New ways of thinking about “Us” 


InterestEng. is host to an International Civics Class called ICE Melt. The students are from Afghanistan, China, South Korea and Ukraine. Their agreed upon focus this year has been thinking through ways to give a home, a real home, to the world’s refugees. The students post weekly comments on a blog and then meet together once a month by Skype. 

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   LAST month the students met by Skype to talk about how to deal with serious crimes committed by refugees. Here are the key ideas from their discussion.

Yuqi: We need to remember that some people come from very simple backgrounds. They need education and help more than punishment.

Frozan: I don’t think refugees who commit serious crimes should be killed or sent back to their original countries. That will not solve the problem. Prison today must be something more than punishment. That has not worked. We need to educate offenders and prepare them to live in the world. We need to give them skills so they can live productively.

Shaiq: We need to find the reason why they were doing bad things. Then we can stop the cause of the bad things.

Yuqi: Well, I think actually that if a new citizen of a country commits a serious crime, he or she should be executed. If the person is not a citizen, he or she should be sent back to their country. If the person doesn’t see the good of his new country, doesn’t see the reason or goals of the country, he should leave.

Andrei: I think that violence should be strongly punished, but not by killing. But I don’t agree that education is the answer. I think it would be a worse punishment not to kill criminals, but to make them work their whole lives to help those they hurt. They must work completely for others and not gain anything themselves. 

Frozan: Refugees should be given responsibilities in their new country. We say a country is like a mother. The children should be responsible and help their mother. 

Shaiq: I would say that only respect can bring us closer. People have to be taught respect from the time they are very little. You don’t have to agree, but you have to respect others. We need to stop the real cause of crime. There are so many bad influences. People around you can influence you to do good or bad. Social media is a really bad influence today and not just young people’s sites. There is also poor news reporting that hurts us all. 

Yuqi: I agree. Today news reports put all the attention on the crime and not on answers. We have to focus on how to make society stronger. And toys are also really violent. Why? We should be showing people good ideas and ways to live better. 

Frozan:  I know lots of people have been hurt by terrorism and mass shooting, but we will never “wash blood with blood”. It causes many people pain to think that someone who killed can be allowed to live in prison, but more killing will never end killing. It is very painful to think someone is allowed to live, but that is the sacrifice this generation has to make so that in the future there will be less killing. Someone has to stop the cycle: killing for killing, hating for hating. We must be willing to make this sacrifice, even if it is painful, and try to change those who have done wrong and teach them to live right. We have a saying, “People are not made of stone. They are human. They can be changed.” 

 ©InterestEng. July 2013  §  The stories in the magazine portion of the site are written by English language learners. Stories are corrected by a native English speaker.  § Photos are staff or used with permission.  §  To contact us:  go.gently.on@gmail.com