My heart is torn between East and West. I live somewhere between the present and the past. I don't know who I am.

Just another human being biding their time on this earth. Passionate about current affairs, history, politics (particularly MENA region), religion, cute animals and food.

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Posts tagged "refugees"

Awful is an understatement.

Fleeing Syria for their lives


Picture 1: Abdul and his family fled from their apartment in Syria after his wife was shot in the street during cross-fire between armed groups. The most important thing he was able to bring from Syria are the keys to his home that he holds in this photograph. Though he doesn’t know whether the family’s apartment is still standing, he dreams every day of returning home.

Picture 2: Tamara’s home in Syria was partially destroyed in September, and the family decided their best chance of safety was to reach the Syrian-Turkish border. “When we left our house, we felt the sky was raining bullets,” Tamara recalled. “We were moving from one shelter to another in order to protect ourselves.” The most important thing that she was able to bring with her is her diploma. With it she will be able to continue her education in Turkey.

Picture 3: Ahmed, 82, and his wife Fatima, 67, fled from their home in August 2012 after their  neighbour was killed for asking soldiers why they had executed his son. The most important thing Ahmed was able to bring with him from Syria is his wife. “She’s the best woman that I’ve met in my life,” he says. “Even if I were to go back 55 years, I would choose you again.”

Picture 4: Iman, 25, decided to flee with her son and daughter when she heard accounts of sexual harassment against women in her home city in Syria. The most important thing Iman was able to bring with her is the Koran that she holds here. She says religion is the most important aspect of her life, and that the Koran gives her a sense of protection. “As long as I have it with me, I’m connected to God,” she says.

Picture 5: Marwa, 8, and her family arrived in a refugee camp in Iraq by foot. She says she wept as she made the journey through the cold, over a rough trail, as her mother carried her and her baby brother.  She is now attending school and says that she finally feels safe. The most important thing she was able to bring with her when she left are the bracelets she displays in this photograph.

Picture 6: Salma, 24, and her family were forced to flee their home last summer. Confined to a wheelchair and blind in both eyes, she says she was terrified by what was happening around her. Salma says the only important thing that she brought with her “is my soul, nothing more - nothing material”. When asked about her wheelchair, she seemed surprised, saying that she considers it an extension of her body, not an object.

Picture 7: Abdulaziz, 37, fled his home in Syria the night his neighbors were killed. The next day he used the majority of his savings to hire a truck to flee with his wife and his two sons. The most important thing that he was able to bring with him is the instrument he holds here. It is called a buzuq and he says that “playing it fills me with a sense of nostalgia and reminds me of my homeland”.

Picture 8: Hisham, 37, and his family fled Syria early in 2012, paying a smuggler $1,100 to take them across the border. The most important thing Hisham was able to bring with him is the photograph of his wife that he holds here. “This is important,” he says, “because she gave me this photo back home before we were married, during the time when we were dating. It always brings me great memories and reminds me of my happiest time back home in Syria.”

Picture 9: Neda, approximately 100 years old (age between 90 and 107 according to family members), fled from her home last December when the apartments surrounding hers were destroyed. Crossing the border into Iraq was a very difficult process for her, and the journey on foot lasted the better part of a day. The most important thing she was able to bring with her is the ring that she displays here. When she was ten years old, her mother gave it to her from her death bed, saying, “Keep this ring and remember me.”

Picture 10: Mohammed, 70, and his family fled Syria when their family home in Damascus was destroyed by a bomb. They escaped in the back of a truck after covering themselves with plastic sheeting. The most important thing Mohammed was able to bring with him is the cane that he holds in this photograph. He says that without it, he wouldn’t have been able to make the two-hour crossing on foot to the Iraqi border.


More than 600,000 have fled the conflict in Syria and registered as refugees. The number of Syrians who have left without registering is unknown but is likely to be hundreds of thousands.

We do know, however, that children make up around half the number of refugees and that is certainly no way for any child to live their childhood.

What is going to happen and when will a Syrian child be able to simply be a child?

Follow UNICEF’s activites regarding the Syrian crisis here:

These numbers by no means represent the true picture. The numbers you see above in the graphic are of those refugees who were able to register with the UN. Many either don’t have the right paperwork or they refuse to. I know for a fact that refugees in Egypt are 10x more than the number you see in the graphic. They’re also some of the luckiest. Refugees in Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq are living in dismal conditions. Many fled Syria with just the clothes on their backs. Children have had to pay the heaviest price due to lack of resources and supplies which has left them unprepared for the harsh winter months. A large majority also suffer from psychological trauma as a result of witnessing death and the destruction of familiar buildings and neighborhoods that used to signify safety and continuity.  

You don’t have to feel bad for these refugees. Pity and tears will do nothing for them. They need real help on the ground. Please donate and keep them in your thoughts! 

Hand In hand For Syria - Registered non-political UK charity that has verified it’s aid is entering into Syria and helping those most in need.

Syrian Orphans - A collection of Non-Profit Org’s supporting orphans in Syria

Rise 4 Humanity - Dedicated to helping the children of Syria via donations and awareness campaigns 

Humanitarian Relief For Syria - Supports needy families and orphans as well as distributing aid in Syria

Syrian Sunrise Foundation -  Promotes social and economic opportunity and growth in Syria through humanitarian relief efforts.

Syrian Assistance - Independent, Non-Profit Org of volunteers set up to raise money for the basic humanitarian needs in Syria

Medecins Sans Frontieres - The only reputable international org. with doctors and a purpose built medical facility on the ground in Northern Syria.

Syrian Expatriates Organization - Provides various medical, humanitarian and logistical aid across Syria to those that need it the most 

Kahyr Charity Foundation - Saudi based charity that provides food, blankets, monetary support and more for families in Syria 

The Maram Foundation - Supporting Syrian Refugees inside Syria, specifically the Atmeh Camp. 

The Syrian American Alliance - Non-profit organization in the USA that aims to build a new future for a unified, non-sectarian, democratic, and free Syria that respects due process, freedom of expression and human rights. 

(via darksilenceinsuburbia)

Child in camp for Syrian refugees

Not a single Syrian refugee child we met in northern Lebanon was dressed for winter. None had warm coats, or mittens. Some didn’t even have shoes.

Tiny hands were pink with cold in temperatures near zero. Like children anywhere, their hands still stretched out to greet us when we trudged up a hillside in the Bekaa Valley to reach the snowbound concrete blocks they now call home.

When they weren’t laughing, as children do, they were coughing and crying. One little boy in blue pyjamas and sandals gave us a warm smile, through chattering teeth.

It has been the worst of winters for Syrians fleeing the worst of wars. More than 600,000 have already fled into neighbouring countries, including Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan and Iraq.

Many are forced to live in tents or makeshift shelters that provide no refuge from the most severe storms in two decades. One aid worker told us people were “swimming in their tents” as snows melted.

Not a day goes by without someone standing up in some capital to express concern about Syria.

One centre we visited in the Bekaa Valley was distributing vouchers for food and fuel provided by the United Nations and some NGOs. But an urgent appeal for humanitarian aid is only about 25% funded.

In crudely-built refugee homes like the ones we saw, they’re doing battle with metal roofs that leak, blankets for windows that let the wind and cold in, and children getting sick.

"Its shameful to live like this," cried Najoud, a mother of eight, as she she broke down in tears. "We are also God’s creations."

Report by Lyse Doucet, chief international correspondent for the BBC. Follow her on twitter: @bbclysedoucet

Reuters brings us some images of what’s going on at Syria’s border with Lebanon, where refugees fleeing the violence in the former are making their way to the latter.

The first image shows young Syrian refugees near the Lebanese village of al-Mouqaibleh. The second photo is of a mother and child crossing the Lebanese border, on foot, at the village of Wadi Khaled.”

I just got a lot of messages regarding the image I just posted of Fazila. I came across this image whilst browsing online and it was linked to a website called SkateistanSkateistan is Afghanistan’s—and the world’s—first co-educational skateboarding school. Operating as an independent, neutral, Afghan NGO, the school engages growing numbers of urban and internally-displaced youth in Afghanistan through skateboarding, and provides them with new opportunities in cross-cultural interaction, education, and personal empowerment. There are currently two documentaries about Skateistan that have been released. In late 2010 a 9-minute short documentary entitled “Skateistan: To Live and Skate Kabul" was released by director Orlando Von Einsiedel on the internet. In January 2011 a full-length documentary entitled "Skateistan: Four Wheels and a Board in Kabul" premiered at the Santa Barbara film festival in the USA. The full-length was directed by Kai Sehr and will be showing in various festivals worldwide throughout 2011.

The girl in the photograph, Fazila Shirindel is a skate instructors and part of the maintenance crew at Skateistan. She works alongside Faranaz Akram who also holds the same positions as her. Fazila and Faranaz are Afghanistan’s best female skateboarders and the head female skate teachers at the Kabul facility. Fazila is a Skateistan veteran, starting out in 2008 and progressing ever since; she recentely spoke at a human rights forum in front of delegates from all over Afghanistan about the importance of not forgetting that children are the future of the nation. Fazila’s family fled her hometown of Jalalabad in 2001, eventually ending up in Kabul as refugees. She hopes to be the director of Skateistan one day. Faranaz began skating at the indoor facility in early 2010. Aside from skating she likes to paint, especially on skateboards. Both girls are top students in school.     


Today over 1500 dead, over 15000 arrested and over 12000 refugees. 

Although we cannot have a physical presence in Syria, one thing we can do is give monetary support for the refugees that have fled to Turkey. The Turkish Red Crescent are collecting donations in order to support the work they are doing on the Syrian border.

On the *15th of July* join us at Zeytoon, Cricklewood, for an evening of food, fund raising and auctioning.

Tickets are priced at £30 for adults and £20 for children (aged 5-10) and can be bought in the following ways:

1. For online payment: http://syrianfundraisingdi 
2. Alternatively you call collect tickets from Willesden Green by calling one of the following organisers:
Farah (07904 285172), Bushra (07818 025740), Wafa (07951 182229), Essam (07931687443) or Razan (07702156906).

Advanced bookings only. No tickets available on the night. 

Please guys if you live in London and are free on the 15th of July, then please buy a ticket to support the Syrian refugees in Turkey who are living under extremely dire conditions and who are desperately in need of your help. You can do something about the situation in Syria, you can make a difference, even if you can’t buy a ticket or you won’t be able to make it then reblog this and spread the word about the event! 

It is the greatest of all mistakes to do nothing because you can only do little - do what you can."  Sydney Smith

(via nervouspills-deactivated2012011)


Tunisia 2011: Libyan refugee school.