محاولة للتغيير ~ Making a difference 

كريستوفر ديفِز

ترجمة: ميّ العيسى

مع تطورات أحداث “الربيع العربي” إبتداءً من تونس و مروراً بمصر وسوريا ولكوني أعتنق المسيحية ازداد اهتمامي بما يجري في الشرق الأوسط, لا سيّما ما تتأثر به الأقليات الدينية تحت حكم الأخوان المسلمين مرسي (٢٤ حزيران/يونيو ٢٠١٢ حتى ٣ تموز/يوليو). درست العربية في إحدى المدارس المسائية في نيل NEAL في نيوكاسل أبون تاين شمال شرق إنگلترا ٢٠١٨،  وسعيت للعمل التطوعي داعماً الأهالي في مناطق النزاع. بعد اختبار طويل عبر الانترنت اجتزت خلاله مقابلتين وامتحانين طولبت بإعداد تقرير من ثلاث مراحل: تنظيم التقرير وتنفيذ ماهيّته ثمّ كتابته بشكله النهائي. تبعاً لذلك التحقت بالفريق الفرنسي المسيحي للعمل الطوعي لأذهب معهم إلى سوريا في تشرين الأول/أكتوبرالجاري ٢٠١٨. ما يهمني هو بناء جسر من التفاهم بين الشرق والغرب.

 

By Christopher Davies

Synopsis

Based on my Christian faith and accelerated by the events of the ‘Arab Spring’, my interest in the Middle East has led me to focus on the experience of religious minorities living in areas influenced by the Muslim Brotherhood and similar organisations. I studied Arabic at night school at NEAL in Newcastle-upon-Tyne and sought to work for a charity supporting ordinary people in conflict zones. After a lengthy selection process that involved passing two online interviews and  two online assessments, I was required to undertake  three assignments. This involved organising, executing and writing a report on what I had done. Now I will be joining the team of a French Christian charity in Syria in October. I hope to build a bridge of understanding between East and West. 

My Background

My interest in the Middle East is founded upon my Christian faith and the birthplace of Christ.

Following the ‘Arab Spring’ uprising in 2011 in Tunisia, I began to take note of what was happening throughout the Middle East. What captured my attention was the toppling of President Mubarak in Egypt with the replacement President Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood, then the Syrian protests, civil war and refugee flight which has become the biggest humanitarian crisis since World War II.  Watching the crisis in Syria escalate, I paid attention to many organisations forming and operating in Syria, influenced and financed by surrounding Arab, Western / European countries.  

Through following one organisation {the Muslim Brotherhood}  I began to notice a pattern with organisations such as Hamas in Gaza, Hezbollah in Lebanon, Al Shabab in Somalia, Boko Haram in Nigeria, lashkar-e-Taibain in India, Taliban in Afghanistan, ISIS and Al Qaeda in Iraq. No matter what continent the radical organisations were in, what language they spoke, or what ethnicity they were, they all adhered to the same radical ideology: the Muslim Brotherhood.

The Muslim Brotherhood was founded in 1928 for the sole purpose of resurrecting the Islamic caliphate that had ended in 1924 in Turkey. They are the oldest Islamist organisation, with offshoot organisations such as Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Al Qaeda and now ISIS.  Ayman al Zawahiri was expelled from Egypt for being a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, and Osama bin Laden was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. Abu Bakr al Baghdadi was a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood in an American prison in Iraq in 2004.     

I began to wonder what life would be like for everyone living in countries under the rule of these organisations, in particular the minorities. It seemed to me that they were caught in the middle of what is a battle of power between the Sunni  and Shia sects of Islam. Now ISIS is established, their caliphate has been resurrected; images, videos and personal testimonies have come to light showing the barbarity of their way of life.

I found myself day and night reading up on how people, in particular the minorities, are coping with what is happening to them.  I would search YouTube to see what I could find but the majority of the video clips were in Arabic. I decided I had to learn Arabic to understand what people were saying so I enrolled in an Arabic night class at NEAL in Newcastle-upon-Tyne  and have been studying for some time. My mother’s maiden name is Hassan and we believe her father’s bloodline came from the Middle East. After learning Arabic I still did not understand how people were coping and wondered how I could connect personally to those whose lives were turned upside down.

I decided to apply to many charity organisations including a branch of the United Nations.  I came across a French organisation called SOS Chrétiens dOrient. Their ethos is exactly what I was looking for. They provide medical assistance, education, food and hygiene aid and the reconstruction of heritage.

After a lengthy selection process I was accepted to become a part of the SOS Chrétien’s dOrient team to go to Syria. I will embark on my mission in October of this year. 

Hope   

I hope to establish a bridge between people of the East and West, also to help and assist the people of Syria.

I also hope after my mission in Syria I can educate people on matters regarding Middle Eastern issues that people here in the West tend not to know enough about. 

In a time of darkness and a 21st century of ignorance, I believe it doesn’t take many, but a dedicated few to create change for the better.  I hope to become one of the few.

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