“Tell me mabruk (congratulations),” she said. “My husband is a hero.” – Basima Atat (Photo courtesy of Kareem Shaheen)
Basima was in love with Adel for five years, engaged for another five, and married for seven. She lost her husband and their six year old daughter lost her father when he tackled an ISIS suicide bomber to the ground.
This was the front page of yesterday’s newspaper. Welcoming the first round of Syrian refugees being brought to Scotland from the camps in Lebanon and Jordan.
By Christmas, around 400 Syrians will be settling into their lives here. Yesterday the first 100 arrived to the rain, the cold and a, by and large, warm reception.
Yet the first minister, Nicola Sturgeon had to stand up in the Scottish Parliament and reassure the Scottish people that those coming had been vetted twice. Once by the UN, then again by the Home Office.
The country’s largest city, and one that has suffered greatly in power struggles between the regime and rebel forces. At the time of writing the sole supply route to the regime-held areas of the city has been cut off by an ISIS advance, leaving hundreds of thousands stranded with the price of basic goods sky rocketing.
I want to share an article (link temporarily removed) I wrote about the Syrian refugee crisis in Lebanon last summer. Back then the warnings were dire and the government had taken very little action to accommodate what was, at one point, an astonishing 12,000 Syrians crossing into Lebanon per week.
Since then the government has taken action, but not for the benefit of the Syrians. At the start of 2015 the Lebanese government introduced new “visa” rules, designed to slow the flow of refugees across the border.
A first attempt at setting up this blog as a media monitor has been thrown under the bus – as much as I would like people to listen to my opinion on everything it’s a bit more realistic to focus this blog around something I know, and care about.
Six years ago I spent six months living in Damascus, Syria, as part of my Arabic undergraduate degree. I fell in love.