A Right to Exist | Al Jazeera (Magazine)

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.’

http://www.aljazeera.com/aboutus/digital-magazine.html

No rest for the weary | Executive Magazine

regulations [Published here on January 29, 2015] After decades of a relatively open border policy with its eastern neighbor, the beginning of 2015 saw Lebanon take unprecedented steps to monitor the entry and residency of Syrian nationals. Spearheaded by the ministries of interior and social affairs, the policies are an attempt to regulate the nearly 1.2 million Syrians already in Lebanon — as well as others seeking entry in the future.

The first of these measures came in the form of new visa requirements for Syrians and went into effect on January 5, 2015. Despite political pushback and concerns by human rights groups, Lebanese authorities insist this new policy is only the beginning.

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Water crisis: High & Dry | Executive Magazine

Debris and filth litter the camp’s water supplies

[Published originally here]

In an informal tented settlement just outside of Zahle, dozens of Syrian refugee women and girls crowd around faucets pumping water out of a large plastic tank. The “UN truck,” as they call it, has just filled their settlement’s communal tank with thousands of liters of water, and they rush to collect their share before it’s gone. After filling their buckets and bottles, they return, water sloshing, to their tents to drink, cook and clean.

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Can legal changes stop trafficking in Yemen? | IRIN News

Can legal changes stop trafficking in Yemen?

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.

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The Struggle of Female-Led Syrian Refugee Households | VICE

From left to right: Jilan, 16, and Iman, 17, who live in the Domiz refugee camp. Image by James Haines-Young

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.

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Refugees in their own homeland | Executive Magazine

A Lebanese refugee who had been living in Syria. Image by James Haines-Young

A Lebanese refugee who had been living in Syria. Image by James Haines-Young

[Published here June 5, 2014]

Halima Zaroubi, a frail 80-something-year-old woman, breaks into tears when describing what’s happened to her home. “Our houses are gone, our lands have dried up,” her voice cracks. “Everything’s gone.” Since the outbreak of the Syrian civil war, millions of people have been forced from their homes. However, Syrians are not alone in having to escape the country’s overwhelming violence. Lebanese by birth and by nationality, Zaroubi had been living in Qusayr, a border town in Syria’s Damascus province, for 60 years. Like tens of thousands of other Lebanese who lived and worked in Syria for decades, Zaroubi and her family were forced to leave and settle back in their native country. But rather than settling back into their native land as citizens, they now live like refugees in their own country.

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Syrian Kurds find no solace in Lebanon | NOW News

[Published here on May 13, 2014]

Abdul Samih, his wife Fidan, and his five children live in a small, shabby apartment in the St. Simon neighborhood of southwest Beirut. To reach his tiny home, he weaves through narrow alleyways of Hezbollah flags, martyrdom posters, and burly Lebanese men looking on suspiciously at him. Not only is Abdul Samih a Syrian refugee, but he is ethnically Kurdish – making him double the outsider for many Lebanese.

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Lebanese border town overwhelmed by Syrian war, refugees | Al-Monitor

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[Published here February 18, 2014]

ARSAL, Lebanon — The once sleepy little town of Arsal lies in the far east of the arid Bekaa Valley, along the Lebanese-Syrian border. With its unpaved roads and half-finished stone buildings, Arsal had been a typical dusty and isolated border town, but since the beginning of the uprising in neighboring Syria, it has taken on a much larger role: It is now host to a Syrian refugee population that is more than double the size of the town’s Lebanese residents. Arsal is cracking under the pressure.

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