Chelsea Handler's Emotional Interview With A Refugee Dad Is Something Every Parent Should See

"The war started and everything fell apart."

Chelsea Handler first made a name for herself as a brash stand-up comedian and then as the unfiltered late night talk show host of E!'s Chelsea Lately, but with her latest show, Netflix's Chelsea, she's made a concerted effort to raise awareness about weightier worldwide social and political issues.

A portion of the June 16 episode of Chelsea, which is now in its second season, featured the 42-year-old sitting down with a group of refugees from various countries around the world. For the segment, she visited the London offices of Migrants Organise — an organization which helps refugees and asylum seekers in part by changing the public perception of who they are.

In the clip below, Handler talks to a Syrian refugee named Bashar, who left Syria for Turkey after the war began, and then walked for seven and a half hours from Turkey to Bulgaria with his two daughters on his back.

Though Bashar was granted refugee status in Bulgaria, he was forced to leave that country when doctors refused to treat his youngest daughter's rare medical condition. 

"My wife died in Syria before I left. A handmade shell hit our home, and she was at home," he tells Handler, who has tears in her eyes. 


He goes onto explain all he had before the war, and how everything was taken from him so quickly. "Before the war I used to have my own place, I had my own car, I [was] an accountant, and life was good. Then the war started and everything fell apart," he says as his voice breaks.

When Handler asks Bashar how it feels to hear people label Syrians as terrorists, he explains, "They have this thought that any asylum seeker or refugee have to be like, don't speak English, have to be stupid, they don't walk, they don't do anything, they're just like, 'Bad people are coming to our country,' which is the other way around."

According to a 2015 Pew Research Center survey, Americans have a polarized response to the Syrian refugee crisis. The survey shows that by a narrow margin of 51 to 45 percent, the public approved of the Obama administration's decision to accept more refugees. Democrats favored this move by 69 to 29 percent, while Republicans opposed it by a similar margin of 67 to 30 percent.

The rise of populist rhetoric in recent years has only made things increasingly difficult for refugees and asylum seekers, and the current administration wishes to drastically reduce the number of refugees America will accept. In contrast, countries like Canada have a much more open approach to the refugee crisis.

As for Bashar? He and his daughters (one of whom was near death when she arrived in England) are happy to have found their new home, regardless of how long the formal process takes. "They want me to wait 10 years?" he asks. "After all that, I'll wait 10 years. I'm not going anywhere."


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