News & Resources

IRAP’s Middle East Field Director in HuffPo: Compassion Over Fear

IRAP is proud to share this powerful op-ed in The Huffington Post, written by our Middle East Field Director, Kate Norland List. List works in IRAP’s Beirut, Lebanon office, and her everyday experiences with clients affords her firsthand insight into why resettlement is such a crucial protection mechanism.

“In classical Arabic poetry,” writes List, “there is a wonderful theme of the one who seeks refuge and the one who grants it. It was not only good to offer refuge to the lost stranger emerging out of the horizon — it was a point of honor, because it demonstrated that the one who granted refuge was strong enough to be unafraid. Unafraid of the stranger in need and unafraid of his pursuer. Weaker tribes restricted the power to grant refuge, while stronger tribes proudly bestowed the right even on their children….

“ISIS wants to trap Syrians in its perverse nightmarish world and has released propaganda videos calling refugees back; the Assad regime keeps lists of the wanted at checkpoints so that they can be arrested and tortured should they try to flee the country. By welcoming those who have escaped, we send a message to ISIS and Assad simultaneously: Your people have chosen freedom, we are proud to offer it to them. Your threats will not shake us.”

You can read List’s full narrative here. We encourage you to share it widely with friends, family, and colleagues.