Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

December 15, 2015

“What are things like in America?” – Letters from Aleppo (Part 2 of 3)

Filed under: General Homeland Security — by Christopher Bellavita on December 15, 2015

224 years ago today, the Bill of Rights was ratified.

“On December 15, 1791, the United States adopted the Bill of Rights, enshrining in our Constitution the protection of our inalienable freedoms, from the right to speak our minds and worship as we please to the guarantee of equal justice under the law…. In adopting the first ten Amendments, our Founders put forth an ideal that continues to define our Nation — that we can have both liberty and security, that we need not sacrifice the rights of man for the rule of law.”

Jeff Kaliner and his students remind us of a lesson easily forgotten:  as messy as our endless pursuit of a more perfect union may be, not everyone shares our blessing of liberty.

Kaliner teaches a homeland security class at the Clark County Skills Center in Vancouver, WA. His students were asked to step into the shoes of a child living in Aleppo and write a letter to a pen pal, relative or friend in the United States. Specifically, Kaliner asked the students to describe what they saw, heard and felt.

———————————————————————-

Dear Pen Pal,

My name is Mason. I am 17 years old and I am from Syria.

I have seen many terrible things. ISIS bombed my house last year and my mom and sister died. Even though I was very scared I wanted justice. So, soon after the bombing I began making weapons with my father.

I fear for my life and my family’s lives every day and the only thing that makes me want to live is my dad and my little brother. I am teaching my brother about how to make bombs. I am also trying to give him an education so that he might have a future after this war.

I wish we could send my little brother out of the country. He needs a proper education and a better life.

Mason Winstead

__________________________________________________________

 

Dear Pen Pal

I am writing to you from Syria.

Every day I patrol my area and look for anything that is out of the ordinary. The government has planted bombs.

In the morning I join my dad in the office to make bombs to use against the regime. Once I’m done with that my sister and I go and make sure the sheets are still hanging outside of our home so the snipers can’t shoot us.

On a daily basis I see war and I see people fighting for what they believe in. I also see my siblings suffering. We all felt it was best to stay and fight with my dad and I agree so that’s what we are going to do.

Even though I have lost friends who sided with the government, I know my help can make a difference.

I am constantly thinking about how I am going to die, I’m not really scared but I feel nervous as if when I die I won’t have contributed enough to the cause. I am feeling a bit of anxiety and stress due to my position but I am also feeling pride in the fact that I know fighting will change something.

Well I’m needed on the lines now so I have to go, bye.

Your Friend ~ Grady Baxter

_________________________________________________________

 

Hello Pen Pal,

My name is Evelyn and I am 9 years old. I live with my family in a country named Syria in the town of Aleppo.  Syria is where I was born and raised.

I believe my country would be better if we had peace. I feel as if I am terrorized for something that I have no part of. I love my family and we are at risk every day, knowing that anybody could die the next.

We are trying to make the best living here but it’s really, really hard. Bombs are always being thrown and destroying our property and our houses. I don’t think my family or any of us deserve this. We only want to be happy.

I see things that scare me and I know it’s not right. I see things like people’s heads being blown off and body parts laying around in the streets. It’s scary for me and all I can do is hope and pray every day and every night for a better tomorrow.

Peace to you,

E. N.

 

__________________________________________________________

 

 

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4 Comments »

Comment by William R. Cumming

December 15, 2015 @ 3:31 am

Tradgedy has many names one being Aleppo IMO!

Comment by Christians

December 15, 2015 @ 7:28 am

Thanks Bill, a terrific article by Michael Brenner — while this administration so biased in its ways fails to address the fact that Black on Black crime amidst strict gun las in Chicago really are not the concern of the Civil Rights ambulance chaser mentality of this Barack Hussein Obama where every 2:56 min a shooting occurs and to date some 2,808 mostly Black youth have been gunned downed by Black youth portraying a Black community who has failed to really depict a conscience towards Black Life Matters and by the way, an insult to all for All Life Matters as all are children of God….

…to the question of pen pals where the kids in Chicago obviously need pen pals far more than those in Syria for the preciousness of Black youth gunned down and having little hope while Michelle Obama worries about the school lunch program so while Tehran tests more missile launchings, let start there and than discuss these other issues related to pen pals and immigration of Muslims rather than Christians:

From Tehran:

The new, moderate face Iran is showing the world belies a sinister spike in executions in the country, with hundreds killed for such crimes as “waging war against God,” according to a human rights group.

At least 529 people have been put to death in Iran this year, including more than 300 since President Hassan Rouhani assumed office in August, according to the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center. Other groups estimate the number killed in Iran at more than 600 this year.

The stepped-up pace of public executions comes even as Rouhani basks in a deal with the West to drop sanctions against the Islamic Republic following his well-publicized “charm offensive.”

“Under the shadow of negotiations, however, Iran’s appalling human rights situation has hardly changed,” Iranian activists Payam Akhavan and Shirin Ebadi wrote.

The pair claimed that executions have actually spiked upward even as Tehran has participated in talks with the U.S. and other Western nations aimed at reducing sanctions in exchange for pulling back on its nuclear program.

The Iranian government executes more of its citizens per capita than any other government, with hanging the most common method, according to the center. Only China executes more people. Many of Iran’s condemned were accused of being a “Moharebeh,” or one found to be “waging war against God” under Islamic law. Others were deemed drug users or traffickers, and often hanged publicly from cranes.

“Since Rouhani’s inauguration, the increasing number of prisoners being sent to the gallows is indefensible.”said Hadi Ghaemi, executive director of the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.

Other executions were carried out in secret after convictions resulting from trials that were closed to the public and often did not even allow for legal representation for the accused.

Six Kurdish Sunni prisoners on death row at Ghezel Hessar Prison in Karaj are now on a hunger strike that has lasted more than a month, according to the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. The four are refusing meals to protest their pending executions and draw attention to religious persecution, according to the campaign. Sources described their conditions as “critical.”

Three Americans are believed to be held in Iran, with one facing a death sentence. Amir Hekmati, a former U.S. Marine, has been sentenced to death for ‘spying for the U.S.’ when he was visiting his family in Iran. He has dual citizenship, and the U.S. government has denied that Hekmati was spying.

Iranian-American Pastor Saeed Abedini, whose wife and two children live in Boise, Idaho, is still being held in Iran for practicing his Christian faith. He has been sentenced to eight years and his supporters say brutal prison conditions render that punishment a veritable death sentence.

Retired FBI agent Robert Levinson has been missing since 2007, and was last seen on Iran’s Kish Island. Although Tehran denies holding him, U.S. officials believe they have not been forthcoming about Levinson’s whereabouts.

Former Pentagon adviser Michael Rubin told the Washington Free Beacon there is nothing surprising about Iran putting on a show for the world while cracking down at home.

“It’s a common pattern: Iran always couples external outreach with increasing repression at home,” said Rubin, author of “Dancing with the Devil: The Perils of Engaging Rogue Regimes.” “Basically, the ayatollahs are telling their people: ‘Make no mistake. Our moderation is for external consumption only.”

*William, now let’s talk about pen pals and immigration where Christians are being slaughtered and this anti-Christian White House has clarified what so many have shouted in the past:

(CNSNews.com) – President Obama said Monday that calls from some quarters for the U.S. to admit only Christian refugees from Syria were “shameful,” yet the reality is that today’s refugee system discriminates, not against Syrian Muslims, but against Christians and other non-Muslim minorities.

Critics say this is because the federal government relies on the United Nations in the refugee application process – and since Syrian Christians are often afraid to register with the U.N., they and other non-Muslims are left out.

Fleeing persecution at the hands of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and other jihadist groups, Syrian Christians generally avoid U.N. refugee camps because they are targeted there too.

Most refugees considered for resettlement in the U.S. are referred by the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Applications are then handled by one of nine State Department-managed resettlement support centers around the world, a process that includes vetting and interviews by the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and takes an average of 18-24 months. There are occasions when a process can begin without UNHCR referral, but this usually applies in cases of close relatives of refugees already in the U.S.

Of 2,184 Syrian refugees admitted into the U.S. since the Syrian civil war erupted in 2011, only 53 (2.4 percent) have been Christians while 2098 (or 96 percent) have been Muslims, according to State Department statistics updated on Monday.

The remaining 33 include 1 Yazidi, 8 Jehovah Witnesses, 2 Baha’i, 6 Zoroastrians, 6 of “other religion,” 7 of “no religion,” and 3 atheists.

Updated figures of Syrian refugees admitted into the U.S. since the Syrian civil war began. Only 53, or 2.4 percent, of the 2,194 total are Christians. (Data: State Department Refugee Processing Center)
By comparison, Syria’s population breakdown in early 2011, before the civil war’s death toll and refugee exodus roiled the demographics, was 90 percent Muslim (including Sunnis, Shia, Alawites and Druze) and 10 percent Christian, according to the CIA World Factbook.

In the wake of the Paris terror attacks, some Republican presidential candidates and governors are calling on the administration to reconsider a plan to admit 10,000 Syrian refugees in the current fiscal year.

On Monday, Arkansas Republican Sens. Tom Cotton and John Boozman also called for a temporary moratorium, but as part of a broader new policy on Syrian refugees that also deals with the U.N. referral problem.

“The United States’ reliance on the United Nations for referrals of Syrian refugees should also be re-evaluated,” they said. “That reliance unintentionally discriminates against Syrian Christians and other religious minorities who are reluctant to register as refugees with the United Nations for fear of political and sectarian retribution.”

According to Patrick Sookhdeo, international director of Barnabas Fund, a charity campaigning to help rescue Christians from Syria, Christians fleeting ISIS “seldom go to the main refugee camps in neighboring countries because they are marginalized, abused, and at serious risk of violence in these Muslim-majority shelters.”

Sookhdeo says Western governments “must understand that vulnerable Christians are being overlooked in rescue program that take only those in the camps to safety. Fully aware of the victimization that is likely to await them in refugee camps, Iraqi and Syrian believers are mainly taking shelter in schools, churches, and apartments, or with relatives where possible.”

As a result, some refugee advocates say Western diplomatic missions should work through churches in urban areas in the countries neighboring Syria, to offer refuge for vulnerable Christians.

Prioritize the ‘most victimized’

In September Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, introduced a bill that would give Congress an up-or-down vote on Obama’s plan to resettle 10,000 Syrian refugees – and would also require the administration, when considering applicants from Syria and Iraq, to prioritize the resettlement of “persecuted” religious minorities.

On Sunday, GOP presidential candidate Jeb Bush said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that U.S. efforts to help Syrian refugees should focus on Christians, “who have no place in Syria anymore. They’re being beheaded, they’re being executed by both sides. And I think we have a responsibility to help.”

Obama, speaking in Turkey, said calls to admit Syrian Christians but not Muslims were “shameful” and “not American.”

**William, like the kids in Chicago, the preciousness of Life for young Black children and teens, well Christians are being slaughtered and this biased and tainted White House who supports the Muslim Brotherhood and Tehran along w/the illustrious Rev Wright who said to the media in ’08 and Barry Obama sitting for twenty years without getting up to leave…that as long as the “Zionists” have WMD in hand, why not Tehran!” Really? Wow!

(CNSNews.com) – President Obama said Monday that calls from some quarters for the U.S. to admit only Christian refugees from Syria were “shameful,” yet the reality is that today’s refugee system discriminates, not against Syrian Muslims, but against Christians and other non-Muslim minorities.

Critics say this is because the federal government relies on the United Nations in the refugee application process – and since Syrian Christians are often afraid to register with the U.N., they and other non-Muslims are left out.

Fleeing persecution at the hands of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and other jihadist groups, Syrian Christians generally avoid U.N. refugee camps because they are targeted there too.

Most refugees considered for resettlement in the U.S. are referred by the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Applications are then handled by one of nine State Department-managed resettlement support centers around the world, a process that includes vetting and interviews by the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and takes an average of 18-24 months. There are occasions when a process can begin without UNHCR referral, but this usually applies in cases of close relatives of refugees already in the U.S.

Of 2,184 Syrian refugees admitted into the U.S. since the Syrian civil war erupted in 2011, only 53 (2.4 percent) have been Christians while 2098 (or 96 percent) have been Muslims, according to State Department statistics updated on Monday.

The remaining 33 include 1 Yazidi, 8 Jehovah Witnesses, 2 Baha’i, 6 Zoroastrians, 6 of “other religion,” 7 of “no religion,” and 3 atheists.

Updated figures of Syrian refugees admitted into the U.S. since the Syrian civil war began. Only 53, or 2.4 percent, of the 2,194 total are Christians. (Data: State Department Refugee Processing Center)
By comparison, Syria’s population breakdown in early 2011, before the civil war’s death toll and refugee exodus roiled the demographics, was 90 percent Muslim (including Sunnis, Shia, Alawites and Druze) and 10 percent Christian, according to the CIA World Factbook.

In the wake of the Paris terror attacks, some Republican presidential candidates and governors are calling on the administration to reconsider a plan to admit 10,000 Syrian refugees in the current fiscal year.

On Monday, Arkansas Republican Sens. Tom Cotton and John Boozman also called for a temporary moratorium, but as part of a broader new policy on Syrian refugees that also deals with the U.N. referral problem.

“The United States’ reliance on the United Nations for referrals of Syrian refugees should also be re-evaluated,” they said. “That reliance unintentionally discriminates against Syrian Christians and other religious minorities who are reluctant to register as refugees with the United Nations for fear of political and sectarian retribution.”

According to Patrick Sookhdeo, international director of Barnabas Fund, a charity campaigning to help rescue Christians from Syria, Christians fleeting ISIS “seldom go to the main refugee camps in neighboring countries because they are marginalized, abused, and at serious risk of violence in these Muslim-majority shelters.”

Sookhdeo says Western governments “must understand that vulnerable Christians are being overlooked in rescue program that take only those in the camps to safety. Fully aware of the victimization that is likely to await them in refugee camps, Iraqi and Syrian believers are mainly taking shelter in schools, churches, and apartments, or with relatives where possible.”

As a result, some refugee advocates say Western diplomatic missions should work through churches in urban areas in the countries neighboring Syria, to offer refuge for vulnerable Christians.

Prioritize the ‘most victimized’

In September Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, introduced a bill that would give Congress an up-or-down vote on Obama’s plan to resettle 10,000 Syrian refugees – and would also require the administration, when considering applicants from Syria and Iraq, to prioritize the resettlement of “persecuted” religious minorities.

On Sunday, GOP presidential candidate Jeb Bush said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that U.S. efforts to help Syrian refugees should focus on Christians, “who have no place in Syria anymore. They’re being beheaded, they’re being executed by both sides. And I think we have a responsibility to help.”

Obama, speaking in Turkey, said calls to admit Syrian Christians but not Muslims were “shameful” and “not American.”

Comment by William R. Cumming

December 16, 2015 @ 12:53 am

Based on last night’s Republican Presidential Candidate debate it appears that the voting public is starting to understand that RADICAL ISLAMISM a term used by most of the candidates does not reflect the large numbers of Sects in Islam or even the Sunni/Shia split.

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