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Monday, December 28, 2015

Happy New Year from Linux Beach

I hope the end of 2015 sees you well. I have had a very good year. 2016 promises to be a very tumultuous year in politics so I expect to be blogging about more than Syria next year. Among other things, 2015 saw Linux Beach branch out in the number of new directions language-wise, I expect to see that continue in 2016 as well.

Our crossing of the language barrier was first facilitated by a Syrian by the name of Basel Watfa when he contacted me in mid-2013 and offered to translate some of my writings on Syria into Arabic. He did a number of pieces and after the massive sarin attack in suburban Damascus in August of 2013, he translated his wife's eye witness report into English for us. His wife, Luna Watfa is one of the people who took the pictures of the sarin victims. When she was arrested by the Assad regime in Damascus, they found 800 of these pictures on her laptop and she spent more than a year in Assad's prisons. After she was released, she reunited with Basel in Turkey, and traveling the same path as thousands of other Syrian refugees, they have now made their way to Germany.

In spite of all the hardship they have suffered, Luna and Basel have given us much. I soon expect to have up a narrative recounting her work in East Ghouta after the sarin attack and her arrest, interrogation and detention at Adra women's prison. She has also written a series of very informative articles for about the Syrian refugee experience for the German all-media giant Die Rheinpfalz which we have translated and republished at Linux Beach. Now she has given us yet another gift, a beautiful photo essay about the Syrian refugee experience that says in pictures more than ever could be put into words. I invite you to give it a look see. 
The orange shore where life vests turned to be symbols of previous life, life that should be thrown back entirely. Mytilini Island, Greece 2/9/2015.
Basel & Luna Watfa

Syrian Refugee Fund
While I know this is the time of year when everyone and his brother is asking you to give to this cause or the other, I want you to think hard about the Syrian refugee crisis and what you have done for them lately. So here's my pitch: Luna and Basel Watfa are two Syrian refugees who badly need your help. You know them by name. You know their work. Any contribution you make to their welfare doubles in value because they give back.

We badly need them both in a stable environment with good Internet so they can get back to work, for Basel - translating important communications in both directions, for Luna - using words and images to report the story, So please give whatever you can. 

Happy New Year,

Clay Claiborne

Related posts:
From Luna Watfa: "Do not stop, keep going ... keep moving!"
From Luna Watfa: Death accompanies you on every step
From Syria refugees Luna & Basel Watfa: Like living in the Stone Age
A report from Luna & Basel, Syrian refugees in Germany: "Waiting is not Healthy"
Basel & Luna made it from Syria to Germany safely but they still need your help

Click here for a list of my other blogs on Syria

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