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İstanbul'dan Dünya'ya: Us Elsewhere

December 28, 2010

The Los Angeles Times “Babylon & Beyond” blog published an article I wrote during Kurban Bayrami about an Iranian refugee living in the small town of Afyon.

Although he must check in with the Afyon police twice a week and is forbidden from most housing, his language skills give him opportunities his fellow refugees rarely have, even if he doesn’t have much use for his Urdu or smattering of Hebrew, let alone his mellifluous Persian.

Ismail hasn’t spoken to his family since leaving prison, and said he couldn’t bear to talk about the kids he left behind. He cannot work legally or find his own place to live, let alone make use of his academic background to find work in a school or university. He cannot leave Afyon until the UNHCR has assessed his case, a process that can take up to three years. He cannot take up any sort of residence or begin a life in Turkey, which does not accept refugees but only processes them.

I strongly suggest that you check it out.

Many thanks are due to helping getting going on the path towards legitimacy. My family, of course. Terrorist fist-jabs are also due to Hugh Pope and Yigal Schleifer for helping me with understanding what the heck a journalist is, and for putting me in touch with the right people. The trio of Justin Vela, Alex Christie-Miller, and Pola Rojan plied me with drinks until I thought I could be like them. The immortal hay-dray kid was the one that gave me the heads up that this made it to Babylon & Beyond. And most of all, props x1,000,000 to Rebecca for answering in the affirmative when I was all “We should totally start a newspaper and tell the stories of Turkey that aren’t getting told.” We’re still working on it.

So sorry for the back-patting and all of that insipid stuff, but here’s to a beginning.

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