Miscellaneous

Chopped Heads and Army Tanks

[Some] children who’ve recently arrived in Lebanon from Syria very quickly begin to draw images of chopped heads and the army tanks coming closer – very graphic images for a child to have seen…

Having only witnessed war through the power of the internet, I consider myself quite lucky to be where I sit.  Unfortunately, the luck of the draw was not so kind to the innocent children currently smack dab in the middle of a civil war.

So how are these children dealing with the trauma of witnessing terrible acts of war?  One strategy that has been adopted and carried out by some incredible folks in Lebanon is art therapy.  Art therapists have found an effective tool in their arsenal to help children combat the dramatic after effects that have resulted from witnessing and experiencing these traumatic events.

Art therapist Dania Fawaz tells Al Jazeera,

“A lot of children, especially the younger ones, haven’t developed the verbal skills they need to describe such horrific events, especially if you’re speaking about war. Art is a less directive and more natural tool for children to express themselves.

colorphoto(Dania Fawaz)

One 12 year old boy; who had the horrible luck of living under ISIS, expressed himself by drawing images of the war.  This was normal in the beginning and as the time passed, the drawings had contained much less gore, and more happier memories of friends and family.

Founder and director Myra Saad of Artichoke Studio in Beirut has set her sights on a primary goal:  let the kids be kids again.  Through art therapy, the children can slowly open up to the adults at their own pace, through the power of the pencil.  In this case, the pen(cil) is mightier than the sword.

“No matter how long the treatment, Saad said, it is important to leave patients with a message of hope.

Fawaz sees forward progress being made with her art therapy and the world is that much of a better place to be with these folks here.

“…[Others] have lived through a lot and all they want to draw is rainbows and flowers, and this is what they need.”

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Miscellaneous

PTSD and Refugees

According to the National Center for PTSD, refugees suffer from the same ailments our soldiers experience while on active-duty.

“Prior to flight, individuals who become refugees may face a wide variety of traumatic events. They may witness fighting and destruction, observe violent acts perpetrated against loved ones, or be subjected to or witness sexual violence”

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Certainly the travel to a new world is enough for most to be exhausted when that travel could be your least of worries.  For more information on common links between refugees and PTSD, click on this link and come back this week for our final graded submissions to the blog.

Miscellaneous

More refugees to come?

As many of you all have heard, President Trump had ordered a military strike on a Syrian airfield where it is said missiles filled with sarin gas were launched and used to attack civilians in the city of Idlib.

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(CNN.com)

In the midst of a refugee crisis and an ongoing civil war, could the situation escalate to a point where the president would have a change of heart and now accept refugees fleeing the war torn country of Syria?

I would think we would all not push for more war, as so many innocent civilians have been paying the ultimate price.  But this can put the president in a sticky situation.  If he escalates the crisis in Syria, is he now obligated to help the innocent fleeing the country?

Let us know what you think in the comments section.

Miscellaneous

A Syrian Family in the US

Take a look at this short video about one family’s adaption to the United States.

After having to leave Syria in 2012, they then moved to Jordan. Unfortunately, refugees are not allowed to work in Jordan and so they were losing money fast.

Then they learned that they were being resettle to the US in Rockford, Illinois. After an extensive two year process, they were finally able to come to the US. The family was overjoyed being as none of them have ever been to the United States before. “We hope that we do not disappoint you.” they said referring to Americans.

Although there have been difficulties adapting to life in the US such as transportation, language, shopping and learning how to use their appliances the family is doing well. All the children are in school, the whole family is learning English and the father Mufak, will soon have a job.

There is no reason to believe that refugees and Americans cannot live in harmony. Culture is not something that is set in stone. As can be seen with this family it is possible for refugees to learn and adapt to our lifestyle and in turn we could learn from them as well. Too often are refugees seen as threats when in reality most are families just like ours trying to live the happiest and safest lives they can.

One of the family members said that what he loved most about being in America is our laws. He loved the freedom and he loved the ability to be protected by our laws. It is things like this that we tend to take for granted. We forget that there are people that cannot do virtually whatever they would like as we can.

It is important to remember that there are families like this one out there that need our help. We should be providing assistance and love to them, what they are doing is not easy.

At the end of the video the narrator days “We contain multitudes which has always strengthened us.” This quotes reminds me of our country’s motto e pluribus unum or out of many, one. We are stronger and better when we join forces, there is no reason to deny people that want to join our country the ability to do so.

Miscellaneous

The Moral Dilemma

While there is no legal obligation for a country to accept refugees, some might argue that there is a moral one. In general terms people should feel morally obligated to help others in need so why should the situation with refugees be any different?

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When news outlets discuss refugees they tend to speak of their admittance into our country solely on the basis of national security. “Is it safe for our citizens if we let all these foreigners into the United States?” Rarely is the safety of the refugees questioned.

In an article written by a professor at Northeastern University, the discussion of the moral obligations to help refugees is discussed. The initial cause for the moral obligation to help refugees is in the knowledge that if they are not helped there is a large reason to believe that they will be killed.

The unfortunate reality is, this fact has not persuaded people that there is a real need to assistance. Instead, large Western countries will help to implement refugee camps in other countries or plan resettlements as long as it is not in their own country. The author of the article Serena Parekh mentions how these refugee camps are doing no good for the people that are supposedly seeking refuge in them.

Indeed, the situation is so bad in Jordan that people are choosing to return home to Syria rather than remain there. – Parekh

Refugees are choosing to live in a constant fear of death and violence rather than face what is supposed to be a safer place. The resources that the countries willing to host refugees have are no better than what the refugees already have access to. These countries that are primarily in the Global South need help on their own and require even more support to help the extra people that they are trying to help.

If the stronger Western countries were open to accepting more refugees themselves rather just providing resources, it would cut out the middle man and help even more people in need of assistance.

Miscellaneous

Comparing Refugee Policy

With only about a week into his presidency President Trump implemented these policies on refugees. He justified his executive order by stating that former President Barack Obama had done the same thing back in 2011.

“My policy is similar to what President Obama did in 2011 when he banned visas for refugees from Iraq for six months.”

In an article from The Washington Post, titled Trump’s facile claim that his refugee policy is similar to Obama’s in 2011 journalist Glenn Kessler looks at the truth behind this comparison.

first and foremost, President Obama did not in fact stop admission of Iraqi refugees into the United States. The admission process was simply delayed as a result of a more intense vetting process. Additionally, the more intense vetting process was adopted as a response to the arrest of two Iraqis in Kentucky.

President Obama was responding to a known threat to the nation’s national security. After an incident had occurred, the original vetting process was simply modified in order to prevent what had happened from happening again. The current ban is not in relation to any specific event or clear fact.

Next, it was never said that the Obama administration was stopping visa applications completely, just that it would be slowed. Even still, these delays were slight and went generally unnoticed to the public.

Finally, the 2011 situation did not prevent all citizens from Iraq from entering the United States–including green-card holders. There is no evidence that there was a clear halt to the admission of people from Iraq from entering the US.

In a test Kessler calls the Pinocchio test, Trump’s travel ban received three Pinocchio’s for these reasons. From this article it can be seen that Trump is having trouble justifying what he has done through the executive order. All he is trying to do is fast-track his claim that he will rid the nation of muslim terrorists, however this policy does no such thing.