Syrian and Palestinian refugees can be helped by better representation on TV and in film

Activism
on 31 Comments

As Syrians go West, they are met with the anxiety of many who may have only met them before through negative media portrayal.

The first wave of Arab and Muslim immigration to the U.S. and Europe was via slavery. The first recorded Arabic speaker to come to North America was called Zammouri, which in Arabic means someone from Al-Zammour, Morocco. Zammouri arrived in America in the 1500s, and he came as a slave to the Spanish.

Despite centuries in the U.S., Arabs and Muslims are outsiders in most of our cultural landscape, including film and TV. American media is loaded with ‘star attachments,’ known celebrity actors which make investments more secure in the eyes of film financiers. There are very few ‘star’ Arab and Muslim American actors. That is indicative of the problem point blank. Arab and Muslim Americans don’t have the representation for Arab or Muslim centered work to be readily viable.

The fear of Arab refugees has been heightened over the part to the past fifteen years of ominous media representations. There has been both a fascination and disgust for Arabs and Muslims in the mainstream media since 9/11. In the U.S., they have been characterized as the pernicious threat in television programs and as villains in feature films.  This scapegoating by the media is parallel to legal action taken against the community.

Since the attack on the World Trade Center, there has been an American focus on taking and disempowering Arab/Muslim lives for the safety of the U.S. In addition to wars abroad, domestically the U.S. ban on “Providing material support or resources to designated foreign terrorist organizations” expanded in the Patriot Act, sought to indict anyone associated with terrorists. This has led to the arrests and detention of Arab and Muslim Americans who have not killed or caused any Americans harm. One of the most tragic cases is that of graduate student, Pakistani-American Syed Fahad Hashmi. The young man housed an acquaintance donating socks and ponchos to Al Qaeda. While Hashmi had never interacted with Al Qaeda, his house guest had, and this has led to Hashmi’s years of imprisonment. Arab Americans and Muslim Americans, in addition to those in Canada and Europe, have become subject to such harassment and arrests.

I am a filmmaker of Syrian descent. It’s my project as a filmmaker to intervene with complex, positive, alternative images, especially of women, and from the beginning, I have found the discrimination against Arab and Muslim subjects to be crippling to the making of the work. I entered film school in September 2001. After my first year of film school, I decided to go to Palestine/Israel to make a documentary. I received a letter from the administration that while I would be traveling through Palestine Territories to make the film, I must “withdraw” from the University because of the “exceptional danger.” I sought the power to create empathy and mutual understanding, by making Arab cinema. In order to do so, I had to leave the protection of my university.

Over time, Arab cinema has developed from narrative films seeking to define national identity, such as “The Battle of Algiers” to a concern for our individual identities, including our physical domain, such as “Wadjda.” This is in correlation with the current fetishization of the body of the Arab: with the media focus on child Syrian brides, ISIS’ rape survivors, and most recently the corpse of the dearly departed Aylan Kurdi.

Today’s events in Syria and the refugee crisis invoke the importance of films led by Arab and Muslim people, playing to American and European audiences. More Arab and Muslim led work screening in the West will be a sign of our integration. As we enter the media, in a humanized way,  in our own truths, so we are equalized in society. Arab and Muslim-centered films present people from walks of life viewers might not be familiar with, in our own words via our own ideas. These films are a necessity to the civil rights movement, for Arab and Muslim Americans. Even as an American society, if we do this with Arab and Muslim Americans, we do it before the rest of the world. Arab and Muslim American led films can help European and American people and governments to be welcoming and generous to Syrian immigrants.

At this time, I am making an expansion of my short film that was an official selection of the Sundance Film Festival, “Marjoun and the Flying Headscarf.” That short, in 2006, was one of the first pieces of Arab American-led narrative work. Even though the short premiered with much support surrounding it, the climate was so hostile to Arab and Muslim Americans, that I felt it was not time to release an Arab American centered feature film. Instead, I dove into making my first feature “Habibi,” set in the Gaza Strip. As time has gone by, nearly ten years since that short screened at Sundance, I am faced with my responsibility as a maker to present an Arab American feature film–if anything because the climate has not improved, only changed. I am crowdfunding this feature, and relying on grants. That’s how we made “Habibi” and that’s how we make “Marjoun.” When there’s no opportunity, we turn to our community to create one for ourselves.

Our screens are a reflection of our society. We need an honoring of Syrian and Palestinian life as equal as our own as Americans and Europeans. Supporting media by Arabs and Muslims about Arabs and Muslims is one way that we can instigate the process of healing and hope.

If you would like to be a part of our journey with “Marjoun,” please see the link below.

Visit the ‘Marjoun and the Flying Headscarf’ campaign here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2034575596/marjoun-and-the-flying-headscarf

About Susan Youssef

Susan Youssef is a Directing Fellow in Fox Studios' Global Directors Initiative who currently makes her second feature film "Marjoun and the Flying Heasdscarf."

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31 Responses

  1. Krauss
    September 24, 2015, 11:40 am

    That’s only true from an American perspective, where day to day contact with Arabs in general and Arab muslims in particular is very sparse.

    In Europe there is a lot of contact. People may not live along side each other but if you live in a major city, you can’t really avoid day to day contact. The problem isn’t that they haven’t been exposed to enough people, the problem is that they have and that they don’t like what they see.

    Just take a look at this:

    http://hessenschau.de/gesellschaft/missstaende-in-fluechtlingslager-ein-interview,interview_grothe_giessen-100.html

    Yes, german link but Google translate does the job. A lot of girls are at risk of forced prostitution and rape, often from men who have medieval views on women’s rights. These are women who have fled the region and are now subject to the cultural norms of extremists who are in large part responsible for making the Middle East such a toxic place for women and sexual minorities. You think people don’t notice these things?

    And then there’s this from the BBC:

    http://www.bbc.com/news/health-34335853

    Yeah, this is less about religion, FGM rates in some Christian countries is very high, but it is about a cultural practice that is barbaric and which is absolutely imported.

    You can dismiss these things as irrational fears etc, but the reality is, they can’t be ignored anymore. Most people are fleeing genuine persecution and also in some cases in search of a better life. But what happens with the 2nd generation if they grow up with the attitudes of their homeland? We already know the answer to that question. Look at Bradford. Look at Bethnal Green.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/18/world/europe/jihad-and-girl-power-how-isis-lured-3-london-teenagers.html

    The real story isn’t the 3 girls. It’s the increasing reactionary development of the community at large, the advance of Islamists.

    These issues can’t be wished away, or waved away. There is a critical mass which cannot be erased or invisibilised.

    • Annie Robbins
      September 24, 2015, 1:40 pm

      Thank you Susan. this looks like an incredible project. thanks so much for making this film and posting it here. i’m going to donate to your film and hope you make enough to finish it!

      ==============

      krauss, how unfortunate (imho) the thread on this amazing article and project have started with your comment.

      That’s only true from an American perspective

      what’s only true from an american perspective?

      The problem isn’t that they haven’t been exposed to enough people, the problem is that they have and that they don’t like what they see.

      Just take a look at this:

      i don’t think anyone is qualified to determine what “they” like or don’t like because i don’t think there is a unified opinion of “Arabs in general and Arab muslims in particular” in europe. and your example of muslims (in general) in europe is a refugee facility in germany housing 10 thousand people, many fleeing from war who just arrived. it’s an emergency facility krauss. all you need is a few extremists in a densely crowded place like that to wreck havoc on the community. i really don’t think it’s an appropriate microscopic view of arab/muslim communities in europe in general.

      re your bbc link, did you notice

      Not all cases would have taken place in the past three months – some may have been picked up at routine appointments for other health issues many years after the incidents occurred.

      And the report did not look at whether the cases took place in the UK or abroad….

      And many of the cases recorded by the NHS in the last three months will have not have taken place recently.

      out of 2.5 plus million muslim people in england (roughly 1/2 are women), they’ve discovered a 1000 cases of female mutilation by health professionals in a 3 month period, which included women who reported it themselves (presumably having heard of the study). however, there’s no mention of how old most of these women are. the grotesque practice is now illegal there. but a woman who is 30, 40 or older would have undergone this mutilation decades ago.

      They show nine cases where girls were under 18 when first seen.

      now that’s really gross. but i’m not sure in a population of over a million females how representative that is of the muslim population in england in general, given the article omitted informing the reader how large the ‘focus group’ was ie, how many women and girls had this data recorded? how many clinics or hospitals participated in the The Health and Social Care Information Centre surveys which will become mandatory in october.

      FGM reported by the women and girls themselves and others recorded by clinicians during appointments.

      nor did they mention how many were reported by the clinicians vs reported by the women and girls themselves. all of this information makes a difference in assessing how pervasive this practice is today vs 20,30,40,50, or 60 years ago (or more). lots of people over 40 go to the doctors, so how many women, of the 1000 they discovered were over 30? more that 1/2, at least? or 3/4? or 90%? i’m just not sure this bbc article is proving whatever point you’re making about muslims communities in general in europe, or england for that matter. still, it’s huge problem but i think it’s on its way to being eradicated completely. i hope so anyway.

      The real story isn’t the 3 girls. It’s the increasing reactionary development of the community at large, the advance of Islamists.

      according to the new york times? shocking. you’ve chosen to highlight a facility of fleeing refugees, a female mutilation study in the UK (highlighting 9 cases of youth some or all of whom could have reported this abuse themselves), and a famous story of 3 girls who ran off to marry extremists. and you’re claiming most europeans don’t like coming in contact w/muslims (and “arabs in general”) based on these examples.

      hmmm. sounding rather bigotted/islamophobic if you ask me krauss.

      • Mooser
        September 24, 2015, 4:24 pm

        “…how unfortunate….”

        Very. And saddening to see.

      • just
        September 26, 2015, 1:05 pm

        I’m more than a bit taken aback by your comments, Krauss.

        So sorry to read them and discover the reek of xenophobia, bigotry, and a strong waft of Islamophobia.

        “A lot of girls are at risk of forced prostitution and rape, often from men who have medieval views on women’s rights.”

        A lot of “girls” from lots of places “are at risk of forced prostitution and rape”. Disgustingly, it has always been the case. “Girls” from Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia, etc. are “at risk”. Blame the sex- traffickers, the customers, and the criminals who engage in it.

        Oh and btw, have a look at Liverpool:

        “Eastern European prostitutes outnumbering Scouse women on streets – claim Merseyside sex workers

        The Human Trafficking Foundation said the true scale of the problem was “unquantifiable” amid claims women are being trafficked

        The number of Eastern European prostitutes is outnumbering their Scouse counterparts – according to Liverpool street sex workers

        Around half of Merseyside-based escorts advertising on one adult website come from Poland, Romania, Hungary and the Baltic countries.

        While many of those are working independently, with free choice, one city sex worker claimed some are being coerced against their will into prostitution.

        The woman, who wished not to be identified, said: “In Liverpool, it is half foreigners, half Scousers.

        “Some of the foreign girls do want to do what they do, others have no choice. ….

        …In 2010, the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) estimated 30,000 women in off-street prostitution, such as brothels, saunas and escorting.

        They said 17,000 were non-UK citizens, with 2,600 trafficked and 9,600 possibly trafficked.

        But the true scale is simply unknown.

        One leading charity today told how women had been lured to England on the promise of a better life – only to end up forced into prostitution.

        The Human Trafficking Foundation said the true scale of the problem was “unquantifiable”.

        The charity said: “Women lured here by promises of a better life end up imprisoned in brothels. This is slavery.

        “It is not just brothels, but massage parlours, saunas, spas and private houses.

        “Sex trafficking is especially profitable, as human beings are recyclable. They can be sold and re-sold. Some women switch to become traffickers themselves, recruiting their replacements and so winning their freedom. …”

        http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/eastern-european-prostitutes-outnumbering-scouse-3152524

        You don’t have to add “medieval” to the mix, either.

        Many thanks to Susan Youssef. I wish her resounding success with this great project and in all her future endeavors. It’s so necessary to counter the damnable ‘official’ propaganda and narrative with the truth, and is very much appreciated by this writer.

      • bryan
        September 28, 2015, 3:27 pm

        I agree entirely, Annie and Just. I suspect Krauss has no knowledge at all of Bethnal Green, which he has just villified on the basis of one girl going to join Syrian armed forces. It is very much an up and coming / gentrified area, with lively restaurants and bars, a thriving student and young professional population, and it is probably more upmaket than nearby Golders Green, which provides numerous examples of altruistic individuals who have, no doubt misguidedly, sought to join foreign armies (like the IDF).

        FGM is a ghastly practice, though its incidence may well be exaggerated, and successful campaigns are being instigated against it in many parts of the world. MGM may not be so deplorable, but is also an imported cultural practice, imposed on unconsenting children and infants, largely for traditional religious reasons.

        Pimps belong to all sorts of backgrounds, though Russians, Israelis, Italians and Bulgarians have some degree of notoriety, along with native-born Americans, Britons and many others – all seem to display medieval views of women’s rights. Syrian refugee women are exceedingly vulnerable, but so also are “good” English, American and German sex workers, volunteering for the trade, in order to put themselves through college.

        I have not seen a comparable example of such double standards since the last absurdity posted by a Zionist hasbarista.

    • echinococcus
      September 24, 2015, 1:45 pm

      What this post informs us about is as much the inside of your mind with its frightful racial ghosts and the limited extent of your contacts with your fellow humans as the conditions in horrrrible, terrrrible Bradford (where I’m sure you are to be found often, chatting with friends in a Pakistani tea house.)
      Have you ever talked to anyone about conditions in DP camps in 45? So you’d know if the bottling together of desperate refugees along with common criminals was so much better when they were nominally Jewish and Christian (seeing that you prefer to classify people by supposed religion rather than other characteristics.) They weren’t Middle-Eastern in general. Thefts and stabbings and racist intercommunal tension (generally against Gypsises), local tyrants and rapists there, too. As for local tyrants, so nicely mentioned in your link, you should add the blackmail by the Zionists, getting privileges only if you dropped your refugee request to other countries and agreed to go to Palestine steal other people’s land, and the persecution and beatings of Bundists who opposed it.
      Of course I don’t know how it compares statistically, but this is in general what will happen when desperate refugees with no means are packed together somewhere.
      Thank you for channeling Le Pen and his colleagues.

    • echinococcus
      September 24, 2015, 2:21 pm

      PS – Another thing: the referencing of new york times and bbc camouflaged xenophobic propaganda pieces are not likely to enhance your credibility.
      Also, now that you have dropped the heavy hint about female genital mutilation (in initialism only, as if all were students of the phenomenon), how about making a nice squeak about male genital mutilation –MGM? I, for one, want my missing piece back!

    • JWalters
      September 25, 2015, 7:43 pm

      It’s true that cultural differences can lead some people to overgeneralize about all people from another culture. It’s further true that these differences are fanned into flames by people who will profit from these conflicts.

      For instance, the original British promise to the people of Palestine was for a non-sectarian, American-style democracy. What a great precedent that would have been in the Middle East! Instead, the “Zionist project” torpedoed that promise and substituted a cruel and unjust sectarian government. Muslims were victimized by and for Jews, and the project made sure to emphasize that this was a “Jewish” thumb in the eye of Muslims. Naturally, this created a backlash from Muslims, especially religious Muslims, and especially extremist “religious” Muslims. Part of the “Zionist project” strategy was demonizing Muslims in the Israeli-controlled western media.

      Yes, the barbaric practices of all cultures need to be eliminated. It seems to me the biggest step we could take in this direction today would be to bring down the evil, war profiteering forces that purposefully incite these cultural conflicts. Destroy and jail them. Then we’ll have a chance to refocus people’s attention on the good.

      This applies equally to those fanning racial divisions in the U.S.

      • Len1
        September 26, 2015, 6:24 pm

        Please share your sources for your assertion that western media is controlled by Israelis.

      • talknic
        September 26, 2015, 7:12 pm

        @ Len1 “Please share your sources for your assertion that western media is controlled by Israelis”

        Uh? This is what was said “Part of the “Zionist project” strategy was demonizing Muslims in the Israeli-controlled western media.”

        It doesn’t say that ‘western media is controlled by Israelis’. For certain there is ‘Israeli-controlled western media’. The NYT being the foremost.

      • Kris
        September 26, 2015, 7:35 pm

        Len 1, it’s not only the media that is controlled by the Israelis, it’s also the U.S. Congress.

        Did you miss the 26 standing ovations for Netanyahu during his 39-minute speech? http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/watch-netanyahu-get-26-standing-ovations-during-his-speech-to-congress/article/2560974

        Our congresspeople looked like puppets, which is what they are.

      • bryan
        September 28, 2015, 3:52 pm

        Of course Israelis do not own the world media; though coincidentally those Americans and even Australians who seem to dominate media ownership, and predominate as editors, journalists, presenters and directors, do seem to have remarkable emotional attachments to a small Middle Eastern state. Not that this is a problem, of course, though it does mean that Israel is overwhelmingly presented in a positive light, and that certain important issues receive very little attention.

        See the following from P. Weiss (Do Jews dominate the American Media? And so what if we do?) http://mondoweiss.net/2008/02/do-jews-dominat

    • Teapot
      September 26, 2015, 4:11 am

      The problem isn’t that they haven’t been exposed to enough people, the problem is that they have and that they don’t like what they see.

      Krauss, I can’t speak for the rest of Europe, but this is not true in Switzerland. As we are a direct democracy, we get to vote on pretty much everything all the time. Voting patterns show that there is a consistent trend of big cities like Zurich and Geneva (where a majority of immigrants live) being much more pro-immigration and less islamophobic in their votes. It’s the rural areas where people seldom get to interact with Arab and Muslim immigrants that are most opposed to them.

      For example, in 2009 there was a highly controversial vote on a ban on minarets (which unfortunately passed), but it’s important to note that the three biggest cities (Zurich, Geneva and Basel), voted against the ban. Yet these cities are the places where people are most likely to interact with Muslims. If your theory were true, then shouldn’t they be the most fervent when it comes to anti-Muslim legislation?

      Link to vote statistics (sorry, I couldn’t find any statistics in English):
      http://www.bfs.admin.ch/bfs/portal/fr/index/themen/17/03/blank/key/2009/05.html

      Same with a ban on mass immigration. The urban areas where most immigrants live were against the ban.

      http://www.bfs.admin.ch/bfs/portal/fr/index/themen/17/03/blank/key/2014/013.html

    • Kris
      September 26, 2015, 12:53 pm

      Krauss, your link to the story about the terrible conditions, including violence against women, that have been caused by overcrowding in the refugee camp, does not support your idea that the “cultural norms” of the refugees are to blame.

      It has already been well-established that overcrowding leads to social breakdown in all animals, including humans. According to your article, this refugee camp is not only severely overcrowded, no attempt has been made to keep refugees from the same areas together, or to provide a separate area for women and children who are not with their adult male relatives.

    • ckg
      September 26, 2015, 11:05 pm

      That’s only true from an American perspective, where day to day contact with Arabs in general and Arab muslims in particular is very sparse.

      Here in Dearborn Michigan we experienced an enormous influx of Arab muslim refugees in the wake of the Iraq war. The violent crime rate dropped dramatically. In 2001-2003 the violent crime rate in Dearborn was more than twice the national average. But with the influx of refugees, the violent crime rate dropped below the national average and has remained there [source]. Also the number of registered sex offenders compared to the number of residents in Dearborn is a lot smaller than the Michigan average.

  2. JLewisDickerson
    September 24, 2015, 2:07 pm

    RE: “The fear of Arab refugees has been heightened over the part to the past fifteen years of ominous media representations. There has been both a fascination and disgust for Arabs and Muslims in the mainstream media since 9/11. In the U.S., they have been characterized as the pernicious threat in television programs and as villains in feature films.” ~ Susan Youssef

    MY COMMENT: Not to mention scary school mascots!

    SEE: “California high school drops controversial Arab mascot” | by Philip J. Victor & Nadeem Muaddi | america.aljazeera.com | September 12, 2014

    [EXCERPT] A California high school that faced mounting pressure to change its team name, mascot and other imagery and traditions that many Arab-Americans deemed offensive has agreed to a compromise, school officials announced on Friday.

    The Coachella Valley High School Arabs will now be known as the Mighty Arabs, after the school district’s board of trustees voted 5-0 on Tuesday to amend the school’s team name. They also agreed to change CVHS’ Arab mascot to look less barbaric and more distinguished. . .

    ENTIRE ARTICLE – http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2014/9/12/arab-mascot-coachella.html

  3. Annie Robbins
    September 24, 2015, 7:12 pm

    Follow the link everybody and you will see Marjoun and the Flying Headscarf only has 67 more hours to go on the kickstarter campaign and the goal is $100,000 and it’s already at $91,191 !!!!

    that’s amazing. i so hope you make it susan.

    https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2034575596/marjoun-and-the-flying-headscarf?ref=hero_thanks

  4. a blah chick
    September 25, 2015, 2:48 pm

    There was an episode of the Good Wife which featured a Palestinian student involved in a murder. As I recall the protagonist, Alicia, argues that the murder was not terrorism because the student invinces no interest in “nationist” issues.

    And therein lies the problem, the inability of American television to present Arabs or Muslims as regular people who care about issues effecting their communities. I have yet to see a sympathetic portrayal of Palestinians that also articulated their feelings about Israel and Zionism. “Good” Arabs are always either victims (of other Arabs or Muslims) or working as asests for the “good” guys. I don’t know how you change that.

  5. Scott
    September 25, 2015, 4:56 pm

    I commend Krauss for pointing to some of the difficulties Europe has with mass Muslim immigration, rather than pretending they don’t exist. The degree of them, discussion of which articles overstate or minimize them, can be a topic for debate, no? I’ve been reading this useful blog by an American law prof in Germany: http://andrewhammel.typepad.com/german_joys/

    which seems to provide a more realistic window than does the mainstream American press (much as mondoweiss does).

    Here is a recent post:
    Here’s a selection of my short summaries of the stories on the “Refugee Crisis” live-blog of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Germany’s leading center-right broadsheet, with my comments:

    13:19: Migrants end hunger strike in Nuremburg, migrants in Griebo near Wittenberg begin hunger strike, demanding to be housed in apartments instead of a multifunction hall

    13:07: Psychology professor Jürgen Hoyer says it’s no surprise so much violence in refugee shelters, many people of different backgrounds packed together

    This is why Germany will start seizing private commercial and residential property in a desperate rush to get migrants into apartments where the risk of violence is lower.

    12:41: Federal government estimates 30% of those claiming to be Syrian when they arrive in Germany are lying.

    12:28: Middle East Director of UNHCR says 8,000 people coming to Europe each day, no sign of decrease, and that these are ‘tip of the iceberg.’

    As I’ve mentioned before in comments, I see no reason why migrant stream will reduce during winter, because (1) 80% of the journey will be in countries with mild winters; (2) by the time they get to the cold places there will be volunteers and trains: (3) migrants know they have a rapidly-closing time window, it’s now or never.

    12:16 Poll of 213 Dutch local governments reveals 80% have no place for migrants, 25% anticipate resistance from local citizens esp. based on fear of competition for subsidized housing, only 17% say they have sufficient resources to integrate refugees.

    12:11 On German national TV, Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said opening Germany’s borders (Merkel’s decision) led to situation going ‘out of control’

    This is pretty amazing. Last night on a political talk-show watched by millions of Germans, the Interior Minister of Germany said the migrant situation was ‘out of control’. The Interior Minister. And blamed it on a decision by Merkel, his close political ally & friend (though he didn’t name her). You know what Germans don’t like? Things that are out of control.

    11:56: Knife-fight among 20 young men in shelter in Chemnitz, 2 young Tunisian men and 2 young Albanian men in hospital.

    With thousands of new (presumably) genuine Syrian war refugees arriving every day, what are Tunisians and Albanians still doing here taking up precious shelter space and participating in gang knife-fights?

    11:55: In an 1800-person shelted in Leipzig conference center there was a mass confrontation between 100-200 Syrians and Afghans, required ‘mass intervention’ of police to bring situation under control.

    How long before the first murder in a migrant shelter? Weeks would be my guess. Rapes are already commonplace in some shelters, although nobody seems to care about that.

    11:51: In Finland, gang dressed as KKK members pelt incoming migrant bus with stones and fireworks.

    11:22 Sticks and metal rods converted to weapons found in Donaueschingen shelter after 400 refugees protested against planned relocation.

    10:54: Majority of Germany continues to believe migrants can be accommodated, but majority shrank over last 2 weeks from 62 to 57 percent. Number who say it can’t be done rose from 35 to 40%.

    I think we’re going to see that trend continue.

    • Annie Robbins
      September 26, 2015, 3:42 am

      ps: i left you another comment earlier (below) which landed in the wrong place.

      With thousands of new (presumably) genuine Syrian war refugees arriving every day, what are Tunisians and Albanians still doing here taking up precious shelter space and participating in gang knife-fights?

      i totally agree people participating in gang knife fights, rapes, anything like that are wasting precious space during an immigrant/ refugee camp crisis situation (at the minimum). kick them out or throw them in jail.

  6. Annie Robbins
    September 26, 2015, 3:28 am

    hey scott, first off thanks for your link. i found it very interesting especially his link to the AMA on reddit. i read them both for a long time. but i disagree w/your characterization of krauss’ comment as “pointing to some of the difficulties Europe has with mass Muslim immigration ” and feel very differently about the content/quality of your link and what i think ruffled some feathers here.

    to begin with your link primarily(as far as i could tell) focused mostly on refugees/incoming migrant — people who were in transition, primarily addressing the current crisis (refugees flooding in). krauss didn’t.

    day to day contact with Arabs in general and Arab muslims in particular ……The problem isn’t that they haven’t been exposed to enough people, the problem is that they have and that they don’t like what they see.

    so this remark is not primarily about the current refugee crisis, it’s arabs/muslims per se (in europe) and also a sweeping judgement about european opinion in general and their reaction to them.

    and it’s a significant overkill. for example, in the section you chose to copy/paste:

    Dutch local governments reveals 80% have no place for migrants, 25% anticipate resistance from local citizens esp. based on fear of competition for subsidized housing

    ……

    Majority of Germany continues to believe migrants can be accommodated, but majority shrank over last 2 weeks from 62 to 57 percent.

    the first one, 80% local governments say don’t have facilities to deal with the current crisis — nothing racist there, maybe they are just being honest. and 25% of local govs “anticipate resistance from local citizens based…competition for subsidized housing”. that’s a far cry from ‘europeans don’t like what they see when they look at arabs/muslims.’

    can you see the difference? and in germany “accommodating” a huge influx of refugees during a crisis, the numbers drop 5% over the last 2 weeks. so what does that say? it doesn’t says those 5% don’t like arabs and muslims, it says they don’t think they can accommodate so many more people. and even still the majority does think they can accommodate them. it’s just a completely different argument.

    then he links to an article in germany specifically about conditions in the refugee camps in a crisis situation , but doesn’t mention that, and says this, implying it pertains to the culture at large:

    A lot of girls are at risk of forced prostitution and rape, often from men who have medieval views on women’s rights. These are women who have fled the region and are now subject to the cultural norms of extremists who are in large part responsible for making the Middle East such a toxic place for women and sexual minorities. You think people don’t notice these things?

    apples and oranges. there are more examples where that came from.

    and, super congrats to susan w/$97,263 and 36 hours to go. looks like she’ll make her 100k in kickstarters deadline! this is exciting.

    • just
      September 27, 2015, 8:17 am

      Marjoun and her Flying Headscarf made it!

      $101,016 with 6 hours to go….. congratulations, Susan and all of your supporters!

  7. Spring Renouncer
    October 4, 2015, 1:13 pm

    BURNT SEEDS is an art piece about the United States’ culpability in the Syrian Crisis: https://instagram.com/p/8Ua_MNMaSb/

  8. traintosiberia
    October 4, 2015, 7:40 pm

    Last Friday afternoon NPR played few tracks from an album. Lyric was good,so was the music. It was really a wonderful experience. NPR. was fulsome in praising deservingly so
    Then I heard NPR giving the background and airing the interview with the singers.
    It explained everything .
    Yemeni song and music being promoted by three Yemeni Jews from Israel.
    Why haven’t we heard it before?

    Nothing good in Arab world. Not the food not the dress,not the culture until sold worn or promoted by a Jewish person.

    • just
      October 4, 2015, 8:02 pm

      “Nothing good in Arab world. Not the food not the dress,not the culture until sold worn or promoted by a Jewish person.”

      Exactly, traintosiberia. It’s sickening.

      I loved hearing that music on Friday. The three Yemeni Jewish sisters, A-WA, must turn every Zionist on their heads! Or not.

  9. traintosiberia
    October 5, 2015, 12:12 am

    just October 4, 2015, 8:02 pm

    Kudos to these young Israelis with such wonderful voices . ( I dont know Arabic.But I loved it )

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