It�s the last line that got me.
�Here there are really amazing people. If I wasn’t seeing it with my own eyes it would be difficult to believe it.�
Those words were spoken recently by Yassin Musa, one of hundreds of Darfurian refugees being granted temporary residency in Israel.
Folks from lots of countries, including the United States, wring their hands about the genocide in Darfur, but few are putting their welcome mats where their mouths are.
Israel, evidently, is. And the fact that the Jewish state, so vilified by so many, is giving refuge to Muslims in trouble, flies in the face of the propaganda this man�s been raised on.
It would probably enlighten many others were they to learn of it, but that�s unlikely. I found it in the Jewish press.
According to Dina Kraft�s JTA story, Musa, 30, and his fellow Sudanese refugees fled the their country�s genocide and passed through Egypt on their way to Israel. The Darfurian architect reportedly fled his home five years ago after his village was attacked by the Janjaweed, Arab militiamen who have killed an estimated 200,000 people over the past few years.
During the attack, Musa was tracked to the nearby mountains where he�d fled. He was arrested, beaten and eventually released, but the Janjaweed shot and killed his father, brother and a cousin, according to the story.
Most Darfurian refugees reportedly first spent months in prison for entering Israel illegally and then were released under house arrest to work mostly on kibbutzim, in small towns or at hotels in the Israeli resort city of Eilat.
Newly free and now officially Israeli residents, the refugees have launched a networking and social welfare organization to help each other find work and places to live. They have also established a soccer league and a music group. Musa runs the group, called the Sons of Darfur, according to Kraft.
The Darfuris in Israel are mostly men, though women and children are among them. Some are educated and speak decent English, while others are uneducated small village farmers chased from their homes by the Janjaweed, the story said.
More than 50 of the refugees already are enrolled in Hebrew language classes, and the children are in Israeli schools.
Musa has reportedly received a college scholarship to study an architecture software program on which most Israeli architectural work is based. He says his goal is to one day return to Darfur and rebuild the Janjaweed-destroyed villages, but to make more modern structures out of better materials.
Musa reportedly says he and other refugees are also thinking about ways to bring Israeli refugee relief to Darfur � to deliver aid but also to boost Israel’s reputation in Muslim Sudan.
I found it especially interesting that Musa and many Darfur refugees describe being mistreated in lousy conditions in Muslim Egypt, where they spent time before reaching Israel.
Once in Israel, however, though housed in a prison for having entered the country illegally, the refugees were kept together in relatively good conditions in sections of the facility normally reserved for foreign workers awaiting deportation, the story said.
Musa reportedly said he�s been moved by the response of the Israeli public to the Darfuris plight.
“Here there are really amazing people,� he said. �If I wasn’t seeing it with my own eyes it would be difficult to believe it.”
That�s what comes from allowing lies and propaganda to permeate and poison the world.
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