Imagine, though, that you are one of the lucky ones, and you escape before the king or The Students can get you. You go to a country next door.
Iran is a country where, mercifully, everyone is the same religion as you -- Shia. You think you will be welcomed there. There, you are still an ethnic minority, but you are no longer a religious one.
Then there is a revolution, and then a war, and then the ending of a war. People emerge from the tumult and remember that their economy is not very good. There are sanctions. And your people, the different-lookers, are the target of most of the rage. There are not enough jobs for everyone, so why should your people get to take them?
You are not the only immigrants, but you are immigrants people can see are immigrants just by looking. In your country of refuge, you are now an enemy of the people.
You must leave again.
Some of you go to Iraq. There, Shias are not in power, but at least there are many of them. Plus, there are important Shia sites in Iraq, so while you feel physically alien, you can make-believe you are spiritually home. Iraq has a powerful and fearsome dictator, but no matter; you are safe.
Until you are no longer safe. The dictator embarks on a foolish war and becomes an enemy of peace, a cancer in the region. Iraq is a pariah state and its dictator a paranoid man who fears that those who aren't like him will soon betray him. He hates Iran, and knows your people were there. And even though you were driven from Iran, you are spying for them, the dictator thinks.
You must leave again.
In Syria the situation is reversed -- there are far more Sunnis than Shias, but the Alawites, a kind of Shia, are in power.
You find homes near a shrine, and you settle again. Finally you are safe and free, even though you are four countries from your own and have no papers so you cannot leave.
Then a popular uprising envelops the region and the president of this new land watches heads of state fall all around him. He resolves to stay. He cracks down on those opposing him; he is merciless and decisive. He is killing militants and people suspected of being militants. Soon he is killing so many civilians it is hard to believe he is not killing civilians on purpose.
It is a terrible thing you are seeing, but that's not the worst of it. The worst of it is that the president doing all this killing belongs to your religion. The people dying are the Sunnis.
The Sunnis are angry, traumatized, and full of fire. They have seen the bodies of their loved ones broke open, and when they look up from the carnage, they see you, the different-lookers. The people who believe like he believes, the man behind the slaughter.
The victims think: You like this evil man. His family let you live in this country, so surely, you are helping him. You are providing him information. Or maybe you're not now, but soon you will. And so some of the victims arrive at your doorstep to drive you from your home.