refugees-are-human

Today on World Refugee Day, we commemorate the courage, strength, and perseverance of refugees, asylum seekers, and internaly displaced people. There are currently over 65 million refugees in today’s world–the highest number in recorded history. They have been forced to flee their home due to life threatening conditions ranging from drought and famine to religious persecution or war. Now, more than ever, it is time to #StandWithRefugees and raise awareness to the plights and obstacles they face.

We hosted our first Issue Time dealing with how the global community can support, improve the position of and stand in solidarity with refugees, and communicate how and why refugees are human beings, just like us, first and foremost. Our panel, Madge Thomas, Deputy-Director of Global Policy and Advocacy, Global Citizen, Piper Perabo; Actress, Activist, and IRC Voice; International Rescue Committee, Elmo, Sesame Street Muppet, Sherrie Westin, EVP for Global Impact and Philanthropy, Sesame Workshop and Yasmine Sherif, Director of Education Cannot Wait, answered your questions here.

Looking for for some actions you can take right now?

- Millions of children around the world are in crisis – because of conflicts and disasters, many of them will never learn to read or write, or even enter a classroom. Ahead of World Refugee Day, Global Citizen will host our first Issue Time panel on our Tumblr page. Sign the petition to ask world leaders to pledge to the Education Cannot Wait fund for kids in crisis.

- The worst humanitarian crisis since World War II has ripped apart families, left children out of school, destroyed homes and revealed some ugly sides of humanity. But many people around the world have continued to support and provide for refugees with open arms, whether they’re individuals or governments. Write a letter to a refugee to show your support.

- Globally over 65 million people are forcibly displaced. They have left everything behind, fleeing from conflict, violence and natural disasters. Ahead of World Refugee Day, Global Citizen will host our first Issue Time panel on our Tumblr page. Sign the petition to urge the 20 most powerful countries to protect and support refugees everywhere.

Taylor Swift exhausts herself for fans on every single tour and even outside of tour. She’s found more ways to get in touch with fans than any other celebrity. She has invited fans to her house, she has a 13 hour meet and greet, she has free meet and greets, and even interacts with fans on instagram and tumblr. She’s used tumblr to actually have conversations with people. 

Outside of interacting with fans she donates loads of money to various charities, and visits sick children in the hospital. She has donated money to fans for heart surgery, cancer treatment, and even gave money towards college. One boy was raising money for a service dog and she donated to that cause too. She donated to Louisiana flood victims and also donated to the Dolly Parton Telethon when fire was evacuating people from their homes and essentially making people homeless. Let’s not forget giving $250,000 dollars to Kesha for court fees and you pathetic people actually complained and shamed her for this. (If beyonce, or any other singer had donated you all would have praised them to this day. And if a MAN donated that moeny you all would have been on your knees crying)

The charities she has donated to include: 

Abuse, Adoption, Fostering, Orphans, AIDS & HIV, ALS, Animals, At-Risk/Disadvantaged Youths, Bullying, Cancer, Children, Creative Arts, Disaster Relief, Economic/Business Support, Education, Environment, Family/Parent Support, Health, Homelessness, Human Rights, Hunger, Mental Challenges, Miscellaneous, Philanthropy, Physical Challenges, Poverty, Rape/Sexual Abuse, Refugees, Slavery & Human Trafficking, Substance Abuse, Unemployment/Career Support, Women

I’ve seen people say Taylor is selective in what she supports and that is bullshit. Never has Taylor ever made any comments that would say she support selective groups. The bolded causes above also combat this claim. 

Stop acting like Taylor Swift sits back and does nothing. Before the Women’s March none of you had a real reason to be mad at her. Even now you still don’t have a real reason to call her these names or claim she is selective in her feminism. 

And to the people who said Taylor voted for Trump when she voted for Hillary, now you’re just blatantly lying to support you misogyny towards this woman.

Women who did not go to that march are not defined by a march. If Taylor had gone to the march you all would have called her attention seeking and you know it. I saw people saying that Beyonce couldn’t have gone because there would have been too much attention drawn to her but someone who is as equally famous, if not, more, can’t have they same kind of understanding?

Stop with your double standards just because you don’t like a woman. Just stop. 

And stop using these pathetic, untrue excuses to not support Taylor Swift during her Sexual Assault trial. The word feminism holds very little weight when women have just as many double stands as society does. Open your eyes.

2

As of 2016, one in every 100 humans is now either a refugee, internally displaced, or seeking asylum. We, as Global Citizens, stand proudly with, and as supporters of, refugee communities and vulnerable populations, regardless of their religion or origin.

On 6/19, we’re hosting our first Issue Time conversation on our Tumblr page that will deal with how the global community can support, improve the position of and stand in solidarity with refugees, and communicate how and why refugees are human beings, just like us, first and foremost.

MEET OUR PANELISTS:

Madge Thomas, Deputy-Director of Global Policy and Advocacy, Global Citizen

Madge is the Deputy Director, Global Policy and Advocacy for Global Citizen and, together with the GPA Director, managers Global Citizen’s campaigning priorities in four countries. She also leads on Global Citizen’s campaigns on Global Education, including education in emergencies, basic education and girls’ education. Madge is a qualified lawyer with over ten years of experience in human rights, international affairs and development, including within the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).

Piper Perabo; Actress, Activist, and IRC Voice; International Rescue Committee

Piper Perabo is a Golden Globe nominated actress. She can currently be seen opposite Antonio Banderas and Jonathan Rhys Meyers in Lionsgate’s BLACK BUTTERFLY, a remake of French thriller PAPILLON NOIR by Herve Korian. She made her Broadway debut in Neil LaBute’s controversial play REASONS TO BE PRETTY, which was nominated for the Tony for Best Play. Outside of her work on screen and stage, Perabo became an IRC Voice to raise awareness of the refugee crisis in Europe and help those displaced by conflict, religious persecution and political oppression around the globe.

Elmo, Sesame Street Muppet

Elmo is a 3 ½-year-old furry red monster who lives on Sesame Street. Elmo loves making new friends and recently visited refugee children and families in Jordan.

Sherrie Westin, EVP for Global Impact and Philanthropy, Sesame Workshop

Sherrie Rollins Westin is EVP, Global Impact and Philanthropy for Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind Sesame Street. Westin oversees the Workshop’s programs addressing the needs of children from India to South Africa to the U.S., providing early education through mass media and targeted initiatives. Under Westin’s leadership, Sesame Workshop and IRC are partnering to bring vital early learning and nurturing care to children and families affected by the ongoing civil war in Syria.

Yasmine Sherif, Director of Education Cannot Wait

Yasmine Sherif is the Director of Education Cannot Wait (ECW). A lawyer specialized in International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights Law (LL.M), she has over 25 years of experience with the United Nations (UNHCR, UNDP, OCHA) and international NGOs. Her expertise stretches across the humanitarian, development and peacekeeping spectrum, having served in some of the most crisis affected countries and regions on the globe, including Afghanistan, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Montenegro, Cambodia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan, and across the Middle East, including Jordan (the Syria-crisis) and the occupied Palestinian territory, as well as in New York and Geneva. She has also worked as an Adjunct Professor responsible for the Masters Programme on the UN, humanitarian assistance and human rights at Long Island University (LIU), and has published extensively on international humanitarian and development issues, as well as international law. She is the author of the book, The Case for Humanity: An Extraordinary Session, which was launched at the United Nations in New York in 2015, a Huffington Post blogger, and has appeared in the media in Scandinavia, the US and Canada.

2

Starting Over (and Staying Persistent) with Olympian Yusra Mardini

This post is in celebration of Women’s History Month. Throughout March, we’ll be highlighting the stories of women doing extraordinary things around the world.

“I miss the smell of jasmine. I miss the old buildings and the taste of the Syrian food. I miss every single detail about my country,” says 19-year-old swimmer Yusra Mardini (@mardiniysra). Due to civil war, Yusra and her sister fled Syria when their home in Damascus was destroyed. “Refugees were humans before they were called refugees,” she says of the label. “We want to start a new life where we can create and achieve new things.” Only 11 months after fleeing her country, Yusra qualified for the Refugee Olympic Team and competed in the 2016 Rio Olympics. “I wish I could tell all the women around the world that we are strong enough and can do incredible things,” she says. “You should never forget how beautiful and powerful you are.”

The division of L-Corp dedicated to charity and progress specifically aimed at improving the world is given a 55% budget increase and renamed the Spheer Outreach Initiative. The initiative creates thousands of jobs specifically aimed at homeless, released convicts, and others who struggle to stay afloat. They help alien and human refugees across the globe, they funnel money into local community projects to encourage self-sustaining economies. SOI helps train disaster relief workers and vastly improves the technologies used to fight global disasters.

And when they are awarded an Oslo Award for their humanitarian efforts abroad, CEO and noted humanitarian Lena Luthor will take the stage and deflect all praise from herself, thanking her employees who have worked tirelessly to make it happen, the community leaders and organizers who work every day to make their piece of the world a better place.

and finally, she’ll thank that wide-eyed twenty something she used to know, who could barely afford the garage he worked from let alone an actual lab, yet who still believed he had it in him to change the world. One of the dearest loves she ever had.

“He used to tell me his biggest fear was that he’d never get the chance to really make the world a better place,” she’ll say, and she’ll have to pause a moment to collect herself, “but I hope, wherever he might be, that he knows…,” her voice breaks, “that every good thing we do, every person we help… Every tiny step we take towards that brighter future we always dreamed about, all of these things are irrevocably linked to him. I wouldn’t be the person I am today had he not been in my life, and his heart and soul imbue our entire outreach initiative.

"I’d like to think he’s here, watching over us and mocking me for getting all weepy,” she earns a laugh from the audience while she swipes her eye, “but above all that, I’d like to say thank you, Jacky. We did it.”

And with that she leaves the stage to the echo of applause.

I’m just saying, if you’re white, call yourself a feminist, and find yourself getting defensive over the term “white feminism,” you should probably reconsider your priorities.

Let me clarify: just being white doesn’t make you a “white feminist.” You’re a “white feminist” if your feminism isn’t intersectional. If you’re only prioritizing issues that apply to white, cisgender, heterosexual women, your feminism isn’t intersectional.

Issues like sexual harassment + assault, reproductive rights, and the wage gap are important, but they’re not the only issues out there (and in certain cases, as with sexual assault and the wage gap, they’re significantly worse for non-white women).

Our trans, queer, and WOC sisters are out there getting murdered just for existing. Our immigrant and refugee sisters are being denied human rights and safety. Their problems might not apply to us, but we have a platform that is denied to many others. The least we can do is use it to help them.

Newcomers Pt 17

Creten gathered what was left of his belongings from his home that had been burned down during the battle for his small town. There was not much left but he was happy to find a few of his books were still in good order or were salvageable. The Humans had offered his father a temporary robotic arm that he refused probably still bitter about being defeated. In fact Creten was sad to be leaving at all, for the last few days he had been welcomed by them and they had answered his mountain of questions and seemed pleased to meet someone who was interested in their culture. He and the rest of the now refugees as the Humans called them were being sent to Geeda with the others, they were told that it was being used as a holding area for those caught up in this war.

Ruffling through the burned wreckage he found what he was sent to find, a picture of his mother, he snatched it and ran out to the street.

“Father I found it!”

“Ah good” he said taking and looking at it with a smile on his face, he ran his finger over her features as if he was scared he might forget them. He knew that she had gone west towards the capital and that was likely where the Humans were going next. He hoped like they had done here they would not kill anyone they did not have to.

“You guys ready?” asked one of the Humans that was helping them into the trucks.

“Yes, let us go”

Creten helped his father to his feet and the Human picked up the bags and followed them to one of the rear trucks. Just as his father got on Creten turned to the Human.

“Can I really not stay here? I want to stay and see everything”

Hopkins looked down at him smiling and handed him one of the bags.

“You are brave little one and you have a good head on your shoulders, but the front is no place for you. Your strength lies inside your mind and your people will need you once this war is over”

“Can I at least…” Creten looked at Hopkins pocket smiling and he pulled out a few sweets.

“There those are my last ones”

“Thank you”

Hopkins lifted him into the truck and he sat by his father.

“Take care all of you, there are clean beds and hot meals waiting for you in Geeda.

“What about those who defended it?” asked Creten’s father and Hopkins turned to him.

“I can’t say for anyone specific but there are many survivors” Hopkins banged the side of the truck and it began to pull away with Creten waving goodbye to the Humans they passed.


They rode for hours with the tracks of the truck kicking up dust and dirt behind them making the small town they had called home fade from view as if being erased.

Going past them heading the opposite way were Gal and Human infantry running on foot and vehicles carrying other supplies and to Creten’s joy a Bastion. Behind him a flap that separated the drivers from the occupants opened and a Human handed them some protein bars saying the journey will be longer than expected.

The reason was traffic, there were a lot of vehicles trying to get in Greeda through only a small number of gates, and not all were Human vehicles.

In the weeks since Greeda fell it became the place for refugees to go and be housed by the Humans who felt it their duty to help those caught up in the war. One thing they did not stop and even in fact they encouraged was the travelling of Benemar merchants. They would come and trade their goods with the refugees and Humans alike who paid them well. Soon other merchants were making their way into Human controlled territory to trade their goods.

It was nearly midnight when they arrived at one of Geeda’s recently repaired gates and they were stopped once more by Human guards that came and inspected the truck. Many feared this was the moment the Human would show their true colours and kill them but all the guards did was ask them their names and hand them ID bracelets.

They passed through the gate and into the city which was rather quiet as it was close to the middle of the night now and everyone had retired to bed, the truck suddenly stopped and they were asked to disembark.

There was a waiting waiting of them and once they had all exited the truck it left them in the middle of the street with this guard holding a clipboard watching them.

“Hello everyone my name is Lieutenant Rosev and I am the one in charge of this section of the city. This building behind me is your new home” he indicated the large housing block that could hold hundreds of families, small townsmen like them could only dream of living in one of these.

“They have all been checked and stocked with beds and basic living needs, the water is a bit dodgy but we are working on fixing it. Tomorrow food will be distributed from a centre down the road. So yeah, find a bed and fall in I guess, goodnight” he saluted then and walked off.

They all looked around a bit dumbfounded, these were supposed to be luxury apartments for only the highly rich or privileged Benemar and they were being given to them freely and without questions.

“I don’t know about you lot but I have no intention of freezing out here on the street” Creten’s father Malthos said heading inside. He had become the town elder since the last was killed during the battle and the town survivors looked to him for guidance. They slowly followed him inside.


The next morning Creten ran to the window having been woken by the sound of low flying aircraft, there were hundreds of fighters and bombers heading west and flying low. He watched excited and memorizing their strange shape and holding his ears at the loud booming sound they made when they passed overhead. His father was none to happy at being woken so abruptly and simply shouted at his son to go to this distribution centre the Humans had told them about to get food.

Creten did not need telling twice as he already had his boots on when his father called for him.

The streets were packed, you would have been forgiven for believing that the city never came under attack nor was under Human occupation. The streets were filled with Benemar, both survivors of the when the city fell and refugees from other such towns like his. Children played in the streets, merchants had set up stalls and adults chatted. He headed in the direction the Human had told them the centre was and on the way he passed a building that was once a gathering hall but had been turned into a walk in hospital by the Humans. He looked inside and saw Human doctors treating sick Benemar offering such services freely. Such services on Bento were hard to come by sometimes and even if one could find a healer the price of such treatment was extortionate. But the Humans asked for nothing and gave without question. They were not unobserved though, looking up he saw Gal, not a large number maybe half a dozen looking down and moving along the buildings slowly, there were a few Humans sitting on perches but they seemed more interested in chatting with each other than keeping an eye on them. He went on his way and found the food centre, naturally there was a long line as it was the morning and people were waiting for their morning meals. He hated waiting, he wanted to explore and talk to the Human soldiers who he saw every so often wandering around unarmed but completely at ease.

“Creten?” he heard someone call his name and looked around but could not see where it was coming from. “Creten!” he heard again louder and closer and he was suddenly seized from behind and spun to face this newcomer.

“Selan!” he shouted leaping into the arms of his big sister “You’re alive!”

“What are you doing here?” she asked.

“Um..our town fell, the Humans sent us here”

Selan’s face fell “Why didn’t you leave and go to the capital?”

“Mother did, father and me along with a number of others stayed and fought”

“You fought the Humans?” Selan said shocked at the thought of her baby brother even lifting a rifle let alone firing it.

“We lost as you can see but they did not mistreat us, most of the those who stayed survived”

“Father?” Selan said quickly.

“He is at home, or the home we have been given”

Selan let out a breathe of relief.

“Where is Jeqan and Kop?” Creten asked.

Selan’s face dropped and she shook her head “They died fighting to the last and with honour”

Creten grew angry, he hated that word honour for in his mind it was worthless and so many died for it. “They shouldn’t have died at all and we shouldn’t be fighting either”

Selan glared at him “They are the enemy” she hissed.

“Are they? They have been nothing but kind to me and father once they saw we were not warriors, like now I am in line to get food which they say they do not charge for”

Selan said nothing.

“How many long hours did we spend in the salt fields scratching at the dirt in the hopes we might eat something or find enough to sell?”

Selan was a bit taken back by this, Creten was usually so submissive and easily spoken down to but now he stood tall. He had a new confidence that she had not seen before.

Finally he arrived at the desk where a Human female greeted him.

“Bracelet please” she asked holding out her hand and Creten put his arm up with his ID bracelet on and it was scanned.

“I see you have your father is in the city with you” she said reading a screen “Do you want to collect for him as well?”

“Yes please”

“One meal or the entire day?”

“Um…the whole day please”

She disappeared behind a curtain for a few minutes and Creten turned back to his sister who had said nothing.

“Have you tried their food?” he asked.

She looked at him out the corner of her eye as if refusing to face him “It’s not bad” she finally said and the Human reappeared with three large bags.

“This is your morning meal, your afternoon meal and your evening meal. There are few sweets in there as well”

“Chocolate?” he asked excited and the Human smiled and nodded. “Yay”

“Yay?” Selan asked not familiar with this word.

“It’s a Human word it’s used as a small celebration for when something happens that they like”

“Oh” she said “Let’s go see father then”

Creten turned and led the way and Selan watched him go a few paces “Traitor” she whispered to herself before following.

5

World Refugee Day is observed each year on June 20.  On this day, refugee advocates urge people to focus on the plight of those who have been displaced by famine, war and oppression.

By the end of 2016, more than 65 million people worldwide were forced to leave their homes due to conflict and persecution, data published by the U.N. Refugee Agency reveals.  That’s an average of 28,300 people per day, almost 20 people every minute.

From Kenya to Greece, our correspondents have traveled far and wide to tell the stories of those fleeing devastation in search of safety.

We asked five correspondents to share their most memorable moment from their time covering the refugee crisis. Read more here. 

From ’Burning Country: Syrians in Revolution and War

[I am afraid that it is too late for the leftists in the West to express any solidarity with the Syrians in their extremely hard struggle. What I always found astonishing in this regard is that mainstream Western leftists know almost nothing about Syria, its people, its political economy, its contemporary history. Rarely have I found a useful piece of information or a genuinely creative idea in their analyses. My impression about this curious situation is that they simply don not see us; it is not about us at all. Syria is only an additional occasion for their old anti-imperialist tirades, never the living subject of the debate… We, rank-and-file Syrians, refugees, women, students, intellectuals, human rights activists, political prisoners… do not exist… But honestly I’ve failed to discern who is right and who is left in the West from a leftist Syrian point of view… Before helping Syrians or showing solidarity with Syrians, the mainstream Western left needs to help themselves.]

— Yassin al-Haj Saleh

Tony Abbott and Peter Dutton have condemned the government’s $70m compensation for 1,905 refugees on Manus Island in a class action case.

“It’s unfair, it makes us look like we’re at fault here” said Dutton. “We don’t control the overseas persecution and conflict that is causing people to flee here for safety that we refuse to provide. I’m just doing my job as Minister of Needless Torture and Immigration.”

“Shhhh, that’s your secret title,” Liberal back bencher and self appointed Minister of Whinging, Tony Abbott whispered harshly. “We only use that in the party room - not in public.”

The record pay out has been met with welcome by human rights activists and legal advocates and tortured wails from Tony Abbott.

“We hates the payout,” Abbott hissed through his lizard mouth. “It burns us. We are allergic to human rights.” He shuddered in physical pain before retreating back into the shadows. “I’m coming out in hives! My skin will be ruined for weeks because of this!”

It’s Malcolm Turnbull, helping his buddy Mr Potato Hea- I’m sorry, Peter Dutton, stomp the hell out of some of the most vulnerable people on the planet: asylum seekers. Good thing we have Team Turnbull to stop people from drowning at sea though, I mean, what’s an offshore gulag or two amongst friends.