Many of you know that our brother/brother-in-law has served with several different humanitarian organizations helping those impacted by the Syrian war. He has been working in the region for the past 4+ years with time in Syria, Turkey and Lebanon – where he currently works and lives with his wife (also working in humanitarian relief).
I reached out to him to ask a few questions ahead of hosting Syrian violinist and peace activist Mariela Shaker (amazing evening Saturday if you missed it!). The questions with his responses are below (he asks that you read them as non-cynically as possible), and will hopefully shed some helpful light on the situation from his first-person viewpoint and encourage us all to see how we can be involved in helping from back home. If you’re wondering how to use your own voice to advocate, check out a few of the resources after the interview questions.
Question: If American’s could know/learn/understand one main thing from what has happened in Syria since 2011-2, what would that be?
Question: What is one or two things that we can do today, on this side of the planet, as individuals that will have a positive impact on the continuing crisis in/around Syria?
Question: What do you think America is actually doing well in the context of world politics/policies today?
Arsal Refugee Camp in northern Lebanon. Copyright Benoit Chattaway.
Last Question: Do you have any other insights/stats/information that would help us begin to grasp the daily realities of IDPs (internally displaced persons) or Syrians within Syria?
Some Ideas of how to Get Involved
Empowerment often starts with education. Wondering just what US policy is towards refugees for 2018? Here’s a summarized document prepared for congress that shows how detailed and fully vetted the process will be in 2018. Curious how 2018 figures compare with prior years for US refugees? It’s striking and outlined here by the Pew Research Center.
Wondering how YOU can be an advocate for refugees? We’ve put together a few resources to point you in the right direction as there are many opportunities! We Welcome Refugees is a great place to start. If you are a person of faith, check out their “Seeking Refuge: God’s Heart for Refugees” 7-day devotional.
Another idea of how to take action is by reading and signing this petition created by the United Nations Refugee Agency to encourage decision makers around the world to act in 2018 with solidarity and shared responsibility.
Have other resources and ideas to share – please do in the comments below. Thank you.
Colin & Emily