Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Sudanese Mother and Child Reunion

A story of Israelis who held no bars to reunite Sudanese refugees with their child who got stuck on the other side of the border when they smuggled across the Israeli--Egyptian border.

The refugees retell how Egyptian border patrol used live ammunition with shoot-to-kill intent on the unarmed refugees as they attempted to flee from Egypt into Israel.

Editorial Commentary
Imagine how left-liberals in the west (Israel included) would have reacted if it were Israelis doing the shooting. But they (i.e. left-liberals), together with the UN and the rest of a so called enlightened-world is for the most part silent to Egypt’s dictatorship, brutality and litany of human rights abuses.

Even though the status of these refugees in Israel remains unclear, the story of Israelis providing shelter for African Moslems, fleeing Arab atrocities, for the most part goes untold and unnoticed.

And in a related item from Ha'aretz:
Sudanese refugees find home with Jerusalem family
By Amiram Barkat

The Gal family of Jerusalem has been hosting a family of refugees from Darfur for the past week...The Sudanese, two parents and four children, have settled into the two bedrooms of the Gals' children. Amir, the son, is in summer camp and Lior has moved to her parents' bedroom.

The apartment was filled with the smell of the Egyptian broad beans the guests were cooking in the kitchen yesterday.

Helen Gal says the two families had started sharing their meals and tasting each other's cooking. "They asked me why we don't like spicy food," she says.


Helen admits she had fears before the guests arrived. She even advised her daughters what to do if any inappropriate action was taken against them. "I heard they had a boy of 15 and it made me nervous," she explains. But the fears soon dissipated. The guests turned out to be quiet, polite and pleasant people. The 15-year-old boy turned out to be a girl, Amal, who made friends with the Gal's elder daughter Mia, who is a few months older.

Amal was surprised to learn that Mia is still going to school and asked if she could go too if she stayed in Israel. Mia was surprised to discover what had caused the small scar on Amal's forehead. "She told me she had been shot in the head. I asked her how she survived and she said she was in the hospital for months," Mia says.

Abdullah says Amal was shot in 2002 during an attack by the Janjaweed militias on their village. He says the militias set fire to the village and his old father, who could not run away, was burned to death. Abdullah journeyed with the injured Amal to a hospital in Khartoum and stayed with her until she recovered. But then he was warned not to return home and fled with his daughter to Egypt. The rest of the family joined them a year later.

They waited with tens of thousands of other Sudanese refugees in Cairo for an immigration visa to a Western country. Life became quite comfortable once Abdullah, who speaks fluent English, found work in a computer store. But things changed drastically in December 2005 after a demonstration the refugees held outside the offices of the UN's refugee commission.

The Egyptian security forces dispersed the protest violently, killing some 30 refugees in the process, according to Amnesty International. Abdullah said that life in Cairo became intolerable. "There was a terrible fear, at any moment the police could come and put you in jail," he said.

About a month ago Abdullah contacted Bedouin smugglers who agreed to take the family to Israel for $700. Beyond the border they were caught by troops of the Israel Defense Forces who gave them water and blankets. After a short stay in a military camp they were sent to a hotel in Be'er Sheva, and from there arrived at the Wohl Rose Garden in Jerusalem.

The Gal family's full name has been withheld at the family's request. David and Abdullah are fictitious names, used on the instruction of the UN's refugee agency.

For more information, see the Web site of the Israeli Coalition for Darfur and Sudan

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