BY: MARIAH ESPADA
American University's Frederick Douglass Distinguished Scholars will host "Through Refugees' Eyes" this Saturday at 12:00 p.m. in the Katzen Arts Center. The scholars hope to raise awareness about the current Syrian refugee crisis. The event will feature special speakers, photography, a virtual reality experience, a henna tattoo booth and a Syrian handicraft exhibit.
FDDS is a university program that selects a group of students dedicated to social justice advocacy and academic excellence. After 10 of the scholars attended a summer research trip to a refugee camp in Thessaloniki, Greece last July, they decided they wanted to shed light on the epidemic.
"When we were there we saw how inhumane the refugees were being treated in their camps," said Indira Mohabeer, one of the scholars on the trip.
"How they were living was nowhere near how they used to live in their country of Syria. Commonly when westerners think of Syria, we think of a developing country of people living in desserts, when in fact Syria was a booming city with doctors, students and people in love. We feel responsible to bring awareness to this issue in order to help these individuals who have been stripped of their old life," said Mohabeer.
One of the photographers being featured at the event is Hassan Alhomse (pictured above), a Syrian refugee that the scholars met at the Vasilika refugee camp in Macedonia. Alhomse told the scholars that he watched his home get bombed. Alhomse tried to reunite with his brother who fled to Germany, but Greece closed its borders, trapping him and thousands of other refugees.
Alhomse has since made it to Germany and is currently trying to rebuild his life. His work will be auctioned off at the summit. Abdulazez Dukhan's photography, which captures the harsh realities of living in a refugee camp in Greece, will also be on display at the summit.
Given the current stigma surrounding refugees and the recent U.S. missile strike on a Syrian airbase, the exhibit is timely and a must-see.
All photos provided by Hassan Alhomse