George R.R. Martin: "Syrian Refugees Are as Much Victims of ISIS as the Dead in France"

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George R.R. Martin

The 'Game of Thrones' author says America should welcome the Syrian refugees.

George R.R. Martin shared his position on the Syrian refugee crisis with a post on his LiveJournal.

The Game of Thrones author published Emma Lazarus' poem "The New Colossus," which is engraved on a bronze plaque at the base of the Statue of Liberty. Martin wrote, "For me, Lady Liberty and the words on her base represent the best of what this nation of immigrants is all about."

"One has to wonder if all the governors (including our own governor here in New Mexico, I am ashamed to say) and congressmen voting to keep out the Syrian refugees have ever visited the Statue, or read the words on her base," wrote Martin. "If so, they surely failed to understand them."

He then highlighted lines from the poem including "from her beacon-hand, Glows world-wide welcome" and "a mighty woman with a torch [...] her name Mother of Exiles." Martin said that "Emma Lazarus had it right. Donald Trump and thirty-one governors have it wrong, wrong, wrong," referring to the politicians who are against letting Syrian refugees resettle in their states.

"The Syrian refugees are as much victims of ISIS as the dead in France," said Martin. "Let them in. Santa Fe, at least, will welcome them."

The writer went on to engage with people who disagreed with him in the comments. One commenter said he was "surprised and disappointed." He said Martin is "so good at teasing out the moral complexity of complicated situations in his books" but accused him of having "such a simplistic view of a real world issue, where real lives are at steak. [sic]"

"Real lives are at stake," responded Martin. "The lives of hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees driven from their homes by war. Many of them women and children. That's the whole point. There's a moral imperative here."

In response to someone who said "the words on the Statue of Liberty were written before we had a welfare state," Martin replied:

"History has demonstrated many times that immigrants revitalize a society, and create much more than they take. The sort of 'they are just a bunch of lazy leeches' sentiment you are expressing here was also directed at the Irish, the Italians, the Germans, the Polish, the Chinese, and many other immigrant groups in the past, all of whom over time have vastly enriched the culture of America. I have no doubt that the same will prove true of the Syrians."