AuthorTopic: Humans of New York  (Read 1334 times)

Offline Surly1

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Humans of New York
« on: September 26, 2015, 03:36:06 PM »
For the next several days, I’m going to be sharing stories from refugees who are currently making their way across Europe. Additionally, I’ll be spotlighting some of the people who are attempting to help facilitate their immigration and asylum. Together, these migrants are part of one of the largest population movements in modern history. But their stories are composed of unique and singular tragedies. In the midst of the current ‘migrant crisis,’ there are millions of different reasons for leaving home. And there are millions of different hardships that refugees face as they search for a new home. Since the situation is constantly shifting, I'm still not sure of all my destinations. But over the next ten days or so, I hope to share as many of these stories as I can find.



From the Facebook page "Humans of New York"
https://www.facebook.com/humansofnewyork?fref=nf
"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

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Re: Humans of New York
« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2015, 03:37:58 PM »
I want to begin this refugee series with a post from the summer of 2014. This is Muhammad, who I first met last year in Iraqi Kurdistan. At the time, he had just fled the war in Syria and was working as a clerk at my hotel. When war broke out, he’d been studying English Literature at the University of Damascus, so his English was nearly perfect. He agreed to work as my interpreter and we spent several days interviewing refugees who were fleeing the advance of ISIS. As is evident from the quote below, I left Muhammad with the expectation that he’d soon be travelling to the United Kingdom with fake papers. I am retelling the story because I have just now reconnected with Muhammad. He will be working again as my interpreter for the next ten days. But the story he told me of what happened since we last met is tragic. (1/6)
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"The fighting got very bad. When I left Syria to come here, I only had $50. I was almost out of money when I got here. I met a man on the street, who took me home, and gave me food and a place to stay. But I felt so ashamed to be in his home that I spent 11 hours a day looking for jobs, and only came back to sleep. I finally found a job at a hotel. They worked me 12 hours a day, for 7 days a week. They gave me $400 a month. Now I found a new hotel now that is much better. I work 12 hours per day for $600 a month, and I get one day off. In all my free hours, I work at a school as an English teacher. I work 18 hours per day, every day. And I have not spent any of it. I have not bought even a single T-shirt. I've saved 13,000 Euro, which is how much I need to buy fake papers. There is a man I know who can get me to Europe for 13,000. I'm leaving next week. I'm going once more to Syria to say goodbye to my family, then I'm going to leave all this behind. I'm going to try to forget it all. And I'm going to finish my education."
(August 2014 : Erbil, Iraq)




From the Facebook page "Humans of New York"
https://www.facebook.com/humansofnewyork?fref=nf
"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

Offline Surly1

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Re: Humans of New York
« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2015, 03:39:51 PM »
“Before leaving for Europe, I went back to Syria to see my family once more. I slept in my uncle’s barn the entire time I was there, because every day the police were knocking on my father’s door. Eventually my father told me: ‘If you stay any longer, they will find you and they will kill you.’ So I contacted a smuggler and made my way to Istanbul. I was just about to leave for Europe when I received a call from my sister. She told me that my father had been very badly beaten by police, and unless I sent 5,000 Euro for an operation, he would die. That was my money to get to Europe. But what could I do? I had no choice. Then two weeks later she called with even worse news. My brother had been killed by ISIS while he was working in an oil field. They found our address on his ID card, and they sent his head to our house, with a message: ‘Kurdish people aren’t Muslims.’ My youngest sister found my brother’s head. This was one year ago. She has not spoken a single word since.” (Kos, Greece)
(2/6)




From the Facebook page "Humans of New York"
https://www.facebook.com/humansofnewyork?fref=nf
"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

Offline Surly1

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Re: Humans of New York
« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2015, 03:43:45 PM »
“For two weeks my tears didn’t stop. Nothing made sense. Why did these things happen to my family? We did everything right. Everything. We were very honest with everyone. We treated our neighbors well. We made no big mistakes. I was under so much pressure at this time. My father was in intensive care, and every day my sisters called and told me that ISIS was getting closer to our village. I went completely crazy. I fainted in the street one day and woke up in the hospital. I gave the rest of my money to a smuggler to help my sisters escape to Iraq. Now I only had 1000 Euro left and I was stranded in Turkey. My father recovered from his operation at this time. He called me and asked how I’d paid for his surgery. I told him that the money came from a friend. He asked if I had made it to Europe. For the first time ever, I lied to my father. I didn’t want him to feel guilty about his surgery. I told him that I was in Europe, and I was safe, and there was nothing to worry about.” (Kos, Greece)
(3/6)



From the Facebook page "Humans of New York"
https://www.facebook.com/humansofnewyork?fref=nf
"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

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Re: Humans of New York
« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2015, 04:08:12 PM »
You should re-publish on the blog.  See if you can get a cross posting agreement.

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