A conversation with Sara, an Iraqi citizen who fled to the United States because her brother’s work for the American forces in Baghdad put her family in danger. She talks about the opaque process of applying to leave, and her complicated feelings when she learned that she would be allowed to pack two bags and leave her life behind. She also describes her work here as a translator, helping other Arabic-speaking New Mainers who are trying to adapt after starting from zero.
A conversation with feminist scholar Cynthia Enloe about how women are affected by war and militarization. We discuss the use of sexual violence, and its subsequent silencing, as repressive political tools, and about international efforts by feminist activists to make the United Nations address this issue.
You can read UN Security Council Resolution 1325 here: www.peacewomen.org/SCR-1325[Image is of Syrian peace talks in Vienna, 2015]
This week I talk with high school senior Eman, who moved to the US less than a year ago. We talk about how she dealt with leaving her friends and family behind in Sudan and again in Egypt, where she lived for five years. She talks about the uncertainty of being at the mercy of resettlement organizations, and her desire not to be ‘otherized’ in her new home. Eman’s confidence and resilience, which led to her being elected class president only a few months after arriving in this country, are truly inspiring.
This week I speak with Taysier, who moved to Maine in 2015 with three of her children. Taysier is from Sudan, where she volunteered with humanitarian aid organizations in Darfur. Because of this, she was detained by the Sudanese government, who accused her of spying. In this interview she tells her story of her escape, and talks about her life since moving to America, including how she responds to anti-Muslim attitudes.
This week, in the second half of my conversation with Colby College anthropology professor Catherine Besteman, we talk about the immense challenges that Somali refugees face upon their arrival, and how they are helped through the extraordinary volunteer efforts of their fellow immigrants. We also discuss what the data reveal about whether refugees are a financial burden on the state, and talk about how to address the problem of xenophobia.