The Syrian Crisis in Jordan

by Matthew Hall | published June 24, 2013

An hour and a quarter north of Amman the rural highway rolls through the remote desert hamlet of Zaatari without slowing. The town’s lone intersection is too sleepy to need a stop sign.

The Greek-Turkish Population Exchange

Internationally Administered Ethnic Cleansing

by Sarah Shields
published in MER267

The photographs are compelling: Greek Orthodox Christians are gathered in small groups on the Aegean coast of what is now Turkey, wearing too much clothing for the hot day, whatever possessions they could carry sitting at their feet, their faces drawn with worry as they stare at the water, awaiting the ships that would take them to Greece. They were being expelled from Anatolia, where their ancestors had lived and died and worked and prayed for so many centuries that most claimed no other homeland. These Christians followed a patriarch who had resided in Constantinople/Istanbul since the year 330 and whose massive cathedral, Hagia Sophia, had already become a major tourism site.

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Gaza: Israel's Soweto

by Joan Mandell
published in MER136

Gaza is Israel’s Soweto. Each has its own lexicon but similar reference points. The “township” becomes here the refugee camp. Military occupation, like apartheid, means segregation in residence, employment, politics, education and law. In Gaza, the pass card is known as an identity card. Here “removal” becomes “deportation.” In other respects, the vocabulary is identical: labor reserve, arrest, detention, imprisonment, demolition.

Refugees, Ransoms and Revolt

by Dan Connell
published in MER266

Filmon, a 28-year-old computer engineer, fled Eritrea in March 2012 to escape political repression. Several weeks later, he was kidnapped from Sudan’s Shagara refugee camp, taken with a truckload of others to a Bedouin outpost in the Sinai, not far from Egypt’s border with Israel, and ordered to call relatives to raise $3,500 for his release. “The beatings started the first day to make us pay faster,” he told me. [1]

Permanent Transients

Iraqi Women Refugees in Jordan

by Isis Nusair
published in MER266

“We do not know our destiny. The Jordanian government might ask us to leave at any moment,” said Hana, a widow in her fifties. “There is no rest for a guest.”

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Gulf War Refugees in Turkey

by Ömer Karasapan
published in MER156

A largely ignored byproduct of the Iranian revolution and the Gulf war has been the large influx of refugees into Turkey. The economic benefits of Turkish neutrality during the Gulf war led Ankara to downplay the problem, but the recent arrival of Kurdish refugees has strained regional ties and clouded Turkish hopes for lucrative post-war reconstruction deals. The large Iranian refugee population of a million or more is also causing worries, as struggles among Iranian political groups spill over into Turkey.

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Escaping Eritrea

Why They Flee and What They Face

by Dan Connell
published in MER264

Said Ibrahim, 21, orphaned and blind, was making a living as a singer in Adi Quala bars when a member of Eritrea’s national security force claimed one of his songs had “political” content and detained him at the Adi Abieto prison. After a month Said was released, but he was stripped of his monthly disability payments for two years when he refused to identify the lyricist. “I went back to my village and reflected about it,” he told me over tea at an open-air café in the Adi Harush camp in northern Ethiopia. “If the system could do this to a blind orphan, something was very wrong.” After appealing to his neighbors for help, two boys, aged 10 and 11, sneaked him into Ethiopia and all three asked for asylum.

Aftermath

A Profile of Tulkarm Camp

by Sharry Lapp
published in MER175

Eighteen-year old Anwar is new to bastat, street peddling. Two days ago his mother bought several crates of corn on the cob, which she boiled for him to sell in Tulkarm refugee camp streets. Recently released from a six-month term at Ansar III detention camp in the Negev desert, Anwar returned home the first day having sold nothing.

“There were problems in the streets,” explains his mother, Umm Jamil. “Anyway, no one goes out as they used to. Something happens, the army comes, and everyone runs. Who will buy?” Tulkarm camp, near the northern West Bank town by that name, is home to nearly 12,000 Palestinians.

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The False Promise of Operation Provide Comfort

Protecting Refugees or Protecting State Power?

by Bill Frelick
published in MER176

The US-led response to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait has had many immediate repercussions on the international humanitarian network set up at the dawn of an earlier “new order” -- the close of World War II. It also has more than a few similarities to the protection scheme set up then to assist and protect refugees and displaced persons, and similarly reflects the values and concerns of its time.

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The Displacement of Urfiya Hama Ahmad

by Joost Hiltermann
published in MER181

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