When Pictures Wake us Up

The world grows tired but pictures wake us up. The world is weary of words, but pictures change the conversation. I write about refugees, knowing that there are those shaking their heads "yeah, yeah, we know already." This is coded language for the longer "We know there are refugees, we know there are overwhelming needs. … Continue reading When Pictures Wake us Up

Small Things for the Kingdom

"Long ago, it seemed, I had been ruined for the ordinary."  It was six years ago that I had the opportunity to go to Pakistan, place of my childhood and land that I love, to work with displaced people. Massive floods had uprooted millions of people and Pakistan was feeling the after effects. Villages sat empty, every … Continue reading Small Things for the Kingdom

There’s so Much to Do

I wake up thinking "There is so much to do!" Housework and writing; communicating and catching up; praying and reflecting.  But I'm caught in this trap of media watching. It's a vicious cycle of anger and laughter and sadness - but mostly anger. There's so much to do, but I'm caught. I'm right where the … Continue reading There’s so Much to Do

And Lady Liberty Weeps….

  "Give me your tired, your poor," she says. Ah, but first we must verify income and employability; we must make sure these people fit with "our way of life." We must make sure these creatures are not leeches who steal jobs from those who really belong. "Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free," Make sure the … Continue reading And Lady Liberty Weeps….

Imagine for a Moment…

"Rootlessness — the implied weakness of it — is treated as a failure. That is plainly schizophrenic: In a world where one in seven people is displaced, the failure must be of planetary scale. It belongs to all of us. This is a century of dislocation not merely of body and home, but also of … Continue reading Imagine for a Moment…

Podcast -On Refugees, Fear, and Politics

Good morning! After an incredible weekend with my people at Families in Global Transition, I am sending you to a podcast that Anita Lustrea did with me last week. We talked about Pakistan, refugees, fear, politics, and how America needs a spanking. I would love to have you take a listen and let me know … Continue reading Podcast -On Refugees, Fear, and Politics

For Sale Cheap: Kidneys and Children

"An entire criminal infrastructure has developed over the past 18 months around exploiting the migrant flow." Brian Donald, Europol Chief of Staff to Observer   It was five in the evening and we had just returned from South Lebanon. We had an hour before our evening appointment and so we collapsed on the bed, drained. … Continue reading For Sale Cheap: Kidneys and Children

Scraps from the Table

"Pity and what it offers are scraps from the table. Justice is a seat at the table."* Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan. Three vastly different countries with different histories and different politics. They don't even speak the same dialects of Arabic, but they are lumped together in the two-dimensional view that the Western world has of the Middle … Continue reading Scraps from the Table

On Being Bold on my Birthday

So....today is my birthday! For years, I would wander around my workplace, Eeyore-like, thinking "No one is going to wish me a happy birthday. I hate this. I hate being here." And then I watched my gorgeous and sassy friend from Portugal on her birthday. She let everyone, I mean EVERYONE, know about her birthday. … Continue reading On Being Bold on my Birthday

It’s a Baby!

  I have several friends who have had babies in the past year. These babies are beautiful -- a couple of them boys, a couple of them girls. I watch in amazement as they grow week by week - one week soft, sweet-smelling lumps that look around at the world they came into in wonder; the … Continue reading It’s a Baby!

Valley of Weeping

We arrived in the Bekaa Valley and immediately felt the temperature change. It was cold and damp, the sun hidden behind a grey cloud. We entered a cold, concrete warehouse full of large, blue bags and boxes. This is where food and supplies are stored for refugees in the area. A truck was parked outside and volunteers were … Continue reading Valley of Weeping

“Days of the Week”

Like most things, the refugee crisis is complex and three-dimensional. And one of the things that goes along with this work are the moments and times of extraordinary joy. This is one of those times. The children in the video are Syrian refugees living in Lebanon. They go to a school that is run by … Continue reading “Days of the Week”

And We’re Back…

Last night we arrived back to Terminal E at Logan International Airport. The trip began early morning in Lebanon and by the time we arrived we had been up for 24 hours. A wet snow was falling as we made our way out of the terminal, a contrast to our 60 degrees and sunny in … Continue reading And We’re Back…

The More I Learn, the Less I Know

I have the extraordinary privilege of being in Lebanon and just returned from a trip to Bekaa Valley.   There are thousands of refugees in the valley and we are with a group called Heart for Lebanon. Heart for Lebanon is working with 1300 families in 13 different camps. We visited the largest camp today.  … Continue reading The More I Learn, the Less I Know

Truth Echoes

"Did you hear? Did you hear what they did about immigration?" My friend's eyes were big and troubled. "No." I said. Janira is originally from El Salvador. She has been living in the United States for over 15 years. She works at a hospital, pays taxes, and tries to get by. She is a U.S … Continue reading Truth Echoes

Love, Fear and the Syrian Refugee

The NYTimes Daily Briefing had this to say this morning: Donald J. Trump, called for a “total and complete shutdown” of Muslims entering the country. At an assembly at Liberty University on Friday, Jerry Falwell Jr., under the banner "Training Champions for Christ since 1971"  said this: “If more good people had concealed-carry permits, then we could end … Continue reading Love, Fear and the Syrian Refugee

Syrian Moms Speak

"So now I know what the word 'refugee' means, that you leave your own country Syria, and you come to a strange land that you don't know, and you stay there and suffer its difficulties. That's the word 'refugee', it's very strange"* Sometimes my words and passion feel tired. I think to myself "I'm saying … Continue reading Syrian Moms Speak

His Mercy Echoes

  Yesterday my mom wrote a comment on my post that is worthy of a space of its own. Here it is:  From my mom - Pauline Brown:  I recently read the story told by a Vietnamese American woman. Her grandparents, her mother and two aunts escaped as Saigon was falling. The woman had worked … Continue reading His Mercy Echoes