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Showing posts from 2015

Escape to Freedom: Bringing a Syrian Family to safety

This account was posted on Russell Chapman's blog at

The events in this article took place in the first two weeks of August 2015This is the story of a Syrian family’s journey to freedom in Europe and the small part I played in helping them. Along the way I saw and learnt a lot about what refugees face as they escape from war-torn countries and political oppression.Fadl and his family were introduced to me through Muhannad, a mutual friend. He asked me if I would be prepared to help Fadl and his family get from Greece to a particular European country. After some consideration, I decided to try and help them. The family is from the Aleppo region of Syria and before the war they had their own restaurant, they were a middle class family. His wife Majelina, who had to stay behind to look after ageing grandparents, was a university professor of English literature. Then, because of the wa…

A Two-Tier Bystander Effect Materializes in Lebanon

In broad daylight last week in one of the most consumerist neighborhoods in Lebanon, he incessantly called for help, he pleaded, he begged, he screamed “Somebody get him off me”. “Somebody please!! hold him off”, but none of the 15 grown-up male bystanders next to the victim did a thing. Some kept watching as George al-Reef was brutally beaten and stabbed to death by a vicious manslayer whose only motive for this hideous murder is a dispute over a car path. George al-Reef died in the hospital due to internal bleeding caused by vicious beating. Social media has all sorts of tweet and posts depicting disgust at the crime and blame at the cowardice of the bystanders.This was amplified by the online videos  However, the bystander effect , or bystander apathy, is well-documented in social psychology. However, in Lebanon, it happens that this murder has become a two-tier bystander effect. Frist, let’s start by defining what bystander effect is and if it applies to this murder. The bystander…

Unschooling the Mind: An Introduction

Welcome to the first post of Unschooling the Mind series of posts. The notion of publishing a series of posts to share with you my experience in a world where education and schooling  has been lingering in my mind for a long time, but I was hindered by two main factors. The first is that my thinking and convictions, as with all people who reflect, are in a ceaseless development, so what I thought of last year and believed in might differ from what I believe now, as I gain more knowledge and endeavor to unravel truth. As Emerson once said, "Speak what you think today in hard words and tomorrow speak what tomorrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said today".  Therefore, this makes it hard for me to share one thing that I might contradict in a year. I soon, however, realized that such development of the intellect is natural, and all I can do is write what I believe now in "hard words", and reflect on what I believed back then. I hope …