George R.R. Martin's Comments on Syrian Refugees are Causing Controversy

November 22nd 2015

The author of the popular 'Game of Thrones’ series recently spoke out in support of Syrian refugees in an online post.

George R.R. Martin wrote on his Livejournal account on Nov. 20 that the U.S. is a place where people deserve to find asylum and build a better life for themselves, and that the nation's leadership needs to recognize that.

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George R.R. Martin Livejournal on refugeesLivejournal - livejournal.com

He quotes ‘The New Colossus,’ the poem inscribed at the base of the Statute of Liberty in New York City:

"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.”

“For me, Lady Liberty and the words on her base represent the best of what this nation of immigrants is all about,” Martin wrote.

He also notes that the statue was given to the U.S. by France, one of the country's oldest allies and friends.

"A bit of history that seems especially important just now, in light of the recent horrors in Paris," Martin noted.

Not ever "Thrones" fan agreed with Martin.

But not all of Martin's fans agree. The top comment criticizes Martin for taking a simplistic view:

... 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. Surprised and disappointed.


Martin's comments come amidst widespread backlash against governors who have publicly spoken out to denounce the relocation of Syrian refugees in the U.S. Other countries, including France, have also agreed to accept more refugees.

refugee-child-wavingAP Photo/Ulrik Pedersen - apimages.com

“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.”

Susana Martinez (R) is the governor of New Mexico where Martin lives, and she is opposed to President Barack Obama’s plan to accept and relocate Syrian refugees in the U.S., according to KOAT7, an ABC affiliate station. She says she wants a more clear plan to place and vet the refugees before accepting anymore of them.

Martinez is one of 31 governors nationwide who say they oppose accepting Syrian refugees in their states. Republican front-runner Donald Trump has also said he would not welcome refugees, reasoning that "they could be ISIS."


Martin does not agree, identifying the refugees as victims who deserve help and understanding as they flee conflict regions.

“Donald Trump and thirty-one governors have it wrong, wrong, wrong,” Martin concluded. “The Syrian refugees are as much victims of ISIS as the dead in France. Let them in.”

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