Post 9: The Life of a Refugee

Christian Caryl’s article, The Dispossessed, was really interesting to read and learn about. The article goes into detail about real life experiences that refugees had to go through just in order to feel safe with their families. It’s intriguing to learn about the different stories she mentions throughout the article. She describes Muhanid’s story. Muhanid and Mohammed grew up in Latakia, Syria. They had been stuck in Bodrum for a few weeks and needed out; the plan was Sweden. They gathered money over time and told their children they were going on a family vacation to Turkey, when really they were making their way to Sweden in a backpack, carrying important documents, cash, etc. They knew that they had to be secretive and avoid all things that can get traced back to them because of the risks of starting a refugee asylum process After looking through the comic, I more clearly understood the difficulties these refugees faced. They include the many challenges that got thrown refugee’s way, and all of the obstacles that were thrown their way that they just had to somehow deal with. I think the comics do a wonderful job at telling their story. They show each stage of the process and allow us to visualize the entire crisis from start to finish. Although I think the comics illustrated it better for me personally, I think someone who was very sensitive to this topic would not appreciate the way the comic was portrayed, in that it was not detailed and not as serious sounding. For example “the dancing stick figures” illustration. One might think that could be an incentive way of portraying these hard times.

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I also really enjoyed the film My Escape quite a lot, even though enjoyed is not really the right word to use. It was very interesting to actually see the action happening. What stood out the most to me was the focus on money. Refugees would have to pay a lot of money for boat rides. People are told that the boats are not crowded and have plenty of room for them, and when they arrive at the boats, smugglers have guns, but it is too late for them to change their minds and get off. They pay at least $2,000 for these boat rides, sometimes much more, and many of the people on the boats end up drowning. This film was a very informative and good representation in the struggles refugees faced when migrating to other countries to become safe. Islam was not mentioned much and did not play a role in either the article or the film.

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In Islam and The West: Narratives of Conflict and Conflict Transformation, Nathan C. Funk and Abdul Aziz Said go into detail about the stories of intercultural confrontation and intercultural capability. Intercultural confrontation creates a sense of bounded identity, where two cultures can confront each other with their issues in order to figure out the problems. Alternatively to intercultural confrontation, is intercultural capability. Intercultural capability is all about Western and Islamic civilizations coming together and understanding each other’s views and participating in cooperation. Funk and Said explain, “These values include respect for learning, desire for peace, esteem for toleration, and partisanship on behalf of human dignity.” Both of these together create conflict transformation. Islam and the West have opposing views, yet are forced to find a way to cope. I agree with the idea of conflict transformation in that it allows each culture to understand the differences between each other and create real change. If it is efficient, then I agree with it, even if it might not work for other cultures necessarily.





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