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.”

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

A Young Refugee Perspective

This short but powerful clip illustrates the unfortunate truth that generations to come have been scarred by the horrific actions in Syria. The impact of the tragedies in Syria affects international relations for many years to come and the fact is, the United States has to care. The mental health of children refugees needs greater attention in the media than the crimes committed by individual refugees. With the grave injustices experienced by refugees, it is a horror that the population is still painted as undesirable. Looking at the children in this video is a good start to examining the impact of being a refugee and a good way to fully appreciate the resources that need to be made available in resettling refugees.

Miscellaneous

The Importance of Mental Health

Here’s an informational video on the embodiment of trauma that refugees endure. Often times, the media may sensationalize refugee populations to the point where public opinion believes that refugees are barely human. By categorizing refugees into this villain like place, it is easy for the individual experiences of refugees to be completely ignored and overlooked. Therefore, the importance of telling the stories of refugees is crucial so that a population is not minimized. The mental trauma that refugees endure is extreme and highlighted well in this video, we encourage you to watch to gain a fuller understanding of the refugee experience.

Miscellaneous

Refugees Revive Towns

Wow! Think about this the next time you’re eating Chobani yogurt for breakfast.

Many individuals fear that refugees pose a threat as they may refuse to integrate into the American culture. Individuals believe that the refugees will not see the United States president as their president and will not work to help the cities around them. However, this story about Utica illustrates that these beliefs are merely myths and that refugees are hardworking contributors to American society. After all, being a refugee is not easy because the vetting process is enormously grueling and resettling in a new community takes a long time. Refugees do not simply absorb resources but put back into the economy and improve the towns they resettle in and therefore, should be more welcomed.

Miscellaneous

More than a Drain on the Economy

Many individuals argue that refugees pose a threat to the American economy, claiming that they only absorb resources and are not contributors. Watch as this family tells their story about making a living and think about the stimulation they cause in the economy.

Refugees show an incredible amount of resilience and in the face of hardship, find many ways to continue to support their families. Despite facing many barriers to success, this family has managed to grow a business which supports their family and their surrounding community. Many myths are perpetuated in the fear mongering around accepting refugees. Talk of refugees being a drain on U.S. resources is often core to discussion. However, this family demonstrates that refugees do not intend to merely accept help. Refugees look for the structure that they have lost from being displaced and realize that they need to find new ways to subsist. The robust U.S. economy is not just drained from refugees but it is bolstered by their activity in the market.

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.

idlib_attack

(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.