American Fears… I Can’t Breathe

America is scary and the people living in America are scarier.

I was born and raised in the U.S. and I fear it everyday. Sometimes my fear of America is the reason I can’t leave the house. Every time someone in my family leaves the house, I fear they won’t come back.

I fear for my brother from racists, general psychopaths and from the police. I worry that a wrong turn or a missed stop sign will lead to a police officer stopping him and ultimately sending him to the hospital or to his grave.

I fear for my mother who gets racial slurs thrown at her when she is at the supermarket or when someone in public pushes her, corners her and asks her, “Do you like my country?”

I worry that my dad will go to work one day and not come back because some racist will pull out a gun and shoot him and blame it on road rage.

I live in constant fear that every time the phone rings, someone on the other end will tell me my loved one won’t be coming home through that front door again. I worry because these things have happened to other people for far less causation. I worry because these things have either happened or almost came close to happening to the people that I love.

I worry because we can die at the hands of others and never receive justice on this earth. I worry because too many have died, been arrested, injured or harassed and very little has been done to bring these victims justice.

I worry because people can somehow find it in themselves to justify such hateful actions. I worry that I will never feel at home in a country I was born and raised in. I worry because aside from feeling at home, I don’t think I’ll ever feel safe and everyone deserves to feel safe.

I worry because I can’t breathe!

U.S. Humanitarian Assistance in Response to the Syrian Crisis

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE

Office of the Spokesperson

For Immediate Release

 FACT SHEET

March 31, 2015

U.S. Humanitarian Assistance in Response to the Syrian Crisis

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power announced today at the Third International Humanitarian Pledging Conference for Syria in Kuwait that the United States will provide nearly $508 million in additional life-saving assistance to benefit those affected by the war in Syria. This is the largest announcement of funding the United States has made for this humanitarian crisis, which demonstrates the unprecedented magnitude of suffering and urgent needs.

This new funding brings the total U.S. contribution to assist those affected by the conflict in Syria since its start in 2011 to nearly $3.7 billion. The funding will support the activities of both international and non-governmental organizations, including United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the UN World Food Program (WFP), and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF). It will provide food, water, medical care, shelter, protection, and other necessities to millions of civilians suffering inside Syria and nearly 4 million refugees from Syria in the region. It will also provide assistance to host governments and communities throughout the region that are struggling to cope with the strain of supporting them. The announcement comes after the United States provided more than $1.5 billion to those affected by the conflict in fiscal year 2014, the largest amount of assistance the United States has ever provided to a single crisis in one year.

The new funding comes in response to the $8.4 billion United Nations 2015 appeals for Syria and the region, its largest set of appeals to date.  Behind the numbing statistics are humans whose lives are at stake: the refugee boy who is forced to leave school to support his family by begging on the streets, the widow in a besieged Damascus suburb who struggles to feed her children, and the father seeking urgent medical care for an injured child in a city where few doctors remain.

The United States recognizes that along with our emergency relief response, we must look at the longer-term development needs of Syria’s neighbors – boosting their health care and education systems, and supporting their economies amid the strain of hosting millions of refugees.  In addition to providing humanitarian aid to refugees, this funding will be programmed in a manner that is mindful of the development needs of host countries and host communities in those countries.

Though nearly all of Syria’s population is affected by the conflict, Syria’s youth continue to pay the heaviest toll.  With U.S. support, the UN and its NGO partners helped over 360,000 Syrian refugee children in neighboring countries enroll in school in 2014, triple the number enrolled in 2013.  Despite this progress, the UN estimates that two million children inside Syria are out of school and one in five schools have been damaged or destroyed.  In the region, the UN estimates that half of Syrian refugee children are not in school. 

The onslaught against civilians and aid organizations by the Syrian regime and extremist groups we are seeing shows that the principles of humanitarianism that founded the United Nations remain under attack from multiple sides in Syria.  We cannot allow this kind of regressive brutality to go unchallenged. Impartial and neutral humanitarian organizations must be allowed to do their jobs; civilians must be protected.

The United States remains committed to assisting those affected by this terrible war, and strongly urges all donors, organizations, and individuals concerned about the situation to contribute to the 2015 UN appeals.

U.S. Humanitarian Assistance for the Syria Crisis, By Country

INSIDE SYRIA: Nearly $270 million. Total to date: $1.82 billion

There are now 12.2 million people in need of humanitarian assistance inside Syria, and U.S. humanitarian assistance reaches 5 million people across all of Syria’s 14 governorates.  This new assistance will support life-saving food, emergency medical care, funding for shelter and critical water, and sanitation and hygiene projects to help those affected by the crisis.  It will also provide critical relief supplies and much-needed counseling and protection programs to help the most vulnerable, including women, persons with disabilities, and the elderly.

Of special concern are Syria’s children who have been traumatized by war and many of whom have been out of school for more than two years.  The new funding will support children’s needs in education, nutrition, health, and psychosocial care, while also providing additional safe and nurturing spaces for Syria’s children to learn, play, and deal with the stresses of conflict.

LEBANON: More than $118 million.  Total to date: $792 million*

The UN estimates that Lebanon is the highest per capita refugee hosting country in the world.  Today’s announcement increases support to both refugees and host communities.  With the additional funding, UN and international organization partners can continue to deliver immediate cash assistance for food, rent assistance, education, healthcare, shelter assistance, and basic relief items like blankets, heaters, and hygiene kits.  The UN is also using efficient electronic cards to distribute aid and reach more people in need.

The additional U.S. funding will also support Lebanese refugee-hosting communities through improvements in municipal water and sanitation systems, support to local community centers and clinics, and improving school facilities.  The WFP program has had a direct impact on the local economy, creating over 1,300 jobs and enabling participating stores to double their revenue.  

The number of refugees from Syria now living in Lebanon includes approximately 45,000 Palestinian refugees from Syria.  Approximately half live in Palestinian refugee camps that were overcrowded even before the influx from Syria, with few resources and limited opportunities to improve their situation.  Additional U.S. support to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) in Lebanon provides needed aid, including cash, relief supplies, education, and medical care, to Palestinian refugees from Syria in camps and other communities.

JORDAN: Nearly $67 million.  Total to date: $556 million*

In Jordan, 85 percent of Syrian refugees live outside of refugee camps, in Jordanian towns and cities.  Our additional funding will benefit both refugees and Jordanian host communities. 

Our additional support to Syrians in Jordan aims to alleviate the need for children to work instead of going to school by funding continued cash assistance to cover refugees’ basic needs and shelter costs.  This funding also goes toward improving school facilities, so that all children, including those with disabilities, can access the education they need and deserve.

The WFP electronic food voucher program has led to $2.5 million investment in physical infrastructure by the participating retailers; created over 350 jobs in the food retail sector; and generated $6 million in additional tax receipts for the Jordanian government.

U.S. funding also includes support to UNRWA for the needs of some 15,000 Palestinian refugees in Jordan who have fled the conflict in Syria, helping vulnerable refugees access health care, educational services, and cash assistance for essential needs.

TURKEY: Nearly $28 million.  Total to date: $259 million*

U.S. funding assists Turkey in addressing the humanitarian and protection needs of Syrian refugees in Turkish camps, urban areas, and host communities.  This funding will be used to increase the number of social workers, child development specialists, psychologists and interpreters in refugee camps, as well as in 11 provinces hosting Syrian refugees.  Funding to UNHCR will provide tents, blankets, kitchen sets, targeted support to particularly vulnerable refugees, and technical support to government authorities. Funding for UNICEF helps provide programming for children emphasizing life skills, as well as awareness-raising on landmines.  WFP provides refugees with electronic food cards that allow families living in camps to purchase nutritious food items to meet their daily needs, and the World Health Organization coordinates the regional emergency health response to communicable diseases and will strengthen primary health care and disease surveillance, prevention, and response.

IRAQ: More than $17 million.  Total to date: $165 million*

In Iraq, the Kurdistan Regional Government hosts 96 percent of Syrian refugees in the country, and has provided more than 2,000 square miles of land for the establishment of 11 camp and transit sites.  This new funding will be used to repair health centers, expand schools, and improve water sanitation systems in the community.  Other funding will go toward initiatives targeting women and girls, to provide vocational and language training, general literacy training and reproductive health.

EGYPT: Nearly $9 million.  Total to date: $78 million*

The increased funding will provide assistance to Syrian refugees who continue to face significant challenges as urban refugees in Egypt.  The U.S. contribution will assist humanitarian partners in expanding assistance in major refugee-hosting cities such as Cairo and Alexandria with community-focused projects for refugees and host families in an effort to address the deteriorating protection environment.  Assistance will also target prevention of and responsiveness to gender-based violence, protection and education for children, increased self-reliance and livelihood opportunities, distribution of food vouchers, and improved access to health care services.

*Figures are rounded to the nearest million.

Funding Numbers by Country

Country

Kuwait Announcement

Total – Since FY 2012

Inside Syria

$270 million

$1.82 billion

Lebanon

$118 million

$792 million

Jordan

$67 million

$556 million

Turkey

$28 million

$259 million

Iraq

$17 million

$165 million

Egypt

$9 million

$78 million

TOTAL

$508 million

$3.69 billion

*Figures are rounded to the nearest million and may not sum to total due to rounding

Funding Numbers by Organization

Organization

Kuwait Announcement

Total – Since FY 2012

UNHCR

  $144 million

$914 million

WFP

  $100 million

$1.168 billion

NGOs

  $108 million

$834 million

UNRWA

  $57 million

$241 million

UNICEF

  $61 million

$300 million

Other (admin)

  $1 million

$7 million

ICRC

  $23 million

$103 million

IOM

  $2 million

$26 million

WHO

  $0.4 million

$30 million

UNFPA

  $8 million

$26 million

UNFAO

 $2 million

$3 million

UNDP

  $1 million

$12 million

Other Organizations

– – – – –

$15 million

TOTAL

$508 million

$3.69 billion

 

*Figures are rounded to the nearest million and may not sum to total due to rounding

For more detailed information on the U.S. government’s response to the humanitarian crisis in Syria, please visit: http://www.usaid.gov/crisis/syria.

# # #

From the NSC Press Office: On-the-record Comment on Egypt

Dear Journalist Colleagues,

 

Please find below an on-the-record comment from NSC Spokesperson Bernadette Meehan regarding Egypt.

 

Regards,

NSC Press Office

 

————-

 

“The United States has had a decades-long strategic relationship with Egypt.  Since the August 2013 Egyptian government crackdown, we have made clear our commitment to simultaneously pursuing our security interests and our support for meaningful Egyptian political reform.  Following the events of August 2013, President Obama ordered a comprehensive review of our security assistance to Egypt. 

 

Throughout this process, the President’s national security team carefully examined our military assistance relationship with Egypt to determine what types of support make most sense – for the United States and for Egypt – under present conditions in Egypt and the region.  Now that the process has been completed, the Administration will use the flexibility provided by Congress in legislation this fiscal year to provide additional military assistance to Egypt.  The Administration will not make the so-called “democracy certification” in that legislation.

 

The following decisions were made:

 

·         In the interest of U.S. national security, President Obama has directed the release of 12 F-16 aircraft, 20 Harpoon missiles, and up to 125 M1A1 Abrams tank kits that have been held from delivery.

 

·         The President has directed the continued request of an annual $1.3 billion in military assistance – specifically, foreign military financing (FMF) – for Egypt.  With this level of funding, Egypt will remain the second largest recipient of U.S. FMF funds worldwide.

 

·         At the same time, the President has decided to modernize the U.S.-Egypt military assistance relationship.  First, beginning in fiscal year 2018, we will discontinue Egypt’s use of cash flow financing (CFF) – the financial mechanism that enables Egypt to purchase equipment on credit.  By ending CFF, we will have more flexibility to, in coordination with Egypt, tailor our military assistance as conditions and needs on the ground change.

 

·         Second, beginning in Fiscal Year 2018, we will channel our FMF funds toward the acquisition and sustainment of new equipment in four categories – counterterrorism, border security, maritime security, and Sinai security – and for sustainment for weapons systems already in Egypt’s arsenal.  In this way, we will ensure that U.S. funding is being used to promote shared objectives in the region, including a secure and stable Egypt and the defeat of terrorist organizations.

 

These measures put our assistance programs more in line with current core U.S. priorities.  They will also create a U.S.-Egyptian military assistance relationship that is better positioned to address the security challenges of the 21st century, including the growth of an ISIL-affiliated group in Egypt that has launched devastating attacks on Egyptian soldiers and civilians in the Sinai, and to advance the military assistance relationship in support of U.S. national security interests.

 

We will continue to engage with Egypt frankly and directly on its political trajectory and to raise human rights and political reform issues at the highest levels.”

 

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Volunteer in Bethlehem at Christmas time. Join now! Volunteer Opportunity by: CADIP

Volunteer Opportunity description

The aim of this international volunteer project is to bring together people of different cultures to work toward a common goal and promote peace, tolerance and understanding. The volunteers’ main task will be renovating ancient sites near the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem which marks the site of Christ’s birthplace.

Restoration of ancient sites in Bethlehem

The project takes place at Christmas time, and the volunteers will assist the Bethlehem municipality to prepare for the festive season. The group will help with painting, distributing flyers to tourists, and putting up decoration to beautify the city. The volunteers will also have the opportunity to celebrate Christmas with the Palestinian people.

Celebrating Christmas in Bethlehem

The project also provides intercultural learning experience with a focus on Palestinian culture. The participants will visit refugee camps in Bethlehem, will tour places of interest, will attend lectures, meet local politicians, and most importantly, spend time with and get to know local people.

Project dates: December 22, 2015 – January 1, 2016

More info: http://www.cadip.org/volunteer-in-palestine.htm

Volunteering at Christmas

Share the spirit of Christmas and spread some holiday cheer while lending a helping hand on one of our charitable projects around the globe.

www.cadip.org

How to apply

Enrollment and other similar volunteer projects: http://www.cadip.org

Give us a call:

USA: 310-882-7400; 646-657-2900; 617-841-0400;

Canada: 604-628-7400; 416-943-4900; 514-316-8500

Location

Bethlehem, West Bank, Palestine

Time Commitment

Duration
Less than 3 months
Start and end dates
December 22, 2015 – January 1, 2016

Statement by NSC Spokesperson Bernadette Meehan on the Situation in Yemen

Press Corps Colleagues,

Forwarding the below for your reference.

Regards,

State Department Press Office

THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 25, 2015

Statement by NSC Spokesperson Bernadette Meehan on the Situation in Yemen

The United States strongly condemns ongoing military actions taken by the Houthis against the elected government of Yemen.  These actions have caused widespread instability and chaos that threaten the safety and well-being of all Yemeni citizens.

The United States has been in close contact with President Hadi and our regional partners.  In response to the deteriorating security situation, Saudi Arabia, Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members, and others will undertake military action to defend Saudi Arabia’s border and to protect Yemen’s legitimate government.  As announced by GCC members earlier tonight, they are taking this action at the request of Yemeni President Abdo Rabbo Mansour Hadi.

The United States coordinates closely with Saudi Arabia and our GCC partners on issues related to their security and our shared interests.  In support of GCC actions to defend against Houthi violence, President Obama has authorized the provision of logistical and intelligence support to GCC-led military operations.  While U.S. forces are not taking direct military action in Yemen in support of this effort, we are establishing a Joint Planning Cell with Saudi Arabia to coordinate U.S. military and intelligence support.

At the same time, the United States continues to closely monitor terrorist threats posed by al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula and will continue to take action as necessary to disrupt continuing, imminent threats to the United States and our citizens.

We strongly urge the Houthis to halt immediately their destabilizing military actions and return to negotiations as part of the political dialogue.  The international community has spoken clearly through the UN Security Council and in other fora that the violent takeover of Yemen by an armed faction is unacceptable and that a legitimate political transition – long sought by the Yemeni people – can be accomplished only through political negotiations and a consensus agreement among all of the parties.

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Counter-ISIL Coalition Provides Air Support in Battle for Tikrit

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE

Office of the Spokesperson

For Immediate Release

 STATEMENT BY JEN PSAKI, SPOKESPERSON

March 25, 2015

Counter-ISIL Coalition Provides Air Support in Battle for Tikrit

At the request of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, the Coalition today launched airstrikes in and around Tikrit in support of Iraqi Security Forces ground operations. These strikes were designed to destroy ISIL strongholds with precision – protecting innocent Iraqis by minimizing damage to infrastructure, and enabling Iraqi forces under Iraqi command to continue offensive operations against ISIL in the vicinity of Tikrit. All strikes were coordinated with the Government of Iraq and Iraqi Security Forces through our Joint Operation Center in Baghdad.

Before today, the Coalition has conducted 2,967 airstrikes against ISIL terrorists, 1,678 in Iraq and 1,289 in Syria.  These airstrikes have had a significant impact on ISIL – taking out thousands of fighters, numerous commanders, nearly 1,500 vehicles and tanks, over 100 artillery and mortar positions, and nearly 3,400 fighting positions, training camps, and bunkers in Iraq and Syria.  Airstrikes have also damaged close to 200 oil and gas facilities – infrastructure that in part funds ISIL’s terror.  In addition, Coalition trainers have begun training Iraqi Army brigades at four sites in Iraq, and Coalition advisors have helped enable more than two dozen ground operations against ISIL strongholds across Iraq.

The cumulative effect of these actions has been enormous.  ISIL can no longer operate freely in roughly 25 percent of populated areas of Iraqi territory where they once could.  Its momentum has been blunted, its ability to mass and maneuver forces degraded, its leadership cells eliminated or pressured, and its supply lines severed.  ISIL is now on the defensive in Iraq and the lives of innocent Iraqis of all faiths and ethnicity have been saved.  As Iraqi forces increasingly mount offensive operations, they must do so under Iraqi command, with concerted efforts to protect local populations, and secure the human rights of all Iraqi citizens as mandated under the Iraqi constitution and as Prime Minister Abadi and other Iraq leaders have pledged.

The United States and the Iraqi Government will continue to work together on our shared goal of defeating ISIL and training a professional national security force that can protect all the Iraqi people against extremist threats.

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Interim Muslim Advisor Job by: Dartmouth College

Job description

Dartmouth College, a member of the Ivy League located in the beautiful Upper Valley of New Hampshire is seeking an Interim half-time Muslim Advisor. This role supports Muslim students on campus and serves as a resource on matters of Muslim faith and practice, creating thoughtful religious life programming while providing spiritual support and guidance to members of the college community, with an emphasis on undergraduate and graduate students.

Successful candidates will show a demonstrated ability to work with college students’ intellectual, social and spiritual needs. A strong knowledge and understanding of the Muslim faith, including awareness of and openness to engage current scholarly debates in the Muslim faith, coupled with keen interest in developing Muslim life in higher education, and superior communication and organizational skills, are required for this position. The Muslim advisor provides religious and pastoral support to students, along with creating opportunities for greater inter-personal connections. While not necessarily leading public congregational worship, the Advisor ensures that there is public congregational worship for the Dartmouth Muslim Community.

Requirements include a Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience and education, a history of involvement with campus Muslim groups and a commitment to student development and confidentiality. Candidates will possess a proven ability to effectively advise students, empower students to plan campus events, collaborate and work in teams, and occasionally offer educational seminars to the larger Dartmouth community and local religious congregations.

Note: This is a term position ending 12/31/2015.

For the full job description or to apply to this opportunity, please visit this link https://searchjobs.dartmouth.edu/postings/29495. For more information about this opening, please contact career.opportunities@dartmouth.edu.

Dartmouth College is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer with a strong commitment to diversity. In that spirit, we are particularly interested in receiving applications from a broad spectrum of people, including women, minorities, individuals with disabilities, veterans or any other legally protected group.

How to apply

For the full job description or to apply to this opportunity, please visit this linkhttps://searchjobs.dartmouth.edu/postings/29495. For more information about this opening, please contact career.opportunities@dartmouth.edu.