The Criterion

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Refugee Children fall into Sudden Comas After Receiving Terrible News

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Many people in the Western world almost certainly could not perceive filling bags with only the essentials and whatever small things they could carry, and leaving to go to a random new location. But I’m going to ask you to imagine this scenario for a moment: not only do you have to pack up everything you can carry and leave your home, but you have to leave immediately, because the sound of gunshots has been roaring on in the distance for says now. One day you leave, quickly, because if you dallied you might not live to see tomorrow. You go to a refugee camp, and there you stay for months, or even years. You and your family see you country, your homes, your lives, torn apart right in front of you. After all this trauma however, you receive a beacon of hope. Your family has been chosen to be transferred to a foreign country, where you can live in safety from the disaster in your homeland. You go, and you live there for months, and then years. You learn the language, you accept the culture, and you finally feel a little bit of normalcy in your life. Then, your family receives a letter. You’re being deported. You have to go back. Back to the horrors you escaped. You close your eyes the next night, and you never open them again.

Uppgivenhetssyndrom. It’s a mouth full, but it is a terrible affliction that many refugee children find themselves facing today. The syndrome (which for simplicity’s sake is what we will be referring to it as) is found only in Sweden, and furthermore, only in refugee children who currently live in Sweden. The Scandinavian country has in recent history been known for its generosity and overall kindness to foreigners. After the conflicts in Iraq and the Syrian Civil War erupted, Sweden was one of several European nations to accept tens of thousands of refugees from those affected areas. However, starting in mid-2016, the mindset of Swedish politicians changed, and now the nation has toughened its stance on accepted and continuing to provide asylum for refugees.

With these new restrictions, many refugee families already in Sweden have received notices of deportation. The Swedish government wants to send many of these families back to their war torn homelands. This is where the children come in. After all the emotional and physical trauma they’ve gone through, the idea of leaving Sweden is too much for many refugee children. They fall into what is most easily described as a coma-like state, usually with a few hours or days of receiving the news. A prime example of the syndrome at work are two refugee sisters from Kosovo. The older sister fell into this coma within a day of getting the news, the younger sister has only been in this state for a few months. They are alive, but completely unresponsive, and doctors don’t know what could cause such a thing to take place. The most common theory is that this is a side effect to the extreme depression that many of these children face when they find out they are being deported.

The Swedish government, has decided that any family with a child suffering from  the syndrome will be allowed to stay in the country, and it is known that kids who go to school with or know  someone with the syndrome are more likely to get it themselves. That is not to say however, that these children are faking the coma just to stay in Sweden. Children do come out of the syndrome after they are told in their coma that they are no longer being deported, but it takes days or weeks or even years. The older sister from Kosovo for example; she has been in the coma for over two years, and although her family was officially told they could stay months ago, she has still not waken up.

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The student news site of Bridgeport Central High School
Dead to the World