|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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At a time when our nation, out of our own fear and ignorance, is turning away those who would be among our finest citizens, if only we let them, it’s important to remember the world still desperately looks to us for freedom.ReplyDelete
A most eloquent way of putting it. Thank you.
Reminds me of Dostoevsky's clerk saving up to buy one serf at a time out of slavery. It's wonderful that this gifted young man was able to survive to create a work of art that we would hope would engage our hearts and minds to oppose on principle the brutality of war, but I don't see that our government is about to change the policies that pushed us into war in Afghanistan and Iraq and may lead to increasing our idiotic involvement in Syria. What has changed with the use of chemical weapons purportedly by Assad? Before and after thousands and thousands of innocent civilians are being killed and millions displaced. All we could do there would be to add to the killing while risking the lives and health of our soldiers.ReplyDelete
Putin is manipulating Trump in Syria. Putin knows that the Trump administration weakens America. Trump knows that a war will prop up his failing presidency. Putin knows it, too. Trump feigns pulling out of Syria. Chemical weapons are once again used on civilians. Trump ramps up war rhetoric. This time next week we'll be asshole-deep in national pride, watching the new season of War on television. Trump's approval rating goes up. Putin does his end-zone dance. Notice how Assad doesn't even get a mention in this scenario?Delete