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tv   US Senate  CSPAN  December 11, 2015 1:00pm-2:01pm EST

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nuclear program, but it is a much bigger problem than that. iran views itself as a power dating back to end a half millennia in control of the five capitals in the region. i think they are going to shower resources upon them so they are a highly dangerous opponent and we will be going forward so what should we do? we should hold iran to the commitments they have made it if that means that if the agreement is broken when he did use could use all of our clandestine intelligence capabilities to understand what's going on in iran and we need to stand with our allies in the region and israel was going to be the ballpark it against this
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expansion we looked at the system and we continue to work in a production that's kind of the beginning but i think that iran will continue to be a political threat to the united states. >> thank you all very much for your service and for being here today. you talk about flattening the structure of the military to set up special teams that have commitments to mission as opposed to what often interagency groups bring to the task. it seems to me i like that idea. i think that is one of the things if we look at the private
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sector one of the things i figured out is a further decision making and what they are trying to accomplish in the team approach but one of the challenges i ought to ask both general schwartz what you think the challenges are to move from what has been a traditional structure to one that allows the team approach to address the challenges that we are facing. general, do you want to start? the >> i don't know if the committee has had them before you, but here's an example may be the best example of how the team approach produces extraordinary results with his organization and these were ten to books and what have you got the bottom line is that the model does work
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and there's evidence of that and there is a new generation of military leadership that gets it i think and we should support that and encourage it and threw your -- through the oversight, mandate. >> that is the question going forward. what mitigates against it and makes it difficult, and you know this, is the built-in structure of the military where people get up in the morning and upon the same outfit. you've got to start cracking that mentality. we we were lighting to general schwartz is spot on's spot on because there is a generational shift. the a question for this event and on and off switch between highly chaotic silicon valley entities or a prussian style military.
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it is a realization that we need to dial towards the team approaches and international cooperation on a strategic communication on all of those smart power things without losing our ability to deliver lethal combat power. we need to do that and think of it as turning in the direction of the identified. >> one of the things i remember after the bp oil spill when they were talking about the response to rescuing people i'm sorry not to oil spill that hurricane katrina, the coast guard was effective in responding both air and on the bp oil spill because they were able to make decisions on the spot without having to check with anybody. so, what's different about the coast guard model and how do you transfer what's effective about
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that, or should we be looking at transferring what is effective at outback to address some of the other challenges of building the team work capacity? >> when i was involved in a project we spent some time looking at the model and the coast guard i think was an -- we can speak to this more directly. they would say that leadership model and the training and education model is different than the other services and because of the very nature they are just thinking about problems in a cross from chevrolet they serve the department of defense and law enforcement in peacetime, so they have natural advantages in that respect. >> can you explain you say the training is different, what is different that gives them that different ability to focus? >> they begin their lives at the
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coast guard academy and the appreciation that they are but one entity and the department of homeland security that has 19 different entities within it. they know they straddle the border between the title x combat operations and which they participated heroically many times as well as law enforcement and environmental. so the ether was mentality is simply one of cooperation working together. it's hard to find an integrated organization and i think we could learn a lot from that. >> they have much greater experience in the state and local leadership than the active-duty forces. >> thank you all very much.
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>> thank you for the decades of service in the country. i want to focus a little bit on your recommendation perhaps with regards to north com merging with a bit. so for the sense that we have had a lot of discussions here. the chair man and a lot of others are interested in what's going on in the arctic is a requirement for the secretary of defense to put together and arctic operation planned for the first time. one of the many challenges that we have up there is when you look at the arctic it is one of the classic scenes of different
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combatant commands where the forces are up and the out and the advocate thread is barely you. so you notice the build up just yesterday there was another article about the missile defense systems to put in the arctic for the combat brigades. in and let in new airfields on and on, huge exercises and we are looking at getting rid of the only one in the entire asia-pacific. and as you know, general, that takes a lot of training to have your forces up there to be up to operate. so i would just appreciate your views on the arctic and how the merger would either either enhance or diminish and we don't think it should be much more diminished.
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we think there should be more attention given all that's going on up there right now. any panelists, i welcome your thoughts right now. >> i think it's important that the arctic be assigned as a mission to one of the combatant commands that has yet to happen it should transpire. number two is a more pedestrian concern but, we only have one operating. >> you can watch the rest of this hearing at we are going to take you now live to new america for a conversation on the refugees. we we don't hear today from the ambassador to the u.s. and several assistant secretaries of the state. the event just getting started on c-span2. >> back in september it was
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different. two people basically posed as eerie and refugees and were part of the attack in europe since the attacks of 2004 and then we had the san bernardino attack where one of the traders came in on a fiancé visa and the house passed a measure that basically what paul is all see her and refugees coming to the country even though we have taken so few already as a factual matter though refugee has been involved in any attack of this country. it's simply a myth. the last thing that you would want to do is come here as a refugee because it would probably take four years to get through the process and can't outside then you would have to be selected by the united nations united nations one of 23,000 out of the 4 million who would then be referred to the united states than you would have to spend two years going through the system in which he would be subjected to the
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interviews and the biometric data to operate in the country. so the political context has changed and we have trump calling for the banning of the muslim immigration. so what we hope to do today is try to explain what is the scale of the problem and also what to do about it. then we talked about it, we understand there is a problem. what can we do and what can the eu and international community do. we are going to hear from the experts wrong with the answers for the question and i'm going to invite to the stage that president' president's over who doesn't need a lot of introduction but i do want to -- when she left the administration as the director for the first woman to hold the position was one of the first to
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publicly say to the annoyance of some of the former colleagues that it was going to hell in a handbasket and we needed to do something about it including some safe refugees and also engage militarily. it seemed like an outlandish fact of what the united states is doing and we want to invite to the stage for one of the longest board members here critical to the growth of the new america. we started in 1999 with a dozen people now almost 200 people and she was instrumental in the growth. she was a refugee that came from hungary, she is the lead cup so she speaks with a great personal experience and has been a leading activist. she is the author with a ninth book about to come out and so both anne-marie will talk first
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and then i bought handed over to you. >> thank you, peter. i should add my mother and her mother and brother were refugees from belgian to france and switzerland than before the last wave overrunning the south africans to madrid and finally by plane to london took six months, so i'm not a refugee if my mother and father hadn't been received as refugees in world war ii. we want to wanted to have a rich conversation. the first is the title of this is after there is the refugee
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crisis and in most american's minds right now, terrorism and refugees are linked. i don't think that's the way we should be thinking about the refugee crisis. but to the extent there is a link between terrorism and refugees it is the terrorists taking over the country to give rise to the refugees rather than refugees give rise so the production is not the one that most americans are assuming is peter laid out bringing in refugees can the terrorists although it is the other way around. it's not just terrorist groups that give rise to refugees and that is my second point. well before san bernardino, paris, any of this, the un issued a report that said there
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are 60 million refugees in the world. just think about that. i families from belgian. it's roughly 10 million. there are six belgians would have refugees in the world. belgium is a pretty decent sized country. there is one grants from the roughly 60 million people. when we think about the crisis of refugees, we have to think that we have 194 nations in the world. well, actually that is 199 or add another power the size of france. that's the scope of the problem. and that is not a problem that is going to be addressed by thinking about letting him 10,000, 20,000 come even 50,000 again, 16 million. so, my third point i will be talking about later we have to start thinking about refugees in
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terms of opportunity rather than in terms of a problem to be solved. i wrote recently in the project syndicate that talked about the ways in which the national democratic institute thinks about the refugee camps not places of squalor and despair and waiting to return home but its places where you have concentrations of talented people. entrepreneurial people driven enough to get up and leave from their places of their family but the family but also places that if you think about it differently to you are creating potential cities. you are creating places you can educate people differently. where you can create different habits of political participation. where you can jumpstart entrepreneurs who want a different kind of economy. so thinking about refugee camps more in terms of refugee cities
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and similarly, we haven't been nearly creative enough. there is an egyptian billionaire negotiating with the greek government to buy iowans to -- islands. there are 1500 greek islands in the mediterranean and they are for sale as resort destinations. resource destinations. actually, there's a website called my island online. if a billy american if he billionaire can a billionaire can buy an island for a private vacation why can't we be far more creative about places where we can resell a large numbers who then can create a place they want to be not that they ever did become even want to go home, that's not the point. but when they are reselling tiny numbers come it's never going to get at the actual problem that
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we face. with that i'm going to turn it over to the first panel. thank you. [applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, thank you for the honor of speaking to you this afternoon on a subject that's very close to my heart. as peter mentioned, i'm a refugee and should be close to the heart of all americans because if we are not a nation of refugees, i don't know if we are. her own saga confirms that and if i would ask for a show of hands how many of you are either first or second generation, i assume most hands would go up. ladies and gentlemen, we are betraying our very core values not stepping up to this and or miss enormous humanitarian crisis engulfing the world and
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it's beyond a humanitarian crisis. it's also a crisis of national security frankly. so let me explain and let me backtrack and let me just start by saying that i was one of 200,000 hungarians who was processed in a matter of weeks after the soviets crushed the uprising. i was a little kid and i was swept from my country to this country in a matter of weeks processed at the new jersey turnpike in a single day and the marine who processed me noticed that it was my birthday. don't ask which one because i'm not going to tell you. but it was my birthday so that marine gave me a silver dollar. by the end of the day i had six in my pocket and that was my first introduction to the big part of my new country but that somehow seems to be missing today and having made a trip to
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hungary on behalf of the international rescue committee and the committee to protect journalists in the recent months, i have to tell you the families that i talk to at the hungarian border and also the train station in budapest where they were waiting to board trains for germany looked very much like my family, my pregnant mother, my older sister and myself and for suitcases that only had. america took a chance on us and i don't think that it's a big chance to allow as she said not to thousand of several hundred thousand more of these people who are refugees as a result of the war that we either started in iraq were quite frankly have
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neglected for far too long the war in syria so that isn't as if we have a responsibility beyond the human response ability, which i think is what the statue of liberty is about, isn't it coming give me your tinier, your poor. do they not believe that any more? at the time the country is ironically given its history, germany. 800,000 refugees have been processed and are going through the doors to a very warm welcome that germany, the home of the third reich should be teaching us lessons about how to deal with the humanitarian crisis. i think that all of us have a role to play because our politicians are leading us down.
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washington's voice has been very faint in this and after i made my trip to the border i went to the headquarters in brussels and of course i'm sorry to say they were a studying dysfunction. it was so when the balkan war broke out and then the head of the european commission says the hour of europe has dawned. well it didn't turn out that way, and it is turning out that way today. there is simply no coherent european policy towards refugees it is each country for himself and that is what set off this race because there is no coherent unified policy. and this is something we the united states know how to do and even if we don't open our dates
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as i hope that with pressure from every single one of you we will, we can collaborate with the eu and partner with them. you can only lead by example. the united states isn't in the position to say to any other country in the world actually you must do this. you have to hold in more refugees because we are not so the words no longer are enough. i mentioned that this is also an issue of national security. we have all been jittery after san bernardino. the conference would have been called after san bernardino. tragically there will be another san bernardino. that is almost inevitable. the most powerful counter narrative that the united states
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can submit to the world which it to the world which is now sees us as a nation, thank you donald trump, but the entire republican field including jeb bush who prefers how little outrage that has provoked. to put out for our own security if for no other reason this is an issue that welcomes muslims and appease muslims who are escaping jihad have to be coupled since 9/11. do you know how many of them have been implicated in terrorist activities,
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implicated, three. so it makes absolutely no sense but demagogues don't need to make sense and they just need to persuade people by fear is more important than humanity or reason and it is a sorry chapter in the nations history. we've been here before. the internment of the japanese during world war ii is a stain on our history as quite frankly president franklin delano roosevelt in action, vis-à-vis jewish refugees from hitler. we are about to repeat a dark chapter and i don't think that we want to do that. i don't think that he wants to
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buy the fear mongers version of events. we need to assert our right as americans and humanity as citizens of the world and do what our nation is really all about great thank you very much. [applause] >> we are going to move to the first panel and we are going to do the order that will be in their biographies but but let me say a few things about each of them. the society which does amazing work with a group of american physicians going to provide service they provided medical service around 1.5 million
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during the course of this incredibly dangerous conflict that has gone into personal work he was just in greece providing medical services to some of the refugees. he is also frequently in touch with people in the white house about the refugee policy. suzanne is also an amazing advocate and runs a immigration organization that helps them settle here in the united states. an immigration lawyer who also came to the conference that i saw her speak out on the brilliant presentation of the necessity of changing this issue an asylum seeker that came to the country relatively recently. it was almost impossible by the
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way to find the refugee because we have let in so few people it is almost impossible to find the one that speaks english. we will start with us here. thank you. >> good morning. thank you very much. i give credit to the american foundation to have the first speaking panel and also thus eerie and refugees. there are the organizations that were founded and it's been more than $400 billion in the neighboring countries to provide the day and assistance.
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i recently deterred to the other organizations that we try to keep people inside by keeping them with heth care education, assistance, to keep people that are internally displaced from leaving this -- syria and lebanon and turkey that try to take care of them when they come to the united states as refugees and as you know many of the refugees in the camp will make them at least 16 to 17 years for the situation. we would like to take some of these refugees and the number of 10,000 is very long and we are calling for more than
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16,400,000. i will start by dispelling some of the methods that peter and mary stressed before. there is no refugee that was implicated in any act. the media coverage of that implicated one or two nationals is wrong. yesterday there was the third person but was actually a french national and not a serious refugee so they took the pathway of the refugees but they are not and i want to make sure that is clear for all it's clear for all of us. the second thing, they are leaving syria and going to the mediterranean. i just came in a couple of weeks ago from the island of westport. they are coming from inside syria. majority are coming from inside syria. not the neighboring countries. these are people that have been
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refugees for some time now. they are leaving because of the russian attacks, because of the brutality of the regime. and of course some of them are leaving because of the isis. but a simple majority according to some of the studies that were done in germany are leaving because the brutality of the regime and the bonding. and now with the russian bombings of some areas and damascus and other areas, we have seen intensifying of this. ..
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this goes against what some of the people in the republican party have been talking. we need to accept people in proportion to the need, we need to accept more people who are implicated. and just want to say that we owe to the syrian diaspora, because syrian americans have contributed to the welfare of this country. one percent are syrian origin, saving hundreds of millions -- hundreds of thousands of lives. steve jobs is a son of syrian immigrants.
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i think we have to say that -- and i think ann marie mentioned that -- we have to embrace the refugees because they will be the engine of maybe economic recovery in some of these areas. these are people who contribute to the welfare of our society. i have few slides to highlight and some of them are graphic so i'm going to warn you, and this is a drawing of one of the second grade children in the city of aleppo. the largest city in syria, a second-grade student who is drawing bombs, helicopters dropping bombs and amputated children, and children who are crying. and instead of what children usually draw, which is sky and rivers and so forth. and many of the syrian children are trauma teased because of the
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-- traumatized because of the situation and we don't have mental health help. the barrel bombs. the russians said there's no need for no-fly zone because they're no more barrel bombs since the russian intervention. since the rex intervention 3,800-barrel bombs were thrown on civilians in ahelp pa -- aleppo and a places. so it continues to happen, causing a lot of destruction and the main drive of the syrian exodus outside of syria. and this is what you see after the barrel bomb. children pulled from rubble, and doctors and nurses struggling to meet the needs of the people with overwhelming injuries of barrel bombs. look at the desperation. trying to salvages' medical supplies in the city of aleppo
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after his hop was hit by double barrel bombs. i was in aleppo and was trying to visit, he said, don't come. we got hit. if you want to come, come in the afternoon. in the afternoon, this picture of the for, and this is very graphic picture. this is what we see daily and the syrian doctors are seeing daily. children who are killed. 20,000 children were killed in syria.2isw 20,000. it's not only -- who died in syria because of the crisis. this is one ochildren dying every day because of the barrel bombing and the russian attacks unfortunately. since this outcome of the children, the city of duma is under siege for a three years, and in spite of that, bombed every day, and they're trying to heal each other, and these
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are -- this is a picture and very hopeful picture, picture of a child was born only last week, after his mother was killed by what is reported as a russian attack, the doctors and one of the hospitals were able to deliver her by c-section and the child survived. this is what we do to try to protect doctors and patients in syria. we have sandbags in the emergency room, and sometimes we have to do hospital underground, his is a hospital that is northern -- in a cave, and this is a hospital in the city of aleppo that is four meters underground. most of the hospitals in syria are underground. we have 102 hospitals inside syria. last year 67 were targeted by barrel bombs, compared to 30 hospitals one year before.
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and we try also to connect the hospitals over there by physical care specialist inside united states by medicine. we we have electronic icu. with specializes in the united states. this is what we had in europe. all evolves agree that targeting a hospital is a war crime, burt unfortunately happening on a daily basis in syria. this is a refugee camp. 80 or 85% of syrian refugees are not in camp. this is only one of the few camps in jordan. and this is actually -- i came from greece a couple weeks ago and i took this picture of one syrian refugee who made it to the island, and he hat this picture what to do after he arrived in greece. i have the whole picture, and it tells instead when you take a train or when you walk across the border to macedonia or
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serbia or hungary, and how much it costs you. costs 400 euro. if you're a refugee in syria going from turkey to the island you have to pay between 1,000 to 4,000 euros to the smuggler, and that's with a discount. they told me now the rate is 800 euros because the risk of drowning or dying is higher because of stormy weather. this is a capsized boat near the island. just two weeks before i arrived there were about 300 people who were in that war, and 30 of them drowned, and i talked with some of the doctors who resuscitated them and most of them were traumatized because they could not save the children who drowned and died on the island. this is a picture i did not take but one you're all familiar
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with. 1500 people who are arriving to west port island every day in the last few months. and this is what they leave. they have all of them life vests but these life vest does not save them because many of the times when the boat capsize and many times triple the number of the refugees that are allowed to be in inflatable boats, when the boats capsize on the shore, the children drowned because they stuck under the boat and many of them have hypothermia, and these are what happened to these refugees. they're placed in temporary camps for one day before they are moved to athens where they are kept the three holding camps were transported to the border with macedonia. and these are some of the refugees, 50% of them are from
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afghanistan, about 25% from syria, and many of them from iraq and iran. and this is our clinic that we provide the health care to the refugees in there, and i want to end with this picture. the person of the year as chosen by "time" was chancellor merkel, which i agree, and we really thank the german government and the leadership of germany for embracing the syrian refugees. i had some report that the german economy improved actually in the last year because of the refugees and the spending of refugees, which is great. i think many of the other countries will attest to that. but these are the people who need to be recognized, excluding myself. we have a physician from norway and a physician from palestine, who went to westport island because they want to help in the situation, and i seen 90ngos
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on the island trying to help the refugees from syria, afghanistan, iraq, providing very good help for. the right now. i think without their help, the situation would have been much worse. thank you very much for having me. [applause] >> good afternoon, everyone. thank you. very difficult to follow him after his -- whenever he gives one of his talks. thank you to the new america foundation and peter and david and ann marie for your kind invitation. i'm proud to be here and stand in front of you and talk about our small organization, and the families we have helped reset until chicago. our organization is syrian community network, and back in 2013, when the national board pointed me to be the refugee coordinator, to understand what
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the process looks like when refugees dom the united states, and so we kind of took this on as a project, and the syrian community network was been from the society. so thank you, sam. our vision is to empower syrian refugees in achieving a seamless transition into their life. i have to say when we started the organization, i kept having flashbacks of the time when i first came to the united states at the age of ten. my father came in the 1960s to study engineering in chicago, and he met me mother, and my mother is canadian so i'm only half syrian. my mother is the daughter of an irishman and a scottish woman so i'm from all over the place. so i started having all these thoughts and memories of how difficult it was to come after my father and mother got married, the went back to syria was born in syria, and came back, and just to have the stories and remembering the difficulties as a child to come in and acclaim -- acclimate.
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my mother is canadian so we always spoke in english to my mom, and now having to jump in and learn a new culture and a new learning style was quite difficult. so those stories we remember those stories and we try to help our families to go through them so we're not suffering some of the trauma we went through. and my sisters sisters and i ale we never got over our trauma from moving here, but with time things get better. so we envisioned a maturewave and why the butwave in the vision statement is because we wanted to -- we know that syrians have been coming to the united states for 100 years and we imagined the thirdwave to be the refugeewave coming coming i. so i go through the agencies in chicago, the resettlement agencies on a nationally and try too include the families so they don't feel isolation. so we have done programs for
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them, dental hygiene, the edrive, we try too include them in events and i'm whizzing through them because i want to make sure i get through my time. one thing we also do is we try to connect them to the larger community and we try to do cultural understanding of syrian culture and what our faith is, whether we're muslim or christian. a lot of the groups -- this is a unitarian group invite us for syrian culture 101 and wanted to learn about the culture and dos and don'ts because they were going to be receiving this family the next day at the airport. so they wanted to make sure they were receiving them in a way that is welcoming and to make the family feel secure and safe. so, this was a really nice group to be with. and so this is -- these are some pictures of some of the families. we had a community event for them. right now chicago we have 22
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families, which is 100 individuals, and they're mainly kids. 51% of the families we have are children, the people that are in chicago are children, and the rest are between women and men, but we do have some single moms also who are caring for their children so we try to help them and include them in the community and make sure they're supported. we do volunteer training as well so that when we have volunteers go into their house to mentor them, we're trying to launch our meant you'reship program so volunteers are ready and train to go in to do a great job in manier toking -- in mentoring the families. and we do a back to school drive. and this is a story of redad -- they were the first family we met in january of this year, and redad came -- her father was killed bay sniper in syria, and her -- she is one of six
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children, and when they were displaced in syria and her house was bombed, and she sustained injury, and she -- to this day she still has shrapnel in her body, and re registered fer for a custom for refugee girls and she got a certificate for most improved english learner, and for her to show the smile. when she first came in she did not smile, as much as we tried to joke with her. but to see her smile, it's heart-warming. and then she drew this picture -- looks funny but she said the organization asked her to draw a picture of someone who has helped you or has impacted you, and she put our organization's name up because i'm the one who visits here all the time, but it's nice to feel that you have helped someone.
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and part of our advocacy -- one thing we like to focus on is advocacy, with everything going on, with the rhetoric coming -- whether from lawmakers or governors. as slow case plays in key rolled in getting the stories out and we're proud to work with s.a.m. and other organizes and our faith partners, and to help bring the stories of the syrian refugees. so this was an event organized by impact and s.a.m. where be flew in refugees to washington, dc and they got a chance to stand in front of the white house to speak on their own behalf, and asking president obama to increase the numbers of refugees. so it was a proud moment to see them speak and take leadership experience american civic engagement. we think that was very powerful for them and they remember and cherish the memories. so this is done in front of the white house. this is maya fatima.
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redad, and they're standing -- they're excited because in syria you don't get to stand in front of the white house. the white house is usually on top a mountain and there's many guards. so for them to stand in front of the white house, it was nice and empowering for. the. and then also part of our advocacy in chicago, wanted to visit with refugee families and these are my board members, and syrian community network, and we had the senator come out and meet with the refugees, and then also in chicago itself, with the governor, making these statements that refugees-not welcome in illinois, she chicago city council -- the chicago city council came up with the resolution to welcome refugees, and alderman recognized syrian refugees in the city council meeting and asked for refugees to come in, and they -- standing ovation, and welcoming them, and it was really a powerful moment, symbolic moment for the refugees to feel welcome because they were feeling very anxious and
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upset that they were feeling unwanted, and another -- with our advocacy with the city -- this is mayor rahm emanuel. they hosted a thanksgiving dinner for the refugees. so this is him serving -- he went to every person and served them turkey and stuffing, and it was really -- him and the other aldermen as well. and his aldermen also serving bread and it was really a beautiful moment. so we had about over 90 people in the room, and with everybody -- all the children were there and enjoyed it and they all got gifts from the city and all was very nice. so, another organization, move on, has been also hosting small dinners for community members and inviting refugees all over the united states. so this was a dinner they hosted also just before thanksgiving,
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so this is the director of the chicago chapter, and representative janikowski was there and we invited the refugees with us, fatima and the girls there and, my colleague also was there, and representative was talking about the story of how the st. louis -- in 1939 came too drop off the refugees they were push back. so she was a really adamant about republicking the refugees, and she was asking them to speak as well. and this is part of the dinner. and more advocacy efforts with civic and religious groups we help in engaging and getting the refugees to get the word out and speak on their own behalf. >> again, more pictures of the dinner. so these two boys, this is osama and hakeem, and on wednesday we
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were at a dinner with move on also and senator dick durbin and senator al franken and another refugee was there, violinist, and she got play for everyone in the dinner and this picture was blown up in their living room from the chicago dinner, and senator dick durbin said are we afraid of these two boys? these little osama, who is two years old, and hakeem, who is nine. so, it just doesn't make sense. and i just want to end with a story. i wish i had her picture, a refugee, syrian kurdish refugee. she doesn't want to be photographed but she used to work as a seam stress, and we're -- seem -- seamstress and we want to buy her a sewing machine and get her to start having her own business at home because her mother is 80 years old and needs to take care of her, and her brother has lieu keep ma and she can't leave them. so tied were we scrambling to
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think how we can help her, and today i got a phone call from a woman who lives in evanston on the north site of chicago, she said i'll do anything. i'm a marketing specialist. i asked her if she would like to market the sewing business, she said yes. so we try to reach -- we scramble to see how we can help people, but then there's people reaching out and asking for help. but for everyone negative donald trump comment we receive, we get hundreds of comments of support and love. so, thank you all for inviting me. [applause] >> thank you to new america for inviting us, myself and other panel members. often times we're listening to pundits talk about syrians and refugees and are they isis or not a, and they're talking around us. today it's nice that you're talking to us or, more importantly, you're listening to
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us. so thank you for that opportunity. i am chair of government relations for united for a free syria, one of six organizations the coalition -- part of the coalition for a democratic syria, and our focus is on advocacy in washington, dc to try to get what we think is a better policy on syria, and so far that's not happening. so, first, the syrians wonders why the world had abandoned them, and then they wondered why the world hated them. our motto, in terms of our advocacy work, is treat the symptoms, stop the cause. so, we understand that right knew there's a refugee crisis. there's a refugee crisis in europe. there's been a refugee crisis for a long time in the regional countries, and we are now sort of learning about it here in the u.s. the rhetoric about security some who should we let in and not let
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in, and really what is missing from the discourse is what is the cause of this refugee crisis. one -- his -- one listening to this might think was an earthquake that happened or a hurricane, when in fact there is an intentional displacement and killing of syrian people by the syrian regime. and this is something that i think that we really need to focus on because congress scrambled very quickly to say, let's watch syrian refugees. where we been for a four years to say, let us keep them in their homesful yes, there is a crisis. yes, as americans, it is our responsibility, it's part of our heritage. we take in refugees. we have to take our responsibility in this. what we also need to do is help people stay in their homes. help them stop having to leave syria. the doctor pointed out that most
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of the refugees that are going to europe are not the ones sitting in camps, which, oddly enough for the u.s., the few that have come in so far are the ones that are actually sitting in the camps, and the ones basically the ones sitting in the camps even before isis existed in syria. but the ones showing up in europe are the ones literally still free. why are we not talking about why are syrians still fleeing syria? so we have 4.1 million refugee but half the country is displaced internally, and they're under siege. they're beseeminged. they're being bomb -- besieged, being bond by russia and attacked by iran, and attacked by hezbollah. they have all of these forces against them, and the majority, the main focus is on civilians. so, what is happening in syria? i'm sure many of you know
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that -- mentioned barrel bombs. barrel bombs are the great tool that the assad regime uses. literally big metal barrels filled with tnt and explosives the advantage is simple. one, they're cheap. two they're easy to make, and, three, they can be dropped from nonmilitary aircraft. so you get a helicopter with a bunch of barrels and you just drop them. they obviously have no ability to be targeted so they just drop and wherever they land, they land, and the regular -- regular anytime is focusing on civilianed. over 90% of those of killed by barrel bombs are civilians. and of course, as well, we knew about the chemical weapons that the regime used 0, and these same barrel bombs the regime has used to drop chlorine bombs.
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so the understands the sarin gas and after the u.n. security resolution, security council resolution saying that chlorine bombs can't be used, chlorine beens were again used. surprise. so what happens? basically when a group of the rebels take over an area, the regime comes and barrel-bombs them, and that's a good thing to do for them because, one, it attacks civilians and makes them feel that the -- those that are defending syria are now somehow the culprit. it also knocks out basic supplies so water, electricity, and of course, as the doctor mentioned, they target hospitals. regularly tarting hospitals. field hospitals and ambulances. and and then the regime tries to
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surround an area and does not allow any aide in. the u.n. security council says humanitarian aid can go in without the permission of the regime but the regular anytime has blocked the humanitarian aid convoys. you have areas just outside of damascus that have upwardses of 200,000 to 700,000 people that have been under siege. they can only eat that which they grow and there's a lot of hunger. it's a systemic use of starvation to force local populations into submission. so, then they say, let's do the regime says, let's do these local cease fires and they say, okay, hand us over your weapons and get out. and get out means civilian population.
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there is an intentional displacement of syrian populations, some within syria. and i can give you an example of my mom's family, for example. they are from the camp overwhelmingly palestinian refugees from 1948 who are in an area of damascus under siege for about 18 months. finally, when they negotiated a cease fire, they were basically told, the door is only being opened for a very limited time. we're going reshut the door so either -- we're going to shut the door and you're going to starve or you've get out, and my aunt, my uncles ended up fleeing the camp and many of them made it to actually lebanon, and i have several of my cousins who made it to germany, and they have horrendous stories. so these local cease fires are
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also an intentional way to displace syrian population. this is a form of collective punishment, and i don't even know if i should talk about international law because there's so many violations. whether recent or historic, of our international law, that just keep happening and the regime is empowered to continue its violations, and now russia's intervention only further emboldened and empowers the regime. so, i'm going to conclude with this. there's no solution to the refugee crisis without a primary focus on civilian protection. civilian protection, civilian protection, that means a no-fly zone, safe zone. some area where civilians can stay within syria and be protected from the constant aerial bombardment of the regime and of russia. there has to be a political


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