Wednesday, August 02, 2006

No news from China




Still no news from China. Imm H. is still waiting for news from her husband in China. She's called him a couple of times now and told him that she is still with their four kids in a school waiting for the paperwork he needs to do so the children can get passports. In Lebanon, only the father is entitled to apply for passports for his children. But her children have constant diarrhea, her 16 year old daughter can't stop crying and avoiding cameras: "It's true we are refugees, but I don’t want the world to know about it". So until we hear from China, Imm H. and her four children will still be waiting at the school.

"Condi" is the new nickname that one of little girls has proudly acquired. Her parents call her Condi and burst into laughs whenever they see her scheming against other kids. But she grew somehow proud of this nickname. Condi, Gihane and Lina invited me to spend the night with them tonight. I told them that I couldn’t and that I had to stay with my mother. "What about your dad? He can keep her company". I told them that my father had died. "How old were you?" they wondered. When they learned that I was their age, their faces changed immediately and there was a immediate role shift. Suddenly, they were sweeter and more attentive. They asked me if I wanted chocolate and if I needed a Coke. But as one of the boys began drawing on my shirt, Condi whispers to him: "shhhhhhhht! Zeina's father has died. And she was our age so cut it out!".

It was the first time the girls felt sorry for me. For the first time in two weeks they had more than I did and they knew it. For the first time in two weeks, I had less than they did and I was happy.


"Lina and Gihane"

6 Comments:

Blogger chick/dude said...

I'm wondering, as an American living in this relatively rich and secure country--is there any way that children who have been orphaned or who are in distress can be brought to America somehow? What will happen to these kids? Are there humanitarian international adoptions that are possible? I see these kids, and hear there stories, and I feel like we are all their parents. Not that what's happening to adults is any less horrible.

August 02, 2006 3:19 am  
Anonymous observer said...

Kopetsky,
no disrespect meant, but the BEST thing you could do is to keep telling these stories to people you know & meet. contact your representatives and your government and let them know you don't support this and you want it to end!

these children really need to be with their families, friends and home. removing them and placing them in a completely foreign environment would just add to the trauma.

August 02, 2006 1:34 pm  
Blogger chick/dude said...

I can imagine that you're right. I grew up personally in leftist-professor America, in a completely multiracial and multicultural world (I'm multiracial myself--black mother, white father). International and trans-racial adoptions were very common, and generally very unproblematic. I just wonder what will happen to the kids whose parents and homes have been destroyed, and how this will play out if Israel goes ahead with their insane ground war idea. As a professor in New York City, I wonder, then, also, if there would be a way to invite students from Lebanon to come to study in American universities. Basically I am just trying to think of more immediate ways to help...

And I am trying to spread the word as broadly as I can, of course. I will try to think of whatever I can do additionally. Let me know if you come up with any ideas.

August 02, 2006 3:42 pm  
Anonymous dr. annie seaton said...

(same person as kopetsky, I just thought I'd use my real name)...

So, I just sent a link to your blog to a friend of mine who is a big American media-head. I hope that she can do something. I'm going to send it to a bunch of other people and keep trying to spread the word, hopefully it will help. You're very inspiring, and I found the "Condi" reference to be extremely amusing. Condi herself grew up in a war zone, ironically--blacks were bombed literally dozens of times by racist whites where she grew up. It's one of those paradoxes.

August 02, 2006 3:53 pm  
Blogger athina said...

Hi Annie. It's good to know ordinary people in North America are thinking of ways to help. It is very easy to feel paralysed, even in a place like the UK, a real 'democracy'. Personally, I think the most valuable and immediate help to these children is what Zeina is doing in Beirut: just being with them regularly, giving them some sense of childhood, and answering all their questions honestly.

August 03, 2006 10:05 am  
Anonymous dr. annie seaton said...

Athina,

It would be much better if all of this weren't happening. But in the meantime, I feel responsible as an American.

I'm writing a post for a friend's blog, and I sent this blog to a few friends in the American left-wing media, hoping to at least raise awareness. Sometimes things really happen just one person at a time. If anybody from this blog in Lebanon reads this, and could spare a few minutes to chat with me online for an interview, it would be great. You can email me at aseaton@fas.harvard.edu.

I really hope that somehow this can help...

Annie

August 03, 2006 4:54 pm  

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