Tuesday, November 8, 2011

One year passed since I arrived in NY and I am only focusing on work and always working hoard. I come back home tired and stop thinking about the past.The man in this picture says "we want change" on Wall Street. "Change" is an interesting word and started circulating everywhere in the world.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Update and Firas' Resettlement

Hello everyone!

For those of you who were wondering why NWN has been so quiet of the past few months, Firas, the founder, and former Iraqi refugee has finally been resettled in the US. As this is a time consuming and exhausting process, Firas has been focusing all of his energy on this. In his stead, he has asked me, Sara, and two Iraqi artisits living in Jeramana, Muhannad and Rasha to carry the torch here in Syria and take over where he left off. However, Firas is not gone, he is just now involved on the American side of the exchange.

While the first few months have been slow, we have been spending some time with a family of three girls, aged 19, 18, and 16 and one boy, age 10, and their mother. Their stories and biographies are to follow in the next blog.

I am really excited about this project and honored to have been asked to help manage it in Syria. I just hope I can do half as well as Firas has done and continue to provide hope and encouragement to the refugee community in Damascus and surrounding areas.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Remembering Ameer

Native without a Nation honors the memory of one of its favorite Iraqi students, Ameer Mohammed. Ameer, 14, participated in several cross-cultural video sessions with students all over the world. He attended NWN computer literacy sessions and was diligently studying English. In 2006 Ameer and his family came to Damascus to escape the violence in Iraq.

Like the approximately 1.5 million Iraqi refugees, he and his family dreamed of being resettled in another country where Ameer would be able to be a normal kid again. In the meantime, Ameer worked at a local laundry mat to help his family cover their expenses. He was an excellent worker. Ameer dreamed of becoming a professional soccer player. His most cherished moments in Syria were when his chins made contact with a football. Like so many Iraqi children, his dream will never come true.

Ameer passed away last week of a health complication. Hours before his death a sweet and jovial Ameer hugged his employer, telling him he was just like family. Ameer passed with his father by his side. He will rest in peace at the Strangers Cemetery in Damascus, Syria. To support Ameer’s family you can send donations to Native without a Nation through Paypal.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Othman Abd Al-Rahman Mohammed

My name is Othman Abd Al-Rahman Mohammad. I am an Iraq pupil and I am proud of being an Iraqi.

Despite the fact that I live in my second country Syria, I love this country so much as well as its generous people.

I love to study in a perfect way. I love my school, my family and my relatives who are away from me due to the cruel circumstances. I also love helping my father with the housework.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

NWN update: Mar. 2010

Native without a Nation’s students had a meeting on February 19th 2010. We talked about their problems in schools here where most of the Iraqi students are doing well. They are more intelligent than others. Two of the Iraqi refugee students are going to take part in an intelligence contest. It’s a contest among the schools in the city of Damascus. The big problem is that these students don’t sense stability here, which if anything will change their lives ever after. This thought has been controlling their lives.

The other problem is that they need computers to get information to help them choose what they like to study. For example Noor and Muna want to study art and design. Anfal wants to study sculpturing and Zinab wants to be a singer. They do well with their work but all of that doesn’t exist in the curriculum of their school.

The other part of the meeting was about Noor, Muna and Anfal's participation in the art show. They wanted to say this to their supporters:

Since the first art show we had in Damascus, we felt admiration and encouragement from the audience to continue painting, and talk about the mixtures of colors. We were often asked if we ever went to art schools. The answer always is “ We never studied art, it’s just what we do and like to do. We do express what we feel and we convert it on our paintings.

We benefit from advises and criticism of the visitors, which is helpful to make us continue with our notions in our work.

At the end of the meeting we agreed that we have to be strong and keep getting better.
The last art show was in January 19, 2010 at the Russian cultural center in Damascus where most of the visitors were artists, writers, activists, critics, journalists as well as friends.

We noticed the difference between the first and last art show, our paintings became stronger and more expressive through the subjects and the colors. Every painting had story. Now we are preparing for another art show, with new paintings, new stories, and new style.

We will never stop looking forward. We will never be silent.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Farah Emaad

My name is Farah Emaad . I am 13 years-old and I’m in eighth grade. I was born and raised in Iraq but now I live with my dad and mom in Syria. We all left Iraq in 2005 because of the security situation, which was real bad. I remember when one day a gang kidnapped my teacher and five of my friends outside the school as they were going to their homes. I saw this accident when I was 9 years old. I was frightened, while running to my home I was crying, when I arrived to my home I hag my mom, and I told her what happen while crying and shaking. I stopped going to the school after that.The other story happen with my mom, while going to her work. She was wounded when an explosion took place close to where she was. She had to stay in the hospital for about 100 days.All of these stories make my family take the decision to leave Iraq. We registered with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees or the UNHCR as refugees, we looking for resettlement in any country so that we can live in peace.My hope to be policeman, because it requires hard work and I like that. But other than that I like soccer, basketball and I like to listen to music.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Mustafa N, 17

My name is Mustafa Nateq. I’m 17. I left school when I was in ninth grade because of the security situation in Iraq, which is very bad. We came to Syria on June 2009.

I saw many accident like explosions and killing where I lived -- in AlDora area in Baghdad. It has been always a very danger area. One day I was doing some shopping with my Mom and suddenly she fell on the ground and I saw the blood flowing from her leg. After that we heard sounds of the shooting then saw people running. I didn’t know what to do A taxi driver stopped and took my Mom. Ambulances are not available. That night, I couldn’t sleep. I kept thinking "what if that shooting was directed at me, what if my mother died?"

I will never forget that accident. I no more want to be in Iraq so that I don't have to face any of this again. That doesn't make my situation any easier as I have heart failure and the medical care is basically non-existent. All I hope for is to know my future after registering with the UNHCR as a refugee.