Update on Dining for Bushra (March 4, 2017)
From Sheila: Dining for Bushra Dear friends, What a wonderful evening we had at "Dining For Bushra" hosted by Bill & Carol, Kate & Marton. Thaer & I want to thank each of you so much for your caring, support & encouragement for Bushra & her family. Together you raised $1200! This will provide her & her family with an invaluable emergency fund should they need to flee Iraq on short notice (they report that the fee for a visa to Turkey can cost up to $400 per person).
If they do manage to get to the U.S. as refugees, it could also help them get on their feet here. Bushra & Walid send much gratitude to each of you -- they still can't believe that strangers would come together to support them like this. They'd been feeling depressed & frustrated with the long wait & ongoing fear. Your encouragement was a tangible help to their spirits. We will continue to keep Bill & Carol posted about them. Please continue to keep them in your thoughts & prayers.
The background:At a recent meeting at the Paulist Center after the president's crackdown, Sheila shared the story of her sister-in-law, Bushra, and her family. (I've pasted Sheila's summary below.) Our idea is a series of potlucks aimed at building a community of concern and raising money for people whose refugee/immigration circumstances could use an infusion of cash & other support. The money gets raised via a shoebox that we'll fill with whatever we might have spent on a dinner out had we not been lucky enough to enjoy the cooking and camaraderie of friends gathered for good purpose. If you RSVP yes, please indicate how many people. If you know what food you'll bring, you can add in comments section or surprise us. Some street parking but C or D Green Lines best options. Thanks!
Sheila on Bushra and Walid: My sister-in-law Bushra is one of the bravest people I’ve ever met. She and her husband, Walid, have been living under threat in Baghdad for years, but whenever we call them, she is full of laughter, jokes, and inquiries about our 5-year-old son, Yusef. Bushra and Walid are Palestinians born in Iraq – a unique minority community who under Saddam Hussein’s regime never had citizenship, could not own land, and were not allowed to serve in the government. After the fall of the regime, Palestinians became targets of Shi’a militias, including government-supported militias. Hundreds suffered kidnapping, torture, and death. Bushra’s siblings all left the country, but she stayed to care for her 9-year-old son Hamoudi. He was severely handicapped by muscular dystrophy.
Bushra and Walid applied for refugee status in 2008, and have been waiting since. Sadly, their son Hamoudi died in 2009. But in 2016, Bushra and Walid and their three grown daughters finally were approved for refugee status in the United States. Their second interview was scheduled for February 11th. But on January 27th, Donald Trump signed the executive order barring refugees. Bushra received a phone call that her interview was canceled, indefinitely. Her husband Walid has been threatened several times, most recently about three weeks ago. He owns a small store, and militias have broken down the door, shot bullets through the wall, and finally said that they want the property and he has to leave. With their refugee application in peril, Bushra and her family have decided to flee to Turkey if they can. They are grateful for any help. Bushra says “I am not afraid of Trump. God is with us, we are not afraid. Life is still beautiful.” Thank you for any prayers and material assistance you can offer.