Syrian student hit by Trump’s travel ban


This video from the USA says about itself:

Deported Arizona Woman Vows To Fight On

13 February 2017

Guadalupe García de Rayos became the first victim of Trump’s immigration crackdown, she vows to fight on.

By Zac Corrigan and Kevin Martinez in the USA:

Interview: Syrian student in US separated from family by Trump’s travel ban

13 February 2017

R is an undergraduate student at San Diego State University [SDSU] in Southern California. She was born in Syria, and is the only member of her family living in the US. Last month, President Trump signed an executive order restricting travel to and from the US for citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries. She attended a rally to defend immigrants and refugees held by the International Youth and Students for Social Equality, and later met with World Socialist Web Site reporters.

WSWS: Can you tell us your story?

R: I was born in Latakia, Syria [population 300,000], on the coast [of the Mediterranean Sea]. When I was young, my family and I moved to Dubai, because of my father’s job. After high school, I applied to colleges and I got in to SDSU. So I came to the US in 2015. At that point, the war in Syria had been going on for four years.

My parents moved from Dubai to London last summer. In Dubai if you don’t have a job for two months you’re deported, so it wasn’t very stable. But I can’t go to London, because I’m not a minor and my parents can’t sponsor me. I applied for a [UK] visa, but they rejected me twice, because they thought I would try to take refuge there.

So I’m here in the US on a two-year visa, which is about to expire, even though it takes four years to graduate from college. A visa allows you to leave and enter the US as you wish. They gave it to me for two years instead of four, and they said, “Just renew it!”

And now with this [executive order], I can’t renew it. And my family’s US visas are also canceled, according to the ban, so they can’t come visit me. For now, I can legally reside in the US until 2019, but if I leave I can’t come back. I can be here and continue school, but I’m separated from my family.

WSWS: So what are you going to do?

R: Well, I’m applying to colleges in Canada for next semester. But I go through stress that most 19-year-olds don’t have to deal with. Just thinking, where are my parents going to be if my dad lost his job? If I get kicked out [of the US or Canada], where would I go? I would have to go back to Syria.

WSWS: What would happen if you had to go back to Syria?

R: In Syria, it’s not like, “Oh, I’m gonna go back, I’m gonna start over.”

My grandparents still live in Latakia. They have no electricity and no water service. They buy car batteries to charge their lights. And imagine if you need medicine! When my grandfather got sick, I had to buy medicine here, and send it to someone, who then sent it to him in Syria. He’s 82! It wasn’t like this before the war. It wasn’t a rich city, but it didn’t have the kind of poverty, violence and drug problems that it has now. There are so many homeless now. There is basically no system there.

Syrian refugees have become cheap labor. I did a research paper about Syrians working in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan—Syrians who fled through the borders and needed a job. In Lebanon, for example, there is a ban for Syrians, controlling what jobs they can have. You can’t be a manager, or work in certain industries. There are people who were college professors now working as janitors. It’s hard on your ego, but you have to feed your family.

A whole generation of children that were seeing all this violence, parents killed, living with bullets everyday … They are going to have mental and emotional problems.

WSWS: How difficult is it to become a refugee in the US?

R: Well, before the ban, if you wanted to take refuge in the US, or seek political asylum, you went to a lawyer and filled out an application. And it’s not cheap. You’d pay the lawyer more than $1,000 for just one person. Then, it can take up to three years to get accepted—it depends on your language proficiency, how much money you have, and so on. After another year, you can get a green card. And then it’s about four years to become a US citizen. Total, it can take 7-10 years, and it can be canceled at any moment. That’s what has happened to people I know. They were years through the process when they were rejected, and they had to go back.

In the airport they now have the right to check through your phone and laptop and ask you for your social media, and go through that, and interrogate you. My friend who came back from winter break was kept for five hours at the airport. And he’s Saudi, which is not one of the seven countries [banned by Trump’s executive order].

I saw on the news that a Mexican man at the airport had a joke about Trump on his phone and they canceled his visa! Isn’t that kind of like a dictatorship?

WSWS: Is it different for the rich?

R: What a lot of rich Syrians did is they bought passports. There has become a market for this. A passport to a safe country can cost half a million dollars or more. Or there are other ways. If you can afford to buy a house in Greece, for example, you can just become a permanent resident there.

WSWS: What do you think about the actions of the US military in Syria?

R: On the news, they’re reporting that the US is supporting a revolution, for freedom and democracy! But what’s happening is that they’re coming in with troops, and Russia is coming in with troops. Russia has been Syria’s ally and they don’t want to lose any more authority to the US, like what happened in Ukraine and in Cuba. So it’s a power struggle. On the ground in Syria, there is no revolution, it’s US versus Russia.

The US’s role … some people say that it was a conspiracy, that there never was any revolution. That it was proven that there were agents sent in to spark this. [The official story is that] there is a war between Alawis and Sunnis. But my family is half and half. You think they’re fighting all day? No.

WSWS: What do you think about the claims of Trump that the ban on refugees and immigrants is needed to protect the US from terrorists?

R: You have to look at the facts. The US comes in with its military, and destroys the Middle East, Afghanistan, and then accuses anyone who fights against them of being a global terrorist. But when [the US] comes into the Middle East with troops and weapons, what do they get? Obama got a Nobel Peace Prize! How? He’s killed and deported so many people.

New England Patriots players plan to boycott meeting with Trump: here.

Drowned Syrian boy Aylan’s aunt speaks


Aylan (L) and his brother Ghalib Kurdi (photo courtesy of Tima Kurdi)

From RT.com:

West ‘did nothing’ to end war in Syria, says aunt of drowned Syrian boy

Published time: 13 Feb, 2017 10:31
Edited time: 13 Feb, 2017 17:19

The Western countries have done nothing to resolve the Syrian crisis, pursuing their false narrative instead, while the real situation in Syria stays underreported, the aunt of a Syrian refugee toddler who drowned in 2015 on his way to Europe told RT.

Our country is being destroyed by outsiders,” said Tima Kurdi – a Syrian-born Canadian lawyer and the aunt of Aylan Kurdi, a three-year-old Syrian boy who died in September 2015 en route to the Greek island of Kos from Turkey – adding that “Western countries are not doing anything” about that.

She said the death of her nephew became “a wake-up call to the world, a message from God, who told us [that] enough is enough,” adding that the Syrian people “were suffering for four years [at that time] and Syria was crying out to the world for help but nobody was hearing” to these pleas, as “there was not enough media coverage until” the picture of the body of her nephew washed ashore in Turkish resort city of Bodrum made global headlines.

That image prompted politicians in many Western countries to open their borders and take in refugees. However, “months later, they started to forget that image and just got back to their everyday business, but the suffering [of the Syrian people] continued,” Kurdi said.

She went on to say that the West not only did “nothing to end this terrible war,” but also conducted a “terrible” regime change policy in Syria that actually only made the situation even worse. The Western funding of the so-called moderate rebels only prolongs the suffering of the Syrian people, Kurdi stressed, adding that “there are no moderate rebels in Syria.”

“When [Western governments] fund the ‘moderate’ rebels, their [aid] somehow eventually ends up in the hands of the most powerful groups on the ground, which are Al-Nusra Front and Islamic State [IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL],” she said.

The military solution would never work in Syria, Kurdi said, and “we will just see more suffering and more people will die.” She added that she does not take any side in this conflict and supports neither Syrian President Bashar Assad nor the opposition, but she had talked to many Syrians who live in refugee camps in Turkey, and believes that the Western media coverage of the Syrian conflict is biased.

The Western media report that “only President Bashar [Assad] kills his own people,” she said, adding that this sounds absurd to the Syrians. “I want people to understand one thing: if President Assad wants to stay in power in his country, he has to fight for his country but he would not kill his own people as he needs their support.”

The reports in the West on Syria “do not make sense,” as “there is more than just the [Syrian] government and Russia there, there are many rebels, who are fighting and killing my people,” she said, adding that “nobody [in the West] reports about rape” committed by the rebels and stressing that those stories are “terrible.”

Tima Kurdi admitted that Assad’s forces “did hurt the Syrian people,” but did so unintentionally. She also stressed that Syria was “peaceful and safe” before the war.

“Most Syrian people were just living their lives before the war and did not get involved in any politics,” she said, adding that “all kinds of religions” co-existed peacefully in Syria. “Sunni, Shia, Druze, Alawites, Christians – we all lived together and respected each other,” Kurdi, who was born and initially lived in Damascus, told RT, adding that “most Syrian people did not want to leave their homes” when the war came.

She then addressed the issue of the refugee crisis and said that the only way to stop it is to put an end to the war in Syria.

“I encourage the governments of each country to help find a political solution and [to stop violence] in my country. Bring peace to Syria so that you won’t need to see those refugees anymore,” she told RT.

Kurdi also asked people around the world to be more compassionate towards refugees.

“We need to help those suffering refugees. They have a right to be protected and they are peaceful people, like me and you. There is no difference. We need to help them rebuild their lives and welcome them with open arms until their country is safe to go back,” Kurdi said.

“I want people around the world to understand one thing: what will you do if you will be forced to leave your country one day and leave everything behind? What would you want the others to do for you? Do it for my people!” she added.

Syrian refugees in Iceland


This video says about itself:

In Iceland, refugee population helps yield diversity, economic growth

24 August 2016

As refugees from war flee across continental Europe, a few have found safety in an unlikely place: Iceland. New legislation there relaxes immigration controls, worrying some residents — but more citizens favor diversifying their mostly white and Christian nation. In fact, the country’s economy may rely on population growth. Malcolm Brabant recounts the Icelandic experience of one Syrian family.

From daily News Line in Britain:

With 330,000 inhabitants surrounded by volcanoes, glaciers and geysers, Iceland is an unusual destination for refugees fleeing war in Syria. But since 2015, 118 Syrians have found hope for a new and tranquil life in the Nordic nation. Many of them lived in Lebanon for several years before coming to the land of ice and fire, sent by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Most of them have settled in the capital Reykjavik and its surroundings, while others are beginning their new lives in Akureyri in the north of the country, 70 kilometres (45 miles) south of the Arctic Circle. A refugee family said of Iceland and the weather there, ‘We’re able to adapt to any conditions here, whether they’re easy or difficult, we can live with them,’ he says. ‘It’s only the language that is a bit complicated. We need time to become fully adapted,’ he adds.

Mustafa Akra a Syrian refugee who lives in Iceland with his wife Basma said: ‘They, the Icelanders, welcomed us in a very nice way,’ says 30-year-old Mustafa Akra, thin glasses perched on his nose and a cap on his head. Mustafa says some people he has met in Iceland are ‘racist’, but fewer than in other countries.

Support for the anti-immigration Icelandic National Front, founded in early 2016 when the first Syrian refugees began arriving, remains minimal. The party garnered only 0.2 percent of votes in October’s snap election. And according to a survey carried out for Amnesty International in September, more than 85 percent of Icelanders want to take in more refugees.

‘People are shy to advertise their opposition against refugees. It’s not a popular view here,’ says Linda Blondal, the Syrian couple’s neighbour who is helping them integrate into Icelandic society. The couple knew little or nothing about their new home before coming.

‘We had never heard of Iceland before arriving here. We barely knew where it was!’ explains Basma, who wears a hijab. Mustafa, a strapping man willing to work hard, ended up finding a job. But it wasn’t easy – he speaks neither Icelandic nor English.

In Syria he worked as a taxi driver, a car mechanic, a cook, a house painter and an electrician. He now works for Ali Baba, a Middle Eastern restaurant in the centre of Reykjavik.

The family is set to grow, as Basma is expected to give birth to their first child, a boy, in the coming weeks. ‘I’m proud that he will be born in Iceland, as safe as possible in a beautiful country,’ the 28-year-old mum-to-be says. Iceland registered 791 asylum applications last year, mostly from Balkan countries.

Only 100 have been granted refugee status, including 25 Iraqis, 17 Syrians and 14 Iranians. A year ago, then-prime minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson welcomed the first six Syrian refugee families at Reykjavik airport. And on Monday, President Gudni Johannesson received another five refugees at his official residence.

Icelandic National Front Neo-Nazis Reportedly Threaten Icelandic Muslim: here.

Swedish Neo-Nazis Come To Iceland, Seeking Recruits: here.

A Nazi’s Disappointment With Iceland (1930s): here.

Al-Qaeda’s bloody Berlin Christmas?


This video from Germany says about itself:

Witnesses React To Deadly Attack In Berlin Christmas Market

20 December 2016

A truck plowed into people at a busy Christmas market in central Berlin on December 19, killing at least 12, and injuring dozens more. Police said they are investigating the incident as a probable “terrorist attack.” Witnesses described the horrific scene.

First, I wish all the relatives and friends of the people who died in this terrible event, and all injured people and their relatives and friends, strength and recovery.

Much about this atrocity is still unclear, eg, what exactly happened around this Polish truck, its original driver, and the Polish second person in the truck, who died.

Originally, German Minister Thomas de Maizière, police and corporate media claimed this was a crime by a refugee from Pakistan; which led to racist abuse claiming that all refugees were supposedly criminals.

However, unexpectedly, of all media, Rupert Murdoch‘s Fox News corrected this today:

Berlin attacker still on loose, wrong man in custody, police sources tell German press

The hunt is on for the driver who rammed into a Berlin Christmas market on Monday, killing at least 12, as authorities now believe they have the wrong person in custody, German police sources told the country’s Die Welt newspaper.

The Pakistani asylum-seeker taken into custody Monday and suspected of the attack has denied involvement, officials have said.

“We have the wrong man and therefore a new situation,” a senior police chief told Germany’s Die Welt newspaper. “The true perpetrator is still armed, at large and can cause fresh damage.” …

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump blamed Islamist terrorists, though it was unclear what that assessment was based on.

So, Trump ‘knew’ ‘certainly’ before knowing what really happened.

Also CNN admitted that earlier refugee-blaming had been wrong.

UPDATE: police have freed the Pakistani refugee. They don’t know whether the real perpetrator was a Muslim or not. See also here.

However, there were warnings that either ISIS or al-Qaeda might use trucks to attack Christmas markets.

If Berlin is one of these cases, then which of these two suspects?

Another atrocity happened yesterday in Ankara, Turkey. There, an off duty Turkish policeman murdered the Russian ambassador who was opening a photo exhibition. The murderer used the war in Syria as a pretext.

Bill Van Auken writes about this:

According to some reports, the Islamic State (ISIS) denied any connection with the killing [of the ambassador], while web sites connected with the Al Nusra Front, the Syrian Al Qaeda affiliate that has been the backbone of US-backed forces in Aleppo, hailed the killing.

So, there is a possibility, not certainty, that this Berlin bloodbath was the work of al-Qaeda.

There is a tragic irony in that. On 9/11, the day of commemoration of al-Qaeda’s bloody attacks in New York City and Washington in the USA, a German corporate media warmonger supported NATO waging war in Syria on al-Qaeda’s side, whitewashing al-Qaeda.

Just before the Berlin atrocity, Chris Floyd in the USA wrote:

An al Qaeda Christmas: The Touching Tale of How Hate Figures Became American Heroes

19 December 2016

You’re al Qaeda. You’re being supported by the United States in your jihad to impose extremist rule on Syria, but you still have a PR problem; too many people remember all that unpleasant business from so long ago when you blew up a few buildings in the US. What can you do?

Well, first you change the name of your Syrian branch two or three times. You make sure your spokesmen — who actually get respectfully quoted in the US media! — say moderate things in English but speak with genocidal sectarian fury in Arabic. So far, so good. But what if your new US media buddies actually got a peek at how you operate on the ground in Syria — cutting off heads, hoarding food aid, colluding with ISIS, slaughtering religious minorities, oppressing women, etc.? That’s easy: you simply make the zones you control so dangerous for reporters — killing them, kidnapping them, etc. — that they don’t go there anymore. Instead, they “report” on your activities from far away, relying on you to provide their information, telling the story you want told.

And presto chango, that’s how those who murdered Americans have become America’s newest heroes, the brave defenders of freedom in Syria. What’s more, anyone who dares point out the true nature of your organization, and how you operate, are now denounced as apologists for the loathsome Assad regime, or as Putin-lovers, even as traitors! Think of it; just a few years ago, you were the most reviled and hated group Americans had ever known — and now Americans across the media and political spectrum hail you as heroes and defend you from all attacks!

Sure, you’ve lost your foothold in Aleppo, where for years you systematically persecuted people and forcibly prevented them from leaving. But America’s still got your back, AQ! Even when you attack relief convoys in an attempt to scuttle a peace deal that would allow anyone who wants to leave East Aleppo to go free, the American media will fudge the headlines so no one will know that it was you who did the deed.

[And hey, let’s not forget what America’s been doing for you in Yemen! Remember how the Houthis had you on the ropes, nearly ridding the country of your presence — and then the Americans stepped in with their Saudi allies, bombing the holy hell out of the place, choking off food and medicine supplies, destroying the infrastructure for basic survival, killing thousands of civilians and putting millions of people at dire risk of starvation! And suddenly you were back, making great gains, stronger than ever! You simply couldn’t ask for a better friend, could you?]

So buck up, AQ! With the full weight of the American media and political establishment behind you, no doubt there are still great days ahead! In fact, the president has just made it easier for you guys to get even more American weapons so you can carry on your noble quest! It’s just our way of saying Merry Christmas!

Britain and war in Syria


This 8 December 2016 video from the United States Congress says about itself:

U.S. Congresswoman [Tulsi Gabbard] Introduces Bill to Stop Funding Syrian Extremists

While decrying “massacre” in Aleppo, US steps up bloodshed in Mosul: here.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Friday 16th December 2016

TOWNS and cities across Britain and worldwide are staging vigils this week for the people of war-torn Aleppo in Syria.

The Stop the War Coalition in London called for an immediate ceasefire in Aleppo by all sides.

A vigil in Bradford in West Yorkshire on Wednesday night attracted hundreds of people from across the multi-cultural city’s ethnic groups, with young and old wielding home-made placards and posters calling for relief for the population of Aleppo.

Stop the War said in a statement: “There must be a ceasefire and immediate stop to bombing and shelling. Aid should be sent to those who need it.

“Unfortunately those MPs who have supported past interventions are bemoaning the fact that more British bombs weren’t directed at Syria in 2013.

“The truth is that our government has contributed to the wreckage seen in the Middle East today with interventions across the region including Iraq and Syria, and backing for Saudi bombing of Yemen.”

British satire about the war in Syria

Shoes thrown at anti-refugee Belgian minister


Iraqi shoes thrown at George W Bush, cartoon

After, in 2008, shoes were thrown at George W. Bush for his Iraq war with over a million dead, four million refugees, torture, etc., other people were inspired by this example.

In the Netherlands, according to NRC Handelsblad daily, children have invented a game which they call “Bushing”. Children jumping on a trampoline try to duck shoes thrown by their playmates.

In Belgium in 2009, angry small share owners threw shoes at banking fat cats.

And now, in Belgium, translated from Dutch NOS TV:

Belgian minister pelted with shoes

Today, 01:29

The Belgian Minister for Asylum and Migration Theo Francken was pelted by dozens of protesters with shoes and beverages outside a party meeting of government coalition partner MR.

Francken is under fire because he refused to issue a visa for a Syrian refugee family, even though a judge has decided on penalty of a fine that the Belgian government should do that. The family are friends of a Belgian family that wants to guarantee the Syrians, and wants to house them themselves.

The minister was in a hotel at Charleroi airport … as a guest speaker at a debate of MR on the government’s immigration policy. The demonstrators who pelted him outside were mainly trade unionists.

Talking about refugees. Translated from Dutch NOS TV, 12 December 2016, about elections in Macedonia:

[Prime Minister] Gruevski and opposition leader Zaev have both promised in the campaign that the [anti-refugee] fence at the border with Greece will remain closed. “The fence was a suggestion by the European Union. And we work precisely and completely in accordance with the instructions and suggestions from the EU,” said Zaev.