“Game of Thrones” series writer George R.R. Martin took time off finishing his latest novel “Words of Winter” to write a post on his LiveJournal in favour of letting in Syrian refugees to the United States.
“Donald Trump and thirty-one governors have it wrong, wrong, wrong,” Martin writes in his post, which now has nearly 300 comments. “The Syrian refugees are as much victims of ISIS as the dead in France.”
The post comes after leaders from Texas, South Carolina, Michigan, Indiana, and others demanded the Obama administration suspend plans to resettle Syrian refugees in their states, with some going as far as to say they would independently block the resettlement.
In his post, Martin prominently references the poem “The New Colossus” by Emma Lazarus that’s printed on the base of the Statue of Liberty. He said the statue, which was given to the United States by France, is an important symbol, especially given the recent terrorist attacks in France.
Here’s the poem in full, originally created to support the initial fundraising to get the statue erected:
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbour that twin cities frame.
“Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
Martin called out specifically the line “her beacon hand, glows world-wide welcome” and wondered if the governors and congressmen speaking out against taking in the refugees had read what’s at the base of the statue.
“For me, Lady Liberty and the words on her base represent the best of what this nation of immigrants is all about,” Martin wrote. “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. If so, they surely failed to understand them.”
While many people on Twitter are congratulating Martin for his views, some of his LiveJournal commenters are less than thrilled.
“The words on the Statue of Liberty were written before we had a welfare state,” one commenter wrote. “If you want them so much, why don’t you let them stay at your house and you can pay for their medical bills. I’m sure you can afford it.”
“Surprised that a writer so good at teasing out the moral complexity of complicated situations in his books has such a simplistic view of a real world issue, where real lives are at steak [sic],” another person said. “Surprised and disappointed.”
Martin responded to some of these comments, arguing, “Real lives are at stake. 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.”
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