In February, I had the opportunity to work on an essay to accompany photos by an amazing photographer and friend, Felipe Jacome. He took dramatic portraits of Syrian refugee parents in Lebanon and their children, who are often at risk of becoming stateless. One of the women, Dina, told me her story.
It’s published in Al Jazeera Magazine, an elegant publication that’s only available for download on phones and tablets. Check out the little preview below, and click the link to download the magazine.
‘I’ll tell you the story of how we left Syria,’ Dina begins. ‘We got to the last Syrian checkpoint before the border point. ‘Where are you going?’ they asked me. ‘To Lebanon? You can’t go. [The border guard] forced my kids out of the car and pointed his gun at them. He cocked the gun and pointed it at my kids.’ Her voice breaks and tears roll down her cheeks, but Dina continues. ‘The driver tried to calm him down. The border guard said, ‘No, I’ll gun you down and every single one of these kids.’ We got back in the car. I looked at whatever money I had and gave it to him, begging, kissing his hands.’
Can legal changes stop trafficking in Yemen?
[Published here September 9, 2014]
BEIRUT, 9 September 2014 (IRIN) – A Yemeni draft law envisaging strict penalties for those involved in trafficking migrants, including kidnapping them and demanding ransom, may finally bring an end to decades of exploitation.
To give the process a push, the International Labour Organization (ILO) co-hosted a three-day workshop from 6-8 September with Yemen’s Ministry of Human Rights in Lebanon’s capital Beirut, bringing together government entities, international agencies, and non-governmental groups to develop Yemen’s anti-trafficking roadmap.
From left to right: Jilan, 16, and Iman, 17, who live in the Domiz refugee camp. Image by James Haines-Young
[Published here August 4, 2014]
Since the beginning of the conflict more than three years ago, Syria’s death toll sits horrifyingly somewhere over 120,000. But the real number of destroyed lives is much higher: Three million refugees, scattered throughout the region, escaped the war alive. Though they survived, their homes have been demolished, their memories faded, and their dreams rendered impossible. Painstakingly, some women who turned into widows or single parents have tried to reassemble their lives, readjusting hopes and goals to fit a harsh new reality. Here is one story of a women-led household—a rare occurrence in the Middle East—inside the Domiz refugee camp in Iraq.
[Published here March 18, 2014]
ON MARCH 8th, while the world celebrated International Women’s Day to recognise progress in women’s rights, two women in Iraqi Kurdistan set themselves on fire. Self-immolation as a dramatic and deadly form of protest by women is known across the Middle East, from Egypt to Pakistan. But it has become alarmingly common in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq. By some estimates self-burning has claimed the lives of as many as 10,000 women, including girls as young as 13, since the region gained autonomy in 1991.
[Published here March 14, 2014]
Herfeta, an ethnically Kurdish Syrian refugee living in northern Iraq. Image by James Haines-Young
View this powerful photo essay here.
[Published here November 8, 2013]
This is a multimedia piece best experienced on the website itself, but I have also included the text below.
When the uprising hit Damascus, women were at the front lines of the demonstrations – which meant they, like their male peers, were arrested and detained by Syria’s feared security forces. Three of these women, held for their involvement in the peaceful, civil movement, spoke to NOW about their experiences. While their tales of torture are more psychological than physical, the scars remain. Almost incredulously, they call themselves “lucky,” knowing that the cases of more recently-detained Syrian women have become infinitely more gruesome and physically horrific. Though their names have been changed for safety reasons, these women’s stories remain a potent reminder of a terrifying tool still used by Assad’s security forces: detainment.