|Calligraphic Galleon, by Abd al-Qadir Hisari, Turkey (Metropolitan Museum of Art)|
The young man was trapped.
In a small apartment in a country that was coming apart.
It was late March, 2015. A week before, he'd fled his home in the capital of Yemen as that nation's civil war intensified. Now he was on the coast, in Aden, where it turned out the fighting was worse: gunfire in the street, Saudi air strikes raining missiles, and nowhere to go.
Yet the Western world was tantalizingly close. At his fingertips, on his laptop: Facebook. Twitter. It was a fragile thread, but it was all he had, so he pulled it.
There is something heartbreaking in the faux casual way the young man started his email to Daniel Pincus, a man he had met in Jordan at an interfaith conference.
"Daniel, I hope everything is great in your side! I hope you still remember me ... I thought it will be a good idea if I ask you if you can help me out ... If you watch the news lately, you may have heard about what's happening in Yemen."
He had already reached out to another friend, Megan Hallahan, who emailed everyone she "had ever met in [her] whole entire life" on behalf of this acquaintance whose life "is really in danger."
"Any idea or contact will help," she wrote.
One of her emails reached Justin Hefter, a native of Highland Park, who was himself actively trying to foster Middle East peace, particularly between the Israelis and Palestinians.
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