Every Image Has A Story

By Aniek Santema           Around 2 million Syrian refugees who fled the war have been stranded in Lebanon and many of them live in harsh circumstances. The following pictures will give a small insight into the lives of Syrian youth and show the world from their perspective, through their eyes. The pictures in this photo essay were taken by Syrian refugee girls in the city of Saida who participated in a workshop where they learned how to use visual methods as a way of self-expression. During the workshop the girls answered questions about themselves and their lives …

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No space for grief

By Aniek Santema       The floor in Ouzai where Mariam lives becomes a familiar place. I know the people in this corner of the tall building and they greet me happily when I visit them. Today, the stairs that lead up to this floor are slippery and covered with garbage like empty bags of chips, chocolate wraps and orange peels. While climbing up the stairs to the third floor, I pass by some small kids with stains on their clothes, faces and hands, running and playing on the stairs. The youngest must be around 2 years old. Many of …

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Book release: living with the AK-47

By Younes Saramifar   While reading (VU University Professor) Hallah Ghoreshi’s Ways to Survive, I recalled the December of 1994 with amusement. She has written about her fascination with weapons during her school years in Iran after the Islamic Revolution. It seemed similar to my own enchantment with the AK-47, particularly on that day when we had to pass the exam for the course called “Preparing for Defence”—the most exciting course for a 12-year old boy with a textbook full of pictures of weaponry and war machineries; the promise of an exam in the shooting range made it all the …

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Potential famine among Syrian refugees has far-reaching implications for the Middle East

Erik van Ommering   Last week around 1.7 million refugees from Syria received the following text message on their cellphones: “We deeply regret that WFP has not yet received funds to reload your blue card for food for December 2014. We will inform you by SMS as soon as funding is received and we can resume food assistance” The message was sent by the World Food Program (WFP), one of the UN agencies that has played a vital role in supporting refugees from Syria in Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan and Egypt. Hosting refugees “in the region” has been a key policy pursued by …

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