Sunday, September 6, 2015

Pray for the Middle East

I have been busy preparing for classes and finishing up the New Faculty training. There are 3 positions opening up in the Math department and I applied for one of them, but will apply to the other two as well. This way I can stay here permanently (or at least I hope to). It has been hard for me not to be able to go home this year, and I am hoping things will work out so I can go home for a visit next year.
The weather here is still nice, but the nights are becoming cold which tells me winter is closer than I think. I am not looking forward to the snow...but, I am sure I can survive.

I picked plums the other day at a friend's house. It reminded me of olive picking because there were so many plums on each tree. We picked and picked and didn't even pick half of the 4 trees.  They were good plums, but I am not sure what I would do with that many plums so I have given some away. (they are a bit green-looking, but they are really good)

I have been thinking a lot about what is going on in the Middle East. I think that boy's body at the beach made people more aware of what is going on. 
It is very sad that many are suffering. It is not just in Syria or Iraq, other countries like Yemen also is in turmoil.  Over a quarter of a million people have been killed with millions affected by what is going on.  
I must say I feel guilty having no trials when many out there are suffering. I don't know what it is like to be forced to leave the comfort of your home and travel dangerous roads just to seek safety for your family.

If you live in Utah and would like to help, I found this website useful:

International Rescue Committee SLC 

I think especially if you speak Arabic, then you can help those refugees adjust and have a good experience here. 
Let us involve our wards and stakes and provide the needed support. From someone who comes from a country where half of it's people are refugees I know what it means to have someone to make you feel welcome as you come into a strange country.
The refugees need help with learning how to live here, learn English (simply by talking to you), how to find a job, ... etc. We all can assist with that.

If you don't feel you have the time or money to assist then please don't do nothing. Please pray and fast for those people that are suffering. Pray that countries will be willing to welcome them and give them the support they need. Advocate for that on facebook and other media.

People in the US would not ever forget the sad events that happened on September 11th, 2001 in the US. Let us make this month of September a time where we fight against injustices and stand with those that are oppressed and those that have suffered because of the hard hearts of others.   

I am going to include my brother's email and reflections at the end, just because I think they apply here as it could give us ideas on how to help. He has done much to help Palestinian refugees and even those who were about to become refugees (when Israeli troops would kick them out of their homes or demolish their homes or confiscate their land). He has been beaten and arrested many times for his efforts.  And even though his efforts to help some people failed (Israel still took the land, demolished homes and uprooted trees), it made a difference to those he helped. People felt so much better knowing that someone was standing up for their rights and giving them support.  My brother's website is
Here are his words:
"My political awareness started out in September 1970 when I was 13 years old. That is the first time I saw my late father cry. My parents had tried to isolate us from the miseries of the world but in this case he could not help it as he watched how politics results in innocent people massacred.
The quarrel between the PLO and the Jordanian monarchy had peaked into a war. Jordanian troops with tanks entered refugee camps killing perhaps thousands (no one knows the number) of Palestinian refugees as they uprooted the PLO armed factions from Jordan. My father still would not talk much politics so I turned to my mother who gave me a brief history lesson much of it personal. For example she told me about her school friend Hayah Balbisi who was murdered with her students in Deir Yassin. The images on TV of flattened shaggy shantytowns over dead bodies still haunts me. 

I began to educate myself of things they do not teach us in school about our own history: that British invasion of Palestine September 1918 was a direct result of Zionist lobbies that gave the Balfour and the Jules Cambon declarations 1917 and learned of the British imposition of apartheid through the first Zionist ruler here Herbert Samuels.

In September 1982, it was my turn to cry uncontrollably as I saw images of the massacres at the refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila (Israeli paid proxy militias). By September 2001, I had been living and working at Yale University for 1.5 years and I had been in the US for 22 years. In those 1.5 years in Connecticut, we had held over 20 events for Palestine and I had published dozens of letters and opinion articles on Palestine. We were happy we succeeded in pressuring Yasser Arafat not to sign onto the humiliating agreement offered him at Camp David that abrogated the right of Palestinians to return to their homes and lands (I co-founded a group that
managed to collect over 800,000 signatures for refugee rights between 1997 to 1999). We were planning more actions and more events especially in protest of the ongoing massacres committed by the war criminal Ariel Sharon in the occupied Palestinian territories. That was what some people had called the second Intifada 2000-2005 (my book on Popular resistance actually shows it is number 14 or 15). We planned events, held rallies, organized protest and also cared for the injured. We had already brought a
girl who was 8 years old who lost her eye to an Israeli rubber-coated steel bullet and gave her a prosthetic eye (Hiam was one of hundreds of children to lose eyes and limbs in 2000-2003). Another girl Marwa Alsharif was coincidentally with us in September 2001. Marwa Al-Sharif had a bullet in her head which was just removed by neurosurgeon in Hartford and she was recovering (I acted as translator for her and her mother)."


  1. Excelent post Sahar. Living in Iraq we would echo the call...pray for the Middle East!

  2. Thank you for this. My heart breaks for those fleeing for their lives.

    Re the plums. If you have a blender and freezer space, all you need to do is remove the pits and the stems and run them through the blender and then put in the freezer for any time you want plum sauce to eat as is or as an ingredient in dishes and sauces. Opening up the taste of ripe plum in January is a treat.