Affecting Others

Vanessa Denha Garmo

Vanessa Denha Garmo

We headed into our July issue with the intent of a cover spread on people with disabilities.  In the news business, content can change in minutes. What was intended to be a cover story or lead in a newscast can easily be pushed back because of a more timely story or breaking news.  

With a monthly publication, however, we don’t really cover “breaking news” but we do focus on news events of the day. There is no bigger story right now than the one of Iraqi Christians detained and set to be deported to Iraq.  There has been extensive news coverage on this issue around the globe. At this point, our readers should know what’s going on. However, we always like to cover stories from a Chaldean News perspective. Our own Weam Namou has been on the street engaging and gathering information. She shares a two-part piece on the story about “Chaldeans Fighting to Stay in America.”

Also, Co-publisher Mike Sarafa shares his opinion on the results of a Trump presidency as well as the green card holder becoming a citizen.  Read his columns “In My View” and “Where Do You Stand?”

Why some of the people did not get their citizenship or why those with misdemeanors didn’t file for a review of their case and dismal of the crime so they could pursue their citizenship is a question some have asked. Mike offers his perspective on the issue. 

During this time, many community leaders have come together to find a solution and prevent the detainees from being deported.  Sometimes it is all about who you know.  Luckily many elected leaders know the Chaldean community.  They realize that sending Chaldeans back to Iraq could very well be a death sentence. 

In many ways, all of our lives are intertwined. We want to help each other. 

There is no real protection of Christians in the Middle East in the current climate of extremists who kill in the name of religion.  

Since the inception of this monthly magazine, we have covered numerous stories on Iraq and the plight of Christians. This is one of the more devastating ones.  There are two sides to every story and perhaps in this case many sides to many stories.  

I am not a lawyer but I do believe that there should not be a one-size fits all approach to the deportation policy. I realize the law is the law. However, in every case, there are circumstances and evidence presented. Murder is not murder. Theft is not theft. Each person has his or her day in court. I am not justifying heinous crimes.  I am saying that there could be numerous elements in each case.  Each person deserves a day in court, especially those who paid time for their crimes and have been living as lawful citizens since. 

As the story develops, I continue to hear of people being detained who I happen to know and I can’t help but feel pain for them. 

Their lives affect ours in various ways. It’s only human to feel pain for someone who made a mistake, paid for it and now could possibly face death because of a decision that was made. 

This story does not end with this issue.  It is fluid and as news develops, we will take a look through a Chaldean News lens and bring you that angle of the story.

As for our articles on people with disabilities, they are being featured this month but as a secondary cover story.  

I sat next to a 32-year-old Chaldean man the other day waiting for a table at breakfast. He was with his mother.  I met him a while back because my daughter and I were taking piano lessons from the same teacher.  I learned how much he loves playing the piano. We chatted about the situation in Iraq and how grateful he was that he was a citizen. We laughed as he made a few jokes. He has a fun sense of humor.  I forgot in that ten-minute conversation that he had Down Syndrome. He was just a guy with a bit of a speech challenge. He was an engaging person with a great sense of self. 

I have learned over the years that sometimes disabilities are only as limiting as we allow them to be for us.  You only have to meet Omar Binno once to figure that out. A man born blind wrote a piece this month about his blind brother trying to get into law school. Monique Mansour pens a piece about a Chaldean woman who learned braille so she could write the curriculum for a blind middle school student. 

The Chaldean Foundation has been servicing hundreds of people with various disabilities. Weam Namou takes a look at what they offer.  Then a Chaldean woman has dedicated her life to helping her daughter and others with Down Syndrome. Kris Harris and Ashourina Slewo both cover her story.

There are so many stories about people who appear limited in their abilities but in reality, their lives have a great impact on others.  Read this issue and you soon discover how we all affect each other. 

Alaha Imid Koullen
(God Be With Us All)
Vanessa Denha Garmo
Follow her on Twitter @vanessadenha
Follow Chaldean News on Twitter @chaldeannews