Last week I stood inside the crumbling walls of the last synagogue in northern Iraq. Abandoned over sixty years ago, the 2700 year old tomb of Nahum, rests in the Christian town of Al Qosh.
The sun is shining. It's nine o'clock in the morning and Belgrade has awoken. Lightly dressed and wearing sunglasses, guys and girls are heading towards the outdoor dining terraces for a Saturday breakfast. Even in Bristol Park, the park next to the bus stops, people start to move.
Countries surrounding the EU -- in the Mideast and Africa -- have not been ideal places to live recently. Think: weak economies, a little thing called ISIS, and a brutal civil war in Syria (here's your Skimm). Most refugees are coming from Syria, and trying to find shelter in the EU.
STOCKHOLM -- Although not every nation might share the peculiar "moral" self-image of Sweden, every nation ought to remember that a Europe that was once unable or unwilling to shoulder and share its human responsibilities and legal obligations towards those seeking its protection, soon became a Europe unable to prevent its own moral and political self-degradation and self-destruction.
With Iraq and Syria embroiling in bloodshed, the calamity is likely to deepen as Turkey officially entered the war by conducting airstrikes against the Islamic State (ISIS) and the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).
Five years ago, while working for the Swedish Public Radio, I read close to hundred asylum cases. I had received the authority to read Christian Iraqi's documents. They had all been rejected on their asylum applications. Many of the decisions were incomprehensible.
To me, Memorial Day is one of the most important days of the year; it is a time to celebrate our veterans with parades and lay wreaths at the graves of those American soldiers who have made the ultimate sacrifice. We are accustomed to honoring American servicemen and servicewomen, but it is important to recognize that there are non-Americans to whom we owe a debt of gratitude.
Wafa Fadel Saed Jawad sits in a chair amongst a pile of various t-shirts. At 45, she has been living as a refugee in Jordan after fleeing Iraq in 2003. What makes Jawad different from other refugee women is the sparkle in her eye when she talks about her home-based business.
What if we could bring a broad range of these personalities in the Muslim world together for an event celebrating diversity while showcasing unity, strength, and peace?
There is little comfort for the displaced people of Qarakosh who see the most recent attacks as perhaps the final act in their expulsion from Iraq. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi Christians have left the country in the last two decades. Estimates of the remaining total number of Iraqi Christians are as low as 200,000.
These are problems that can only be fixed with more funding and resources, and now is the time to respond. Not only are the displaced battling to survive each day, they don't know how long they can stay wherever they are, if they will need to flee again or if their lives will ever return to normal. When and how this ends, nobody knows. What we do know is that humanitarian aid is desperately needed to keep people alive. The road ahead is long and the international community needs to step up now to save Iraq before it falls beyond repair.
Peacemaking is among the good deeds incumbent on Muslims during the holy month of fasting and prayer. Distribution of charity and food, customary at Ramadan, is needed especially by people displaced by conflict. How, then, will Ramadan be celebrated in the countries worst affected by the latest Middle East crisis?
The United States and the other international powers should look beyond short-term strategies for reducing violence and combating terrorism, as the failure in their quest stems from disregarding the underlying issues.
Iraqi refugees do not have the right to work in Jordan, but they can engage in "under-the-radar" income generation activities. This informal work, much of it undertaken in refugees' homes, is a source of much-needed money to provide for their families.
Her name is Um Mohammad. I don't know what her real name is. At the first glance in front of her house which is basically a tent in Amman, you'd think...
Courage and determination are inspiring and infectious. Once you hear their stories, you want to help them succeed. You put yourself in their shoes.