Syrian conflict hits home with international students
Published: Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, September 25, 2013 23:09
People are dying and disappearing every day in Syria, according to media reports.
Though the war may be on the other side of the world, the effects of it hit close to home for USU student Wafaa Arbash and assistant professor Abdulkafi Albirini, who are both from Syria.
Arbash, who is in the intensive language institute and plans to start her master’s degree in social work next year, said the war is something affecting everyone to some extent.
“When I was in Syria, I worked as a social developmental programmer as an active citizen,” Arbash said. “It teaches you how you can be a leader in your community.”
She said while traveling from town to town for work, she would have to get down “under the chair of the car” because of the combat going on outside.
“All the time, my family (would) worry about me,” Arbash said. “All the time, my family (would) call me.”
Arbash’s family lost at least one member from this conflict.
“I have a cousin who disappeared,” Arbash said. “He was with the government and the rebels caught him, and we don’t know where he is now. He has two girls — two children. There’s a lot of persons missing from both of the groups, a lot of people who have disappeared totally from both sides.”
Albirini, who teaches Arabic at USU, said several members of his family have died in the war. He said there is a Facebook page his family has set up for those they have lost.
He said he gets his information from Syrian and Arab news sources available to him here in the U.S., and although his family remains relatively neutral in the conflict, he knows of more than 30 members of his extended family who have died because of it.