treize64 (treize64) wrote,
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treize64

Link Salad, the Refugee Camp Edition

-- The Lessons of Atmeh - Joshua Hersh, Virginia Quarterly Review, Fall 2014

"Of course, the problems at Atmeh were much larger than any one man, just like the problems in the uprising were larger than just Atmeh. One fascinating component of reading about Syria’s history in the 1940s and ’50s was noticing how many of the last names—and lingering family conflicts—ricocheted across the modern-day opposition. Of the many Syrian expatriates with whom Shishakly regularly came in contact were several descendants of people his grandfather had tangled with sixty years ago. The grandson of Muhsin al-Barazi, who was killed in the coup partly orchestrated by the elder Shishakly, now runs an agency similar to Yakzan’s, delivering aid from southern Turkey to distant, rebel-held parts of Syria. The granddaughter of Sami Hinnawi, who Yakzan’s grandfather ousted in the later coup, is an interpreter for the UN in Turkey. Even the head of the Syrian opposition’s humanitarian-affairs wing, Suheir Atassi, has ties to the old days: Her ancestors led the opposition against the elder Shishakly in the final years of his reign, and one of them mounted the mutiny that ended his rule. In public, the descendants talk about the feuds as bygone history, but at least one I met quietly described another family as a “nemesis.” Historical betrayals are not so easily forgotten. “I guess my dad killed his grandfather,” another descendent said when we met in southern Turkey. “But we could also ask him why his grandfather killed my cousin.”"

-- How to Build a Perfect Refugee Camp - Mac McClelland, New York Times Magazine, Feb. 13, 2014

"Initially refusing Syrian refugees entry might have been difficult, given the already open border between the two countries and the gaps between checkpoints and a war close enough to bring in stray fire. The Syrians are also mostly Sunni Muslims, and Turkey has a record of embracing refugees with ethnic and cultural ties; it absorbed more than 300,000 from Bulgaria in 1989 and 25,000 from Bosnia in the early ‘90s. Whatever the reason, Turkey decided to open its arms to its war-ravaged Syrian neighbors. Except for intermittent closures, when fighting is too intense or fears of terrorist activity at the border arise, any Syrians with passports can cross through checkpoints. They come and go all day, some of them driving in, others on foot, carrying their belongings in big bundles or wearing dress slacks and trailing roller suitcases. Turkey is building walls along small sections of its border where the Syrian-side clashes involve Kurds, and it sometimes closes the border to those without passports pending security clearance, as happened recently when large numbers of Syrians fled intensive bombing in Aleppo. But when I was at Kilis, even those without passports could move unimpeded around the checkpoint. They streamed steadily in and out of the olive groves, appearing or disappearing among the trees."
Tags: link salad, longform, non-fiction, refugees, syria, war
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