After haunting images of refugee suffering last summer, the U.S. seemed prepared to open its doors to 10,000. Since Paris and San Bernardino, ISIS has what it wants: presidential candidates have turned 180 degrees, calling for a “pause” on refugee resettlement or advocating for a “Christian-refugee-only” policy.
Sarah Aziza was staying overnight with the family of her college friend Nuna when she first heard the news of the Paris attacks. Aziza writes, “And then, just as the pace of the death toll began to relent, journalists began reporting a new detail—and the secret fears of Nuna and Miriam leapt to life. “A witness reports hearing “Allahu Akbar” shouted as the terrorists opened fire.” Nuna’s eyes were wet again, dark and glistening against her flushing face. Miriam’s head moved slowly from side to side. “Here we go again.” Under their breath, both Nuna and Miriam began to pray, reflexive, weary prayers.”
Sarah Aziza says that at times like this being a Palestinian means being always in the midst of a conversation no one else can hear.
While thousands demonstrated in support of Syrian refugees across Europe on Saturday, a crowd of over 200 New Yorkers gathered in Manhattan’s Union Square on Saturday to show they are tired of feeling their own community was neglecting the issue. “People in the United States seem to feel that the Syrian crisis is Europe’s problem,” says 25-year-old Syrian American Nader Atassi, who helped organize a pro-refugee rally. “We’re here to say it’s a human problem, and we want our government to do more to help.”
Sarah Aziza shares her family’s story during the Nakba and the importance of Nakba Day as way to remember: “Nakba Day, like all ‘days of remembrance,’ is thus important not simply as an end in itself, but for the difficult and ground-breaking work that faithful reckoning with the past might inspire. May honesty, humility, and imagination lead us forward.”
Mohammed Zakaria is leading an unprecedented campaign to create Jordan’s first community-built skate park. Zakaria is determined to provide a positive outlet for the youth of his city. “It’s not easy to be a young person in this part of the world,” he says. While warfare and revolts have upturned many neighboring cities, tensions over the flooding refugee population, high unemployment, and regional insecurity are rampant in Jordan. “Many of our skaters, and the new kids we hope to bring in to the park, come from broken homes or refugee families. We want to give them a healthy, free, accessible resource to enjoy life.” Plus, says Zakaria, “It’s going to be rad.”