being a terrorist, and therefore one cannot assume all Muslim refugees will commit acts of terror or violence.

The following tweets from Wulalowe and Aaron Quantz (below) touch on how past history should inform our handling with Syrian refugees. More specifically, they touch on WWII and how denying to help refugees is very similar to the poor treatment of Jewish people during and after World War II.


While the tweets above reference history from a few decades ago, the posts from Mr. Capps and AgriTech reflect the hesitancy from lawmakers and citizens to accept Syrian refugees following recent history, more specifically the Paris terror attacks. Capps points out that the majority of U.S. governors oppose refugee admittance, while AgriTech released a story that contributes to the overall reason for the widespread fear of accepting Syrian refugees, which is the possibility that they will commit acts of terror in the nations they relocate to.


Works Cited

king of rap&roll


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Introducing Mr. Elvinem #elvis #eminem

For my viral post, I wanted to create something original that would connect with as many people as possible. I also wanted them to be so engaged with the post that they felt compelled to like and share it.

With this logic in mind, my first thought went to celebrity memes. These people and their likeness seem to go viral almost weekly and I thought it would give my work the best chance of doing so as well. (i.e. Drake’s Hotline Bling, Beyoncé’s Super Bowl face, Tina Fey’s child running, etc.)

The connections and reach of celebrities seems to invite viral posts. Their large-scale audience also presents a more defined route of success for ordinary people, like myself, to create highly engaging and viral content. So my final product affectionately known as Elvinem or the king of rap&roll was born. Eminem is an absolute lightening rod for controversy, and for this he has always been able to garner massive amounts of attention as an artist, father, and businessman. He is smart enough to know that more eyeballs on him equals more lucrative and marketable ventures for his brand. This is important to my project because given his constant media attention I can only assume that my content will be evergreen in nature, or make sense for years to come. I already know that Elvis content is evergreen and will be understood for decades to come because of his continued resonance power fifty years since his passing.

Giving my post the best chance for long term relevance will allow the content the greatest chance to have a life of its own and retain its meaning years after its creation. So, it was my intention to ride on Eminem and Mr. Presley’s coattails and more specifically play off of Kanye’s reputation of braggadocio in my image. Eminem has famously labeled himself a rap god, so morphing his image with the king of pop seemed to match his persona. Also, choosing a funny head shot of Mr. Mathers gives the audience the permission to find the picture funny and to not take it too seriously. The point of this post is to make people laugh and I wanted to make that abundantly clear in my creation of the mash-up. I also consciously chose to use a very memorable image of Elvis Presley because I wanted to make sure that the audience could recognize him without his face or name put anywhere. That is also why the caption references Elvis’ nickname as the “king of rock&roll” just to reinforce his presence in the mash-up.

Mash-ups have previously been effective on various occasions. An example of a successful mash-up is the photo of Kevin hart and Shaquille O’Neal with switched faces. The mash-up struck a chord with consumers because it was so creative and jarring, but also had enough familiarity that audiences felt “in” on the joke. It was like making a joke about two of your friends. Everyone knows Kevin Hart and Shaq, so the ribbing seemed like another way for people to connect with them personally by sharing jokes, albeit at their expense. It is my hope that Elvinem (my post) will strike a similar chord with audiences. Due to the relative global recognition of these figures, I can only hope that the joke at their expense will result in a highly engaging piece of content.