March 21, 2012 |
AREN, A TRANSGENDER refugee from Iran, was in a library in Northeast Philly last year when something surprising caught his eye: The Philadelphia Gay News . "I've never seen a newspaper that's gay," he recalled the other day. "I think, 'Wow! They are so free [in the U.S.].' " Aren, 24, who did not want his last name published, is one of the first four refugees classified as lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender (LGBT) who have been resettled in Philadelphia by the Nationalities Service Center, the city's largest refugee-resettlement agency.
March 19, 2012 |
Rescuing refugees fleeing homelands rent by war, natural disaster, and repression is a lofty American tradition - one that since 1980 has given more than 3 million of the world's most vulnerable immigrants passage to a new life. Delivered from teeming camps, they land in the United States with few possessions, meager job skills, and problems with English. They also arrive with the little-known obligation to repay Washington for their airfare. In the land of the free, they are instant debtors.
March 7, 2012 |
It is just past 8 a.m., and the refugees are lining up on a narrow street in South Philadelphia. Within the hour, almost 100 arrive. Men in woolen earflap beanies, lumberjack shirts, and hoodies. Women in shawls, sari pants, and sandals. Toddlers on tiptoes clutching their mothers' hands. All the faces, Asian. Suddenly, a pickup laden with 800 pounds of fresh fruit rounds the corner, quieting the bustle. For a moment, the only sound is the rustle of white plastic bags waiting to be filled.
February 27, 2012 |
WADI KHALID, Lebanon - On the Lebanon-Syria border, Syrian refugees scoffed Sunday at the idea of a referendum on a new constitution proposed by President Bashar al-Assad. "Homs is completely destroyed," said Firas, 25, who left Syria five months ago. "Who is voting? [Assad] is telling lies to himself. Everyone around the world knows it's a big lie. " Firas asked that his last name be withheld because he still has family in Homs, Syria's third largest city. Homs has become the center of the year-old rebellion against Assad's government.
February 17, 2012 |
Wallingford's lush hills are a world apart from the arid Horn of Africa. But a trim stone Tudor in the Delaware County suburb is a humming hub of help for refugees from one of the world's most repressive regimes. Since the birth of Eritrea as a nation in 1993, more than 200,000 of its people have fled the dictatorship of President Isaias Afewerki. Under his government, Human Rights Watch monitors say, "arbitrary arrests, torture, and forced labor are rampant. " Something had to be done to make this stop, John Stauffer resolved.
January 29, 2012 |
KABUL, Afghanistan - In the gray light of each cold dawn, the parents of 10-month-old Shoaib hold their own breath as they listen for the rasp of his, waiting to see whether their coughing, feverish little boy has survived another night. Winter's chill has settled over the Afghan capital, and with it, privation is sharpening, especially among the city's poor. Nighttime temperatures regularly fall into the teens or lower. The season's first snow is on the ground, the open sewage ditches are crusted over with ice, and in shantytowns such as the one where Shoaib's family lives, survival turns on a series of cruelly simple calculations.
December 20, 2011
The obits for North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il are filled with details about his weird personal habits and his country's nukes, but the history books will reveal him as one of the great mass murderers of our times. One of my most chilling journalistic experiences came in 2004 in South Korea, when I was interviewing a handful of North Koreans who had managed to escape to Seoul, and listening to the horrors they'd endured in their home country. Only a few thousand North Koreans have made it out, and they bear witness to the terrible suffering that Kim and his father, Kim Il Sung, inflicted on the North Korean population.
November 22, 2011 |
ROCHESTER, N.Y. - A Vietnamese war refugee who survived a 1977 pirate attack that separated him from his wife and infant boy reunited Monday with his grown son in Upstate New York after nearly 34 years apart. Hao Truong was tossed into the South China Sea after pirates attacked a boat taking refugee families to Thailand in December 1977. He said he managed to stay afloat for 16 hours before a fishing boat rescued him. In a Thai refugee camp, Truong learned weeks later that his wife had died; her body washed up on shore along with another female victim.
November 12, 2011 |
NAIROBI, Kenya - A U.S. satellite-monitoring group said Friday that Sudan's military was upgrading air bases near the border with South Sudan and building up air resources in what could be a precursor to a widened aerial bombing campaign. The report came one day after officials accused Sudan of bombing a refugee camp in South Sudan, which became the world's newest country only four months ago. The Khartoum-based Sudan government denied Friday that there was even a camp housing northern Sudanese refugees who had fled south, and said its air force had not bombed any area of South Sudan.
November 11, 2011 |
NAIROBI, Kenya - Military aircraft from Sudan crossed the new international border with South Sudan and dropped bombs Thursday in and around a camp filled with refugees, officials said. A government official initially reported deaths, but an American activist who spoke to aid workers at the camp later said there were no casualties. There was no immediate comment from the Sudanese government in Khartoum on Thursday, as deadly fighting broke out in the Sudanese state of South Kordofan between the military and forces loyal to South Sudan, according to official Sudanese media.